Energy Storage – “Use it and not lose it”

Energy Storage – a key part in the Renewables Industry - is increasingly becoming an indispensable part of the climate action and sustainability movement. In this article I explore why energy storage is a critical part of this larger narrative and how it fits into the sustainability ecosystem that we have today.

Energy is one of the main pillars for a sustainable environment. While producing energy through different renewables such as Wind or Solar, harnessing the energy for consumption becomes equally important as these sources are available only for limited time in a day. The harnessing part is where energy storage comes into the picture.

There are different types of Energy storage; most common among them are batteries. These batteries are typically used to store energy produced from solar, wind & also grid where they go on to support various applications starting from a lantern (to light up a small household) to Microgrid (providing power for a community), from an electric scooter to electric buses, from powering servers in a remote location to telecom towers. All of these applications are used every day by most of us in today’s world.

We at Mesha Energy Solutions are looking to bring in innovative technology into the battery industry that would disrupt the market with the ‘right sizing’ to provide an affordable and economical solution that could become the norm going forward.

For your benefit, I’ll take an example to explain why energy storage is key in terms of facilitating a sustainable environment.

Mr. Ramesh has a farmhouse around 40 kms from the city in the outskirts of Bangalore. While he stays in his farmhouse, there are frequent power interruptions and his dependence on renewables is high due to his usage of appliances inside the house (such as lights, fans, mixie), water pumps for his farm and electric vehicles for his commute to town and back. Energy storage is one of the key aspects here as he needs substantial storage to run these appliances every day.

With his dependency now on Renewables, we look to answer some important questions from a sustainability perspective:

Is energy storage absolutely required?

Absolutely Yes!

Grid power being intermittent with a lot of power cuts disrupts Ramesh’s routine every day and hence the dependency on grid is there. Investing into grid power needs a substantial investment of laying the poles from a nodal point to his farmhouse and the costs escalate quite a bit. Solar based systems will give the necessary power required to run his daily chores whilst also contributing to the environment in terms of producing and consuming clean energy. While the initial CAPEX can be slightly on the higher side, these are longer lasting solutions with better return of investment for him. A good energy storage system is what the need of hour is. Today Coal is one of the main components used to generate electricity for us and unless we move to renewables, we will be left with no fossil fuels soon and will be staring at a time where the costs will rise for demand in electricity.

Is it easy to integrate into my life?

Adaption is key and its easy. It’s as easy as using an inverter based system at our homes today – minimal maintenance and easy to find people to fix it when there is a requirement.

Solar power is seasonal and hence there could be instances where there may not be enough power stored in batteries to run the desired load, hence sizing the system right for all the seasons is a key indicator. Adaption to new systems is kind of easy when you don’t experience the disruptions that are there with the normal grid kind of situations. Sizing the system becomes a key parameter here to address these issues.

With the right sizing and configuration, one will be able to have a system that will work with their sustainable lifestyle.

Is it economically viable?

Definitely.

With advancement in the quality of components available for generating, storing and consuming locally produced energy, it makes it easy for one to save quite a bit on what one would have saved from the power bills. Because the investment involves CAPEX, it may look like a longer return of investment, but looking at the applicability and usage across using the batteries for running lights, fans, water pumps and charging the electric vehicles he has - the solution is definitely economically viable. We always look at providing solutions that will have OPEX savings. Usually there are operating costs that crop up and are not part of the costs

Is it super satisfying to use?

Satisfaction comes in when there is sustained performance.

Customer feedback from people where we have installed is always that they have found it to be satisfying as it will bring the necessary elements of using a system that fits their needs and works as promised. The performance parameters over a period of time have evolved to a level where the expectation is a minimal of at least 7-8 years and mostly the components available today have had a sustained performance run to satisfy most customers.

Looking at the different contexts of using energy storage, we can definitely infer that energy storage is a vital cog in making sustainability our default choice. Across household applications or electric vehicles- the real deal is to have a sustained run with the technology available to us today.

Better energy storage technology will certainly raise the bar for renewables in the coming days, thereby challenging people to come out with more innovations to make use of increased applicability.

Looking at this article, we can certainly say that in today’s world of renewables and sustainable environment – energy storage is and will remain a critical element that is absolutely required for us. We can adapt ourselves to use it efficiently, economically viably and super satisfyingly.

No amount of energy storage capacity or clean energy we consume will save us if we carry on wasting the natural resources that are there at our disposal today. Therefore, we should learn to address our real needs that will be crucial for a sustainable future.

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