The project is one phase of the Austin Energy grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar Photovoltaics (SHINES) program. The program’ goal is to reduce the cost of electricity from combined solar and storage projects to below $0.14/kilowatt hour.
DOE says that SHINES is part of the Energy Department’s Grid Modernization Initiative, which aims to accelerate the strategic modernization of the U.S. electric power grid and solve the challenges of integrating conventional and renewable sources, while ensuring a resilient energy system combining energy storage with central and distributed generation.
“Austin is a hub of sustainability and we are thrilled to be working with Austin Energy on this project,” said John Carrington, CEO of Stem. “We think all of Texas will be watching to see how aggregated energy storage can cost-effectively deliver multiple values to customers, utilities, and grid operators alike.”
Stem’s software-driven energy storage will reduce customer energy costs by reducing their peak demand and providing them with real-time energy management and visualization tools. Where a business has on-site PV systems, Stem’s software and analytics tools will automatically manage those customers’ use of grid-supplied electricity against their solar production.
Stem’s intelligent, cloud-based control platform incorporates weather forecasts, historical and real-time usage data to predict when electric use will peak at a given site. Reducing commercial peak demand helps improve local grid stability and distribution energy planning.
“The Austin SHINES project is another example of Austin Energy’s commitment to using innovative technology to increase reliability and customer value. This project will help Austin Energy learn more about the potential benefits of integrated distributed energy resources for broader deployment in the future, so we can maximize the value of solar and storage integration for our customers,” said Jackie Sargent, Austin Energy General Manager.
For all customers in the network, Stem’s proprietary software will rapidly respond to spikes in electricity use, drawing on stored power to automatically reduce demand charge costs without requiring operational changes or manual input from the host.
Over the longer-term, this model will illustrate how aggregated, customer-sited energy storage systems can help Austin Energy reduce costs associated with Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) coincident peaks, defer investment in substation upgrades, and provide clean, reliable power to its customers.