Commercial Uses of Lithium-Ion Battery Systems in Stationary Energy Storage

April 19, 2024

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery systems are increasingly integral to stationary energy storage solutions across various sectors. The following examines their commercial applications specifically within the realms of grid energy storage, commercial building management, and backup power systems.  Additionally, it discusses the business implications of adopting Li-ion technology in these areas, including market growth, investment trends, and strategic positioning for companies involved in energy storage.

1. Grid Energy Storage

Li-ion battery systems are pivotal in enhancing grid stability, integrating renewable energy sources, and managing peak load times. As renewable sources like solar and wind become more prevalent, their intermittent nature demands more robust storage solutions. Li-ion batteries are well-suited for this role due to their high energy density, scalability, and efficiency in charge-discharge cycles.

Business Perspective:

Investment in Li-ion grid storage projects is rising, driven by government incentives and decreasing costs of battery technology. Energy companies and utilities are increasingly deploying large-scale battery systems to improve grid reliability and reduce reliance on traditional peak power plants, which are often costlier and less environmentally friendly. This shift represents not only an operational but also a strategic transformation in how energy is stored and distributed, opening new revenue streams and partnerships in the energy sector.

a. Renewable Energy Integration

As the world shifts towards renewable energy, Li-ion batteries are essential for managing the variability and intermittency of resources like wind and solar power. These batteries can store excess energy generated during peak production periods and release it during demand peaks or when production drops (e.g., at night or during cloudy and windless periods). This capability is crucial for maintaining a consistent energy supply and maximizing the use of renewable sources.

Business Implications:

Energy companies and grid operators can leverage Li-ion technology to make renewable energy sources more reliable and economically viable. By smoothing out the supply of renewables, Li-ion batteries help reduce the need for fossil fuel-based peak power plants, which are more expensive and environmentally damaging. This not only aligns with global carbon reduction goals but also enhances the financial attractiveness of investing in renewable technologies.

b. Peak Shaving and Load Leveling

Li-ion batteries contribute to peak shaving—the process of reducing the amount of energy purchased from the grid during peak demand times. By discharging stored energy during these periods, Li-ion systems help mitigate demand charges that can significantly affect energy costs for businesses and utilities. Similarly, load leveling (or load shifting) involves spreading electrical load more evenly across the day, which enhances grid efficiency and stability.

Business Implications:

Utilities deploying Li-ion battery systems for peak shaving and load leveling can defer or eliminate costly upgrades to transmission and distribution infrastructure that would otherwise be necessary to handle peak loads. This strategic capacity expansion is less disruptive and more cost-effective, offering a competitive edge to utilities in managing supply-demand dynamics.

c. Frequency Regulation and Ancillary Services

Grid operators use Li-ion batteries for frequency regulation—helping to maintain the balance between the grid’s supply and demand in real-time. Rapid response times of Li-ion batteries are ideal for adjusting outputs quickly to keep the electrical system within the required frequency limits, a critical aspect of grid reliability.

d. Emergency Backup Power

In addition to their role in daily grid management, Li-ion batteries are crucial for emergency backup power during outages caused by natural disasters or system failures. They can be rapidly deployed to restore critical services or provide an interim power supply until main grid recovery.

Business Implications Summary:

Providing ancillary services such as frequency regulation can open new revenue streams for battery operators. With markets for these services expanding, particularly in regions with deregulated energy markets, strategic investments in Li-ion systems can yield significant returns while supporting grid stability.

2. Commercial Building Management

In commercial buildings, Li-ion batteries help manage energy costs by storing electricity during off-peak periods when it is cheaper and discharging during peak hours when electricity rates are higher. This application, known as peak shaving, can significantly reduce energy expenses. Additionally, Li-ion batteries support demand response services where buildings reduce grid stress during peak times in exchange for economic incentives.

a. Energy Cost Management

One of the primary applications of Li-ion batteries in commercial buildings is for energy cost management through peak shaving and load shifting. These strategies involve storing energy during off-peak hours when electricity prices are lower and discharging during peak demand periods to avoid higher tariff rates. This not only reduces electricity bills but also alleviates the load on the grid during high demand times, contributing to overall grid stability.

Business Implications:

For building owners and managers, investing in Li-ion battery systems can result in significant cost savings. Additionally, these systems can improve the power usage effectiveness (PUE) in buildings, particularly in data centers and other energy-intensive facilities. The ability to manage energy costs more effectively provides a competitive advantage in commercial real estate, potentially increasing the property’s value and attractiveness to tenants.

b. Renewable Energy Utilization

Commercial buildings increasingly incorporate renewable energy sources such as solar panels to reduce reliance on grid power and decrease carbon footprints. Li-ion batteries are essential for maximizing these investments by storing excess energy generated during peak solar hours and using it during periods of low sun exposure or high energy demand. This integration enables buildings to become more self-sufficient and less impacted by grid fluctuations.

Business Implications:

The ability to store and manage energy on-site enhances a building’s green credentials, which is crucial for companies committed to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Moreover, government incentives for renewable energy can make the installation of solar panels and battery storage financially viable, while also meeting stricter building regulations regarding energy efficiency and environmental impact.

c. Demand Response Participation

Li-ion battery systems in commercial buildings enable participation in demand response programs where utilities provide incentives for buildings that can reduce their power consumption during peak periods. Batteries can be discharged during these times to decrease the building’s draw from the grid without impacting internal operations, contributing to overall energy system efficiency and stability.

Business Implications:

Participation in demand response programs not only provides financial incentives but also positions companies as responsible grid participants. This can enhance a company’s public image and align with broader environmental goals, appealing to stakeholders who prioritize sustainability.

d. Emergency Backup Power

Beyond energy management, Li-ion batteries provide reliable backup power during outages, ensuring that critical systems such as lighting, elevators, security, and communications remain operational. This is particularly vital in sectors where continuity is crucial, such as in hospitals, data centers, and financial institutions.

Business Implications:

The capacity to maintain operations during power interruptions can mitigate potential losses, protect sensitive equipment, and ensure safety, making Li-ion battery systems a critical component of risk management strategies in commercial buildings.

Business Perspective Summary:

For property managers and real estate developers, integrating Li-ion battery systems can enhance building efficiency and sustainability, key selling points in today’s market. Furthermore, these systems can contribute to LEED certification points, increasing a building’s value and appeal. The adoption of advanced battery systems can also attract tenants who prioritize sustainability and potentially command higher lease premiums.

3. Backup Power Systems

Li-ion batteries are also used extensively as backup power sources in commercial and industrial settings. They provide critical load support during power outages, maintaining operations and preventing losses associated with downtime. Compared to traditional diesel generators, Li-ion batteries offer a cleaner, quieter, and maintenance-friendly alternative.

a. Backup Power Systems

Li-ion batteries provide reliable and efficient backup power in commercial and industrial settings. Traditionally powered by diesel generators, backup systems are pivoting towards Li-ion batteries due to their clean operation, lack of emissions, and lower maintenance requirements. These batteries can be charged during low-demand periods and can quickly deliver power during outages, ensuring continuity of critical operations.

Business Implications:

For businesses, the transition to Li-ion battery-powered backup systems represents a move towards sustainability, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and decreasing carbon emissions. This shift not only aligns with global environmental goals but also enhances corporate social responsibility profiles. Additionally, Li-ion batteries offer a lower total cost of ownership over their lifespan compared to diesel generators, due to lower operational and maintenance costs. This cost-effectiveness, coupled with improved reliability, makes Li-ion an attractive option for sectors such as healthcare, data centers, and telecommunications, where uninterrupted power supply is crucial.

b. Microgrids

Microgrids are localized energy systems capable of operating independently from the traditional grid. They can be powered by various sources, including renewables, and are equipped with energy storage systems like Li-ion batteries. These batteries store excess power generated during peak production periods and supply energy during demand spikes or when renewable sources are unavailable, ensuring a stable and reliable energy supply.

Business Implications:

Li-ion batteries are transforming microgrid deployments by enabling higher levels of energy independence and efficiency. For remote or island communities, microgrids with Li-ion storage can reduce reliance on costly and logistically challenging fuel imports. In urban settings, microgrids contribute to grid resilience, providing emergency power during outages and alleviating grid stress during peak periods.

Microgrids also offer commercial opportunities in areas with unstable power supplies or high electricity costs. Businesses and residential complexes can use microgrids to manage their energy costs more effectively, achieving greater control over their energy consumption and costs.

c. Integration with Renewable Energy

Li-ion batteries are ideal for integration with renewable energy sources within both backup systems and microgrids. They enhance the viability of solar and wind systems by mitigating issues related to intermittency and variability. This integration facilitates a more sustainable energy mix and allows for greater use of renewables, even in off-grid or grid-tied configurations.

Business Implications:

Incorporating Li-ion batteries into renewable energy systems can qualify businesses and developers for various financial incentives such as tax credits, rebates, and grants, particularly in regions promoting green energy solutions. This financial advantage, combined with the operational benefits of a stable and reliable power supply, positions Li-ion batteries as a strategic asset in energy planning and deployment.

Business Perspective:

The reliability of Li-ion systems as backup power sources makes them a strategic investment for businesses in sectors where continuity is critical, such as data centers, healthcare facilities, and manufacturing plants. Companies are not only able to safeguard their operations but also enhance their corporate responsibility profiles by using environmentally friendly technologies.


The integration of Li-ion battery systems in stationary energy storage applications presents substantial economic and operational benefits across various commercial sectors. As the technology continues to evolve, the business landscape will likely see increasing adoption driven by the dual forces of economic incentives and sustainability goals. Stakeholders in the energy storage market must navigate this dynamic environment with strategic investments and partnerships to capitalize on the opportunities presented by Li-ion technology. This ongoing transition to more advanced energy solutions not only reflects technological innovation but also a broader commitment to sustainable and efficient energy management.