Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, N.M., released a software tool designed to help utilities and utility customers (and the electrical contractors they hire) “assess the economic value of installing an energy storage system.”
Quest, the free, open-source software suite currently has two main tools.
One tool is a behind-the-meter tool for homeowners, businesses, city governments, educational institutions, hospitals and others.
This tool allows users to estimate how much money they could save using an energy storage system combined with solar panels or other power generation sources. To use this tool, a customer inputs their location and rate structure. The software determines “if a storage system could save them money by shifting their energy use away from peak times, when rates are high.” The software can also be adjusted to reflect different types of renewable power systems the customer has or would like to install.
“For example, a homeowner or a warehouse manager who knows nothing about energy storage, but wants to install it for their rooftop solar panels, can use Quest’s streamlined process to learn how much money the energy storage system would save them over a year,” said Tu Nguyen, a Sandia National Laboratories electrical engineer who led the development of the software’s optimization algorithms.
The market-analysis tool can help utilities of all sizes (small utilities, co-ops, vertically integrated utility companies and even project developers) interested in using energy storage assess how much revenue an energy storage system would generate.
This tool enables utilities and project developers to determine how much revenue an energy storage system could generate by providing services that enhance grid stability and reliability. To calculate this information, Quest uses historical data from seven energy markets (regional transmission organizations) in North America.
Energy researchers can use Quest’s third application to evaluate different energy storage scenarios and model the potential of new solutions.