Sunverge Energy, a provider of energy storage systems for residences and small businesses, has added demand charge management features to its energy management platform. Using predictive analytics, the new algorithm determines the ideal mix of solar PV, storage and grid power to keep a customer from incurring demand charges – saving customers money while reducing peak load on the grid, according to the company.
Proposals for residential demand charges are on the rise in the U.S., as utilities and regulators consider alternative mechanisms to allocate grid costs to residential distributed energy resource (DER) customers. Although most such proposals are still under consideration, Sunverge notes demand charges are becoming more prevalent in some of the world’s fastest-growing energy storage markets such as Australia and Japan.
As these charges proliferate, the company continues, consumers face the complex problem of managing their power resources to minimize the impact of those charges. At the same time, utilities are increasingly concerned with managing the grid as more DERs create dynamic load shifts, especially at peak times when the grid is most challenged. Sunverge claims it designed its algorithm to address these problems simultaneously.
“Consumers can cut their power bill in half in Australia and by one-third in the U.S., and utilities can more effectively manage voltage and reduce high energy peaks that strain and damage distribution infrastructure,” said Ken Munson, co-founder and CEO of Sunverge Energy.
The energy storage systems capture and store excess power generated by the rooftop solar panels installed by homeowners and small businesses. In cases where electric rates are based on time of use, Sunverge says its system uses its integral intelligence to automatically switch from grid power to stored renewable power when energy prices are at their highest.
Demand charges add another variable to this energy arbitrage equation by creating a “set point” for the use of the grid, beyond which consumers are subject to the charge, Sunverge continues. The demand charge reduction algorithm determines, at billing rate intervals, the appropriate amount of power to use from PV, to store into or discharge from the battery, and to feed into or pull from the grid, optimizing the balance of power resources such that the customer does not reach the grid’s set point, according to the company.
Sunverge says the goal is to maintain a reserve of stored power that will provide the predicted energy needs for the home based on usage patterns, while avoiding exceeding the set point.