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But How Much Can You Really Manage Your Energy Usage?

(Joseph Gottlieb, CTO, Thursday February 13th, 2020)

My last post dealt with data acquisition and data analysis in the energy business – specifically for energy use cases such as fleet EV charging, microgrids, and energy storage for commercial applications. One question I hear from a lot of people is “how much of a difference can good energy management software really make for most users?” – and it’s a good question. To understand why managing energy production, storage, and consumption is important, it is critical to understand the electricity rate structure known as “time of day metering”, and in particular the version known as “net metering”, in the context of a consumer’s use case. In this case, we will look at an operator of a fleet of 100 electric delivery vans in San Diego, California.

In San Diego, peak hours for San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) are 4PM to 9PM, when rates can be up to 50% higher than during off-peak times, and 100% higher than during super off-peak times. Let’s say you charge during super off-peak times at a cost of $20 per van, or $2,000 total. Now imagine that your fleet of delivery vans (which work between 8am and 5pm) come back at the end of the day with 1/3 of their charge remaining (on average). With net metering (and bi-directional chargers supporting vehicle to grid power transfer), this power can be transferred to back to the grid at a 100% premium, yielding $1,333, for a net charging cost of $667. Even better, if your charging yard has solar power and battery storage, you could store power taken from the grid during the day and transfer it back during peak hours. For our example, say that you pay $Y to consume the power that is stored in the batteries, and you get $1.5Y by selling it back during peak hours. Your net energy cost would equal $667 minus $0.5Y. If Y (the battery storage capacity) is roughly equal to half the power capacity of your fleet, Y would equal $1,000, yielding a net profit of $167 per day – a much better deal than the cost of $1,333 per day if you charged during super off-peak times, but had no storage or bi-directional chargers.

Of course, realizing this level of savings not only requires energy storage and bi-directional chargers – it also requires energy management software (EMS) to manage the process. As a leader in the development and manufacturing of bi-directional, high-power energy systems and EMS software, Rhombus is dedicated to helping our customer capture and make sense of their energy data. Our VectorStat® product allows customers to gather data from all of the nodes of your infrastructure, regardless of connectivity or network issues. VectorStat’s applet-based open architecture also enables the easy integration of new features and functionality, whether to support new hardware or to provide cutting-edge data analytics capabilities. Find out how we can help you by contacting us at sales@rhombusenergy.com.

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