Maximizing Commercial Storage With Solar


It’s 2018, and solar-plus-battery technology is ready to deliver major benefits to New York’s commercial and residential electricity customers.

New York State just set a goal to achieve 1.5 gigawatts (or the same capacity as one nuclear power plant) of battery installations by 2025, so we should see a major boost on Long Island and in New York City.

This is crucial because market participants, including all state regulators, agencies, and local governments, are racing to modernize and pave the way to achieve this goal.

The benefits to customers and the grid will be profound. Batteries paired with solar will deliver more savings for customers, contribute to cleaner air, and boost the local economy: Here’s how.

• By reducing demand charges on commercial bills by supplementing energy during peak demand with stored energy • By receiving additional income from the utility for “dispatching” energy when it can deliver the most value to the utility at times of surging demand.

• By receiving additional income from the New York State Independent System Operator (NYISO) to inject solar and battery energy for providing “ancillary services,” such as regulation service, operating reserves, voltage support and black start capability.

• By provide emergency backup power in the event of a power failure. Solar can become a more valuable energy resource to the customer and the grid because of batteries. Storage technology makes renewable energy available on demand regardless of weather conditions or time of day.

This is the winning formula and particularly important in New York State because it will dramatically reduce the need to turn to fossil fuel power plants during peak load, which are some of the worst polluters.

EmPower is dedicated to delivering greater benefits to its clients by harnessing our 15 years of experience in solar-plus-batteries, and also by working with industry leaders such as Tesla, SunPower and others.

Key Recent Developments

The FDNY is developing standardized rules for permitting solar and battery systems in New York City. Rules are going to fast-track residential outdoor systems under 20-kilowatt hours, including five-foot setback from the structure, and one-hour fireproof rating material.

Soon, commercial systems will have set rules for larger systems that include setbacks and fire suppressant systems.

Underwriters Laboratory (UL) is accelerating research and analysis on battery cells, modules, systems, and installations. This is vital, because local authorities who have jurisdiction rely on UL standards and codes on equipment and installations to implement rules and regulations.

The New York Independent system operator (NYSIO), the entity responsible for balancing supply and demand for electricity throughout the state, recently issued a “State of Storage” plan. There are still key details to flush out, but it’s crucial to have NYISO support to roll out sustainable solutions.

Currently, solar power in the United States delivers 0.5 percent of all energy consumed, including stationary and transportation needs. With batteries, the key enabling technology, we’re laser- focused on making solar (and wind) 100 percent of our energy mix.

These recent advancements in technology and public support signify a new horizon on the feasibility of powering our world with renewables.


David Schieren is CEO of EmPower Solar, which since 2003 has been the preferred solar provider of over 1,800 New Yorkers, earning an industry leading customer satisfaction rating.

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