onDEMAND combines Samsungs lithium-ion battery technology and Princeton Power Systems energy management technology, with UGEs project financing and system design expertise, for a complete energy storage solution.

Energy Storage from UGE onDEMAND

Nick Blitterswyk | UGE International


Why is energy storage important?

Energy storage allows customers to take greater control of their electricity, especially when coupled with distributed renewable energy (DRE) systems.  Solar only works when the sun is shining, which means that at night (or on a cloudy day), customers must rely on the grid. Businesses pay extra to buy energy used during times of premium pricing, and these “demand charges” can comprise up to one third of a utility bill. Storage can be used to offset demand charges and to shift loads, thereby reducing costs.

Storage can also be useful in times of emergency. When the main grid goes down, some storage systems are able to disconnect and provide back-up battery power. A commercial customer that might otherwise suffer loss of income can easily keep conducting business  when the power goes out.

In many ways, energy storage is the next frontier for DRE. The traditional grid is aging, and the cost of generation electricity from conventional resources is going up. The same downward pressure that has moved the cost of solar toward grid parity will bring similar shifts in the costs of energy storage over the next few years.

How does solar + storage work?

The three components of a storage system are the solar array, the battery, and the inverter. Much of the discussion around solar and storage revolves around the capabilities of these battery-based inverters. In general, inverters help regulate the load between the array, the battery, and the grid. Inverters allow each of these systems to “speak” to each other, ensuring the proper deployment of electricity.


What is onDEMAND?

UGE onDEMAND is an energy storage solution developed by UGE. onDEMAND combines Samsung’s lithium-ion battery technology and Princeton Power Systems’ energy management technology, with UGE’s project financing and system design expertise, for a complete energy storage solution. UGE onDEMAND will help commercial customers reduce their electricity bills through peak demand management, while increasing resilience during grid outages and the potential for penetration of distributed solar.

UGE onDEMAND uses modular 31kWh Samsung lithion-ion battery system with 100kW and 250kW inverter options. The batteries have an efficiency greater than 95%, with an extended life cycle of more than 3,000 cycles. The inverter is typically connected to the grid, but contains built-in functionality to automatically disconnect during extreme weather, blackouts, or other circumstances that take down the main power grid. The solution can span project capacities from 100kWh to several MWh.


Why is it unique?

Though we’ve talked about the capabilities of storage, not all providers are offering the same mix of services as onDEMAND.

For example, Tesla's Powerwall does one thing: it takes two hours of energy from one time of day, and depletes it at another time of day.  Ours does this as well, but it also:

- Provides far more opportunity for energy arbitrage.  We shift loads, we lower demand charges, we offset diesel consumption being used for back-up power, and we can utilize a higher percentage of solar output in areas with net metering caps (becoming more common in the west, and the norm in developing countries).

- Provides resiliency: when the grid goes down, our system provides backup power (Tesla’s shuts down).

- We provide financing: in each of our four key markets (US, Panama, Philippines, China) we have financing lined up for solar, storage, and solar + storage systems

-Highly modular: we supply loads from 100kW to 2MWs, with anywhere from one to ten hours of battery storage.


Who would benefit from this service?

Commercial customers who are in areas with high peak demand charges, or whom have critical loads that must be backed-up in case of emergency are ideal candidates for storage. onDEMAND can help these customers to lower demand charges and shift energy  loads from peak to off-peak rate. For customers who currently rely on dirty diesel-generators for back-up, onDEMAND offers a solution to lower the use of, or completely eliminate, these gen-sets.

As one example: Earlier this summer, UGE announced that we won part of the $30million RISE:NYC award, which will see us deploy microgrids at 17 sites in NYC that were affected by Hurricane Sandy. We plan to deploy onDEMAND at some of these sites, helping customers stay online in the event of another storm.


How much will an average system cost and how much space will it take up?

The price of onDEMAND is extremely competitive with an estimated installed cost of $1000 / kWh.

The size of a system will vary based on need, but a single battery stack is about as a wardrobe.


Where does UGE plan to deploy onDEMAND?

Currently, we have financing in place for our four key markets: US, Panama, Philippines, China. However, through our Partner Network we can work with customers around the world to create a tailored system, based on local resource requirements.


Can you tell us a bit about UGE and what other plans are in store for the future?

Since 2008, UGE has completed over 2,000 projects in over 100 countries. With onDEMAND, we will continue our leadership in the growing commercial solar + storage market in our core markets of the U.S., Panama, China, and the Philippines. By providing innovative products that anticipate and meet customer demand, we will continue help our clients  save money by providing them with more affordable and reliable electricity.



About Nick Blitterswyk
Nick Blitterswyk is the founder and CEO of UGE International, a global leader in renewable energy solutions. Growing up on a Canadian nature reserve instilled in him a desire to preserve the resources and beauty of the Earth. Nick returned to this idea when he set out to change the way the world uses distributed renewable energy, by building a company that can address the world's various energy challenges with innovative solutions. Nick has grown UGE into a premier supplier of distributed renewable energy solutions, with installations for customers in over 100 countries throughout the world. He is a strong believer in a happy, fun, and productive company culture. Nick is  a frequent guest on TV and radio on matters involving distributed generation and cleantech. Nick is also a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, left over from his former career as an actuary.


The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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