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A new report from Global Market Insights predicts the residential energy storage market in North America, which was less than $100 million in 2017, will explode, exceeding $2 billion by 2024.

This matters to HVAC professionals because it is part of an expected rapid electrification of residential mechanical systems in the next decade or two. There are numerous regulations, incentives, and other initiatives being undertaken by governments, NGOs, trade groups and major private sector players in our industry that will drive the electrification transformation. In addition, unexpected economically beneficial applications for electricity storage and microgrids are emerging that may provide strong opportunities for HRAI members and their customers.

PEAK SHAVING

A prime example are small systems designed to help private firms with peak shaving to minimize global adjustment charges on their electric bills. The case studies are sobering because they show the systems paying for themselves quickly. Companies, such as retailers with numerous locations are benefitting from these systems, and they are usually associated with HVAC systems, often electrified HVAC systems.

A California storage and software company called STEM has recently acquired a Canadian firm and set up shop in Toronto. Some of the projects described on its web site include Extended Stay America (hotels) which saved $465,000 on microgrid storage systems at 68 sites, Whole Foods, which saved $514,000 on 7 sites, and JC Penney, which saved more than a million dollrs on 26 sites. These are retail examples. There are also many emerging industrial applications.

MISSION CRITICAL OPERATIONS

In addition to peak shaving with storage/microgrids, many mission-critical campuses and complexes are seeking the kind of resilience that comes with islanding their power and HVAC systems during disaster scenarios. They may be secure government operations, or non-government sites that simply cannot afford to stop operating for any length of time. Storage and software now offers new possibilities and economic viability for these groups. For example, some university campuses or healthcare campuses have district systems that are now serving many functions and many masters. They must maintain business as usual 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

REMOTE LOCALES

Solutions for remote locations have been growing more difficult, however, the indigenous formerly diesel-dependent community in Coleville Lake, Northwest Territories, and the isolated people on the Scilly islands (near UK) now have solutions that dovetail with a switch from fossil fuels to clean electricity and to electric HVAC. After a disastrous storm destroyed much of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, it is rebuilding and re-evaluating its assumptions about fossil fuels, central power generation, and better ways to condition its buildings.

These are a few examples of the way the world of electricity, storage, and electrified HVAC is changing, that could contribute to the storage market expansion predicted by the report from Global Market Insights. Getting involved with the relatively new storage market may help HRAI members create modern growth opportunities and a more diversified offering. In addition, Canadian companies in several provinces seem to have a head start globally on electricity storage software (and cyber security), which could make finding suitable technology partners relatively easy.