San Francisco Bay Area Chapter: Solar PV and Energy Storage

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This is a recording of a San Francisco Bay Area Chapter event, held on February 6, 2019.

This event featured presentations on solar PV, net metering and energy storage trends in the industry and demonstration of modeling battery storage optimization.

Presentation 1: Energetic Value- Solar PV, Energy Storage, and Net Energy Metering

Government incentives and the policies of net energy metering have led to an explosion of solar PV systems throughout the United States over the last couple decades. At its advent, net energy metering marked the pivot point in the adoption of solar PV systems. The large-scale adoption of solar energy has led to the well-known duck curve; excess energy and low energy prices at midday with cost spikes and large ramps in necessary energy production moving into the evening.

Utilities have long complained that solar PV would cause harm to low income customers that could not afford installing PV systems and would be shouldered with the burden of increased rates to pay for utilities’ fixed costs. These factors have caused states such as Hawaii and Arizona to either rescind net metering or impose fixed charges on owners of solar PV systems. These changes to payback incentives for solar are leading to an enhanced marketspace for battery storage systems, especially as an energy arbitrage measure.

The recent uptick of fires, storms, and other disasters has begun to shine a light on the economic importance of resilience for building owners. People who live in recent disaster areas, whether those affected by the fires in northern California, or the hurricanes that have ravaged Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, have had to endure days or months without power in the wake of their respective disasters. Placing a dollar value on a client’s energy resilience is a difficult task but can lead to a better understanding of the true value of solar PV and Energy Storage.

Presenter: Eric Mannarino, Arup

Eric is a registered electrical engineer (CA) working at Arup’s San Francisco Office. His expertise in the field of efficient and resilient energy systems was built through the conception, design, and construction of distributed energy systems, microgrids, and critical power systems for a variety of clients. His project work includes the design of campus scale microgrids, building integrated DER systems, electric vehicle networks, and hyperscale data centers. Eric’s recent research topics include DC microgrids and the application of microgrids to critical infrastructure facilities. He holds an MS and BS in Electrical Engineering as well as a BA in Business Economics, all from the University of California, Irvine.

Presentation 2: Energy Storage for Project Carbon Optimization

The design of zero net energy buildings is gaining traction in the building industry, with the state of California on track to require such buildings by 2030. However, simply providing annual on-site renewable energy generation equivalent to annual building energy consumption is not a guarantee of reduced environmental impact. 

Increased deployment of photovoltaics across the California regional electric grid, both decentralized and at the utility scale, has created an imbalance between time of solar energy generation and peak energy demand. Solar energy is readily available during the mid-day period but as production declines during morning or evening hours, utilities must ramp up natural gas and other on-demand fuel power plants to meet demand. This issue is a significant barrier to the state's efforts to decarbonize its utility grid and achieve a target 40 percent reduction in statewide GHG emissions from 1990 levels. Energy storage offers the opportunity to address the challenging 'duck curve' imbalance at a local level, utilizing battery storage as a means of reducing grid energy use during peak periods when GHG-intensive power plants are brought online to meet surging demand. 

This presentation will show the methodology used for modeling and optimizing battery storage with respect to utility grid greenhouse gas emissions. Manipulating the battery dispatch (charge and discharge) schedule to respond to hourly fluctuations in utility emissions can push a project toward carbon neutrality and maximize the impact of ZNE investments. Energy storage evaluation software is typically used to optimize utility cost savings in order to reduce the payback period associated with investment in battery storage. However, since current time-of-use utility rate schedules do not match grid carbon profiles, there is a misalignment between modeling methodologies. The presentation will also discuss challenges and steps to overcoming conflicts between cost/carbon optimization.

Presenter: Anish Tilak, Atelier Ten

Anish is a Senior Environmental Designer and a LEED accredited professional at Atelier Ten’s San Francisco office. His diverse experience includes material health, daylight analysis, thermal comfort, benchmarking and energy analysis. He has worked on some of Atelier Ten’s most ambitious projects, including the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, UBER Headquarters in San Francisco, and the California College of the Arts. Anish holds a Master of Science in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Architecture from University of Southern California.