Energy storage has been getting a lot of attention since electric carmaker Tesla Motors introduced the Powerwall home battery in April. The battery is charged via solar panels and can be used to provide backup electricity to most private residences in the event of an outage. While the Powerwall was made for homeowners, developers in the hospitality space have also been working to incorporate powerful battery storage into hotel utility systems.
Battery storage can pay off big for hotels that have already embraced green energy. When used in conjunction with solar or wind technology, it can provide backup power when energy isn’t being generated, thus reducing the need to tap into the grid. And, when energy is at a surplus, stored power can be sold back to electric companies during peak hours. Stored energy also helps hotels avoid peak demand charges, which may make up as much as 60 percent of a property’s utility bills.
A number of companies have launched battery systems meant for the hospitality marketplace, including Acquion Energy, Firefly International Energy, and Stem. Stem’s system combines batteries and monitoring software to store energy and use it efficiently. “Using energy storage to make things more efficient and cost-effective is not brand new, but the technologies that are available have now reached a level of maturity that makes them ready for use on the general market,” explains Gabe Schwartz, Stem’s marketing director.
Schwartz explains that it is when these batteries are combined with software that hoteliers can reap significant cost savings through automation. “If a hotel has batteries in its infrastructure, a software monitoring system can alert the property when to switch its power usage from the grid to the battery packs to avoid peak demand charges,” he says.
Rishi Shah, managing member of Aspire Energy Resources, says monitoring software, when used with other energy innovations, will really make a difference for hoteliers’ bottom lines and the environment. “Green energy, battery storage, and peak demand cost-control are all very useful individually, but together they really form a cohesive unit that can be extremely beneficially from both an economic and environmental standpoint,” he says.