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Battery energy storage for business

For most businesses, hours without electricity are hours that revenue, resources and opportunities are lost. candi solar, a Swiss-owned solar financing business specialising in PV and energy storage solutions, discusses the importance of businesses diversifying their energy sources and how battery storage has become an increasingly favourable, and in many cases, indispensable option.

Last year South Africa saw over 1900 hours of power outages, making it one of the most load shedding intensive years the country has experienced. The response to keep the lights on and businesses operating has been solar PV installations, diesel generators and deep-cycle batteries such as a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).

Gaining more interest as a backup power supply, a BESS is an advanced and efficient solution for an uninterrupted power supply. Over and above diesel generators, candi solar offers an array of BESS options, depending on the business’s energy demand. This offering is one that candi solar has been providing for a number of years in the South African market.

“While diesel generators are widely available and have a lower upfront capital outlay, battery storage is becoming an increasingly favourable backup power alternative that presents long-term diesel cost savings, is silent and requires very little maintenance,” says Guy Rice, South African Managing Director at candi. “With continued power outages, most businesses recognise the urgency to turn to alternative power sources,” says Rice.

Battery storage for basic business continuity

While many businesses have opted for standard UPS’s or smaller lithium batteries to keep their computers and Wi-Fi functioning during load shedding, a large number of businesses and commercial sectors need bigger backup power systems to keep operations running profitably. A power outage for even a few seconds could compromise an entire production chain. According to Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde*, the agricultural sector in the Western Cape alone, risks losing 181 233 hectares of permanent crops due to loadshedding with an estimated replacement value of R60 billion.

“A BESS provides seamless backup power, which means that the transfer from the grid over to a BESS happens without any noticeable disruption to the power supply. This is in contrast to diesel generators, which can take up to a minute to change over to the backup power supply,” says Chris Brosz, Global Head of Engineering at candi solar. “This seamless transition is important to protect equipment and to avoid compromising a product or a production process during an outage.”

BESS provides the option of critical load backup, which supports only the aspects of the business that are critical to production.

Battery storage to reduce your electricity bill 

Beyond load shedding, energy arbitrage using a BESS can save businesses money on its peak tariff charges. This benefit involves purchasing more electricity during off-peak periods, storing it in a BESS, and discharging it during peak periods to avoid higher peak tariffs.

Choosing a suitable BESS for your business

Before a BESS is installed on-site, an energy assessment is conducted to determine your energy demand and the required battery size. A small to midsize BESS is installed indoors where the larger BESS (from 1000kVA) are typically containerised solutions.

“All of the batteries that candi utilises come with a 10-year performance warranty, which in some cases is extendable to 15 years. Batteries can also be repurposed for residential use once its commercial lifespan has been reached. The second-hand battery market is also growing in South Africa, as load shedding continues,” highlights Daniel Willemse, Product Engineer at candi. “Further, as electric vehicles (EV’s) become more commonplace, most experts expect widespread and economically viable options for battery recycling to come with it.”

It is also important to plan long term; will your business’s energy demand increase? If so, a BESS, with its modular and expandable design, becomes a feasible option that works effectively with solar. A hybrid solar-BESS system will store any surplus energy generated by solar, which allows you to utilise your solar PV installation for maximum benefit, reducing your reliance on the grid even further.

For more information about candi solar’s alternative and renewable energy solutions, or to get a quote for your business, visit their website:   

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