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Partnerships Form to Tackle Behind-the-Meter Storage

William Tokash
Apr 11, 2016

Control panel

As highlighted in recent Navigant Research blogs, growth in the battery energy storage system (ESS) sector will be accelerated by standardized contracts and the move to more standardized, modular ESSs being deployed in the marketplace. Further, many interested stakeholders in the ESS sector now strive to develop battery ESS installations that can potentially monetize multiple revenue streams. Navigant Research believes the evolution of these trends will continue to support the growing energy storage market. A recently released Navigant Research white paper examines key ESS trends in greater detail, each of which addresses issues to further enable energy storage to meet its transformative and disruptive potential.

The Clean Energy Group’s Resilient Power Project recently hosted an excellent webinar that highlighted the joint go-to-market approach being undertaken by ViZn’s flow battery technology and Schneider Electric’s distributed energy resource (DER)/microgrid technology stack in the behind-the-meter energy storage sector. The partnership between ViZn and Schneider Electric represents a compelling, turnkey offering, with a financing partnership that highlights the trends referenced above.

Technology Stack

ViZn’s hybrid zinc iron redox flow battery has been designed to provide both long-duration energy and short-term power service in a standard 1 MW/3 MWh module. ViZn uses chemicals such as zinc oxide (commonly used in sunscreen) as the anolyte and yellow prussiate of soda (a table salt anti-caking agent) as the catholyte, along with a sodium and potassium hydroxide solution. The company claims these key chemical components give the battery design a stronger safety profile compared to most advanced batteries.

Schneider Electric, which Navigant Research recently recognized as an industry leader in microgrid controls, is bringing its Demand Side Operation technology coupled with its DER Box and Microgrid Controller technology stack to the projects as shown below:

Schneider Electric Demand Side Operation with Microgrid Controller

Schneider image

 (Source: Schneider Electric)

In addition to the technology stack, the ViZn/Schneider Electric development team plans to provide economic modeling of all potential revenue streams for the customer installation, including energy efficiency savings, resilient backup power, demand charge savings, energy arbitrage, and demand response capacity market participation. The partnership has also developed standardized lease, power purchase agreement, and shared savings agreement options with a third-party (as yet unnamed) financing partner. It appears the proposed technology stack will be able to take advantage of frequency regulation revenue where power market rules are available.

Most of the early project activity in behind-the-meter energy storage by companies like Green Charge Networks, Stem, and others has focused on demand charge savings at smaller commercial and industrial facilities with short-term demand spikes. The ViZn/Schneider Electric offering outlined above should bring a technology offering package to sectors of the energy storage marketplace with higher facility peak demand, variable load profiles, and more complex energy storage needs. This is important for the market because these new sectors represent a portion of the behind-the-meter energy storage space that has not implemented much battery energy storage to date. Navigant Research will be watching closely for more details on project deployments and financing partnerships in the near term from these two companies to see how their strategies play out.