Energy storage offers a solution to organisations that want to be active in their energy management. Whether you generate energy or use the grid, battery solutions offer your operations a way to save money and stay in the game, no matter the load shedding schedule.
South Africa is going through an indefinite phase of energy uncertainty. Most South African businesses struggle to stay operational when electricity can go out at any moment. Furthermore, energy-intensive industries are buckling under the high energy costs that are constantly rising; Eskom recently asked for a 32 per cent price increase from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa). Fortunately, there is a solution in the form of energy power generation and battery storage.
Battery storage is a critical asset for your energy needs. It augments solar, gas, wind, hydro, and fossil fuels resources to demand-side resources and system efficiency assets. In other words, it enables your business to draw power from any resource and use it at will. Battery storage is a versatile asset that can assist in power generation, transmission or distribution. There are several benefits for your business to using a battery storage system.
Load shedding has a profound effect on your operations. No business can function well when there is load shedding every other day. There is lost production, sales, productivity, and damage to your goods and machinery. For example, wine farms in Cape Town can lose R1,5 million an hour during harvest season if they don't have power. By September 2022, South Africa had experienced over 100 days of power cuts; more are expected before the year ends.
One of the primary benefits of battery storage is that you no longer have to worry about downtime. Battery storage provides insurance against load shedding. It enables your business to transition from grid power to backup power seamlessly. It does more than keep the lights on; it keeps your business going giving you a competitive advantage in an uncertain environment.
Time Of Use Arbitrage
If you have a renewable energy source, you can gather energy outside your production hours and bring it into your regular work hours. Off peak power is far cheaper than peak or standard power. Hence, it would be highly beneficial to install batteries to store off peak electricity and use it during peak hours. Also, if excess solar power is available from your solar installation, this power can be stored in the battery to use during peak hours.
If you don't have a renewable energy asset, you can use SolarAfrica's electric trading platform. On the platform, you can buy cleaner, cheaper renewable energy derived from wind turbines, solar panels, or gas resources from private players. It's an effective, efficient, and inexpensive way to get clean energy.
Renewable energy is clean and cheap, but it has its limits. Power quality works much like your cell phone signal; it goes through dips depending on the situation. For example, wind turbines can only function when there is wind; without it, power generation is significantly low.
You can imagine a scenario where you have 1000kW solar panels (which matches your peak demand) installed on your roof, but when it becomes cloudy, power generation reduces to 100kW. If you have a connection to the grid, you can draw power from Eskom, but a sudden draw of energy that'll take you from 100kW to 1000 kW can cause the electricity grid to get a shock resulting in a voltage dip. Battery power helps to prevent these deep dips; it smoothes the draw from the electricity network. Battery storage is critical in supporting inflexible baseloads. When your energy needs shift quickly, battery storage can inject or extract electricity as needed to precisely match the load.
Battery storage maximises the utilisation of renewable assets by allowing for efficient, accessible storage of excess energy or power generated during off-hours. It smoothes out the delivery of variable or intermittent resources such as wind and solar.
Reduce Outage Costs
When your business loses power for a period, it loses more than production time. Without reliable, consistent power, your business:
- Can face damage to equipment that didn't shut down properly and expose your equipment to surges.
- Will face losses from damaged products or raw materials.
- Lose productivity and motivation among staff. Having erratic stops and starts can affect the work rhythm and workplace environment.
- Lose money through penalties and fees from unfulfilled contracts or compliance obligations. For example, the meat industry relies on their cold rooms to process meat in specific time frames, or they can lose the entire line.
Outage costs are avoidable when you have a backup power system. Most businesses aren't structured to absorb outage costs and won't have to if they adopt smart energy solutions.
Demand Reduction/Peak Shaving
Commercial and industrial facilities must pay demand charges based on their peak electricity usage. The demand charges can be a high cost to overall energy expenditure on commercial electric bills.
Battery storage enables your facility to expend energy during peak demand hours, reducing your load and, ultimately, your demand charges.
Hedge a Larger Percentage of Power Costs
Eskom is increasing energy rates and will continue to do so in the future. What you don't know is how much the increases will be in five or ten years from now. That makes forecasting and budgeting difficult.
If you adopt the energy solutions from SolarAfrica, you won't have to guess future pricing; you will have them in front of you. The energy rates from SolarAfrica are cheaper, and you know what you will pay this or any other year under contract.
No CAPEX Investment
Electricity has always been a critical input in any business operation; it's just something few entrepreneurs have had to worry about till recently. You can't power your machinery, offices, or operations without electric energy.
Although it is a critical input, spending money to generate electricity isn't an efficient use of your resources. It would be best if you had all your capital to go into revenue-generating operations; investing in energy generation and storage only adds to your capital costs and lowers your margins.
A solution is to lease your battery storage from SolarAfrica. Under the lease agreement, you get the equipment and only pay a fixed amount each month. SolarAfrica will install the battery storage, maintain it, and monitor it for you. Your responsibility will be the fixed instalments. To generate power yourself, you can opt for SolarAfrica's no CAPEX solar PPA solution.
Every business must contemplate using a battery storage solution at a time of uncertainty. The solutions SolarAfrica offers are suitable for commercial and industrial enterprises. Put the power back in your business and get your edge back.
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