In challenging times like these, business leaders in virtually every industry are looking for ways to cut costs. One of the first places many look to save money is in variable overhead costs, such as electricity. Fortunately, with the right solutions in place, reducing energy costs is a relatively quick way for a business to save money.
Why should you focus on cutting your energy spend? Recent weather extremes, intense storms, and volatility in oil and gas commodities have caused uncertainty around energy budgeting. Although there’s no way for the average business owner to control these factors entirely, you can maximize your efficiency, thus negating some of these costs.
In this post, I outline two ways to reduce your business’ energy spend: battery energy storage systems and energy management software.
Modular, scalable energy storage
A battery energy storage system (BESS) is a modular, scalable, self-contained solution that stores energy generated on-site from backup generators or other distributed energy resources (DERs) such as solar power and wind. Without a BESS, the energy you produce feeds directly back to the grid. However, with a BESS, energy is stored for when you need it.
How does a BESS save you money? These systems decrease your overall energy costs by optimizing your energy use. For example, your business may pay utility demand charges. To avoid these charges, you could signal the BESS to discharge during this time of peak energy, ultimately decreasing the amount of energy you draw from the utility and avoiding the demand charge.
The payback on a BESS depends on the application and local electricity rates. To understand your potential return on investment, speak to a qualified professional who can help you compare the cost of a BESS with potential energy savings. Keep in mind, a typical BESS quote includes equipment, engineering for the interconnect, installation, and commissioning. To reduce the overall upfront cost, consider innovative financing options such as energy as a service, where a third party owns and operates the system, and you make incremental payments with your energy savings.
Software for smart energy consumption
Another way to save on energy costs is to use energy management software to control your energy production, storage, distribution, and consumption.
One example of this software is EcoStruxure™ Microgrid Advisor, a cloud-based program that provides visibility and dynamic control of a facility’s energy loads to ensure optimal performance. The platform does this by analyzing and forecasting electricity from the utility and generated on-site from solar power, batteries, generators, backup energy generation sources, along with consumption trends from building management systems such as HVAC and lighting.
Once you connect the energy management software to your building’s systems, you can track data, including real-time savings, earnings, and CO2 emissions. By using the lowest cost energy option at any given time, there’s a potential to reduce overall costs. For a great example of a facility using this software to control energy costs, check out the Bubolz Nature Preserve customer story.
Similar to a BESS, the cost of EcoStruxure Microgrid Advisor software also varies depending on the size and scope of the application. Users pay for installation and then a licensing fee.
Reduce costs with smart energy solutions
There are times when saving money at your business isn’t just helpful, but necessary. With the right solutions in place, including battery energy storage systems and energy management software, you can reduce operational expenses at your facility.
Are you looking for ways to control your energy costs? If so, contact the microgrid competency center to discuss your options.