January 13, 2021

Five Questions You Should Ask When Designing Your Energy Storage System

This blog post comes from ESA member MPINarada, a leader of one of the broadest and most reliable VRLA and lithium battery solutions for telecom, data center, colocation, edge, grid, microgrid, and C&I energy storage.

When developing a battery energy storage system (BESS), asking the right questions up front can make all the difference in your collaboration experience and end result. Fully understanding what the needs are can assist any developer with a greater knowledge of their project and also helps the supplier to articulate what is the best product for their needs. This strategic inquiry process can provide clarity and a greater communication model for working together to achieve the best result. The following five questions are a great foray to arrive at the best solution for your energy storage system:

How will the BESS be utilized and what is the use case and expected service life?

It is important for suppliers to understand exactly what their customers are trying to achieve with their project so that they can provide them with the right solutions. With so many considerations, such as environmental conditions, spacing, and cycling, taking the time to think through these elements in advance will ultimately help a project developer accomplish their goals. Additionally, understanding the expectation of useful life can help a supplier to size a product appropriately. This allows them to design a system that will meet expectations and carry it through its duration working exactly the way it is supposed to. 

What are the differences between warranty and performance guarantees?

While a warranty can cover anything from workmanship and defects, a performance guarantee is much more distinct. Project developers need to have confidence in the performance of the products they purchase and know that they will have the specified amount of energy throughput available and to understand the different efficiencies the system will maintain throughout its useful life. Another way to approach it is that the product is the warranty and the performance is the guarantee. 

What is the safety and reliability of the BESS providers’ products?

Safety and reliability are both essential when it comes to energy storage. Any developer needs to know if the system they are purchasing is properly designed, reliable and safe. Asking a supplier if they meet UL9540/9540A requirements and NFPA 855 compliance can provide good insight into the level of commitment to safety a supplier has. As the industry continues to grow, energy storage standards are shifting in real time and partnering with a supplier that is committed to keeping up with these standards is imperative. 

What is the experience level of the BESS provider?

A project developer should have confidence in their partner when implementing a battery energy storage system. Do your research and make sure the supplier you choose has a core foundation in batteries and the experience required to complete the project to the best of it is potential. A solid industry knowledge base and vast industry experience can guide a project with ease from concept to completion.

Does the BESS provider have a local presence?

Having a local presence with all the tools in place to support your project is important for a variety of reasons. Faster access to engineering, the convenience of local warehousing and closer proximity to service providers are just a few of the benefits you can expect.  All of these aspects affect the speed, efficiency and convenience of a project.  Local support versus long-distance can streamline logistics, and provide a quicker turnaround with simplified service issues.  Long-term, the positive impact of a supplier with a local presence provides a great value in the ease of doing business.  

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