Navigant Research Blog

Community and Residential Energy Storage May Deliver on the Elusive Goal of Application Stacking

Anissa Dehamna — June 8, 2012

Vendors of energy storage technology, particularly battery technologies, often speak of layering “value streams,” and stacking applications on these platforms.  Just as frequently, though, the end users of these systems are not looking for multiple value streams and often are just struggling to understand the value to the grid system of energy storage that enables one application, much less six or more.  As in other sectors, the market’s primary concern is not technology but function.  What are the one or two issues an end user is concerned about, and can a battery deliver that service better than the alternative?

One exception has been the community and residential (CRES) storage market.  Here, vendors and utilities are working to trial multiple applications layered atop single battery systems.  Although the applications are frequently ranked in terms of importance, there is no doubt from the consumer’s perspective that, while there must be a specific reason to adopt CRES, the system can also deliver additional applications as well.  That’s how utilities are testing the systems, and such multi-application capabilities are also on vendors’ minds as they develop products and business models for the CRES market.  It’s possible that the CRES market is just what the storage industry has been looking for.

The following table lists the key applications, drivers, challenges, and secondary benefits of community and residential energy storage systems.

Chances are that not only will CRES systems be designed with these parameters in mind, but they’ll also be bought with these conditions in mind.  This is a departure from the usual modus operandi of the market where technology can deliver many (up to 12 or more) applications, but are typically only purchased with a one or two applications in mind.

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