Power outages caused by extreme weather events serve as all-too-frequent reminders of the vulnerability of buildings to grid disruptions. But what if building owners accounted for the value of avoided grid outages when deciding whether to invest in projects that could supply uninterruptible power after natural disasters?
A new study by researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in collaboration with Clean Energy Group, a Vermont-based nonprofit, finds that “accounting for the cost of electric grid power outages can change the breakeven point for PV and storage system investment.”
In a summary of a paper submitted for publication, the authors write that “even though a PV and storage system might not appear to be economical under traditional cost-benefit calculations, placing a value on the losses incurred from grid disruptions can make a PV and storage system a fiscally sound investment.”
“In most cases,” they add, “incorporating the value of resilience will increase the optimal sizing of both the PV and battery systems.”
“It’s clear that placing a value on resiliency does increase the value of the project and increases the value that the combination of solar and energy storage can add to a project,” Seth Mullendore, vice president and project director for the Clean Energy Group, told GTM in an interview. “It definitely adds to the economic viability of a project.”