Break-even points of battery energy storage systems for peak shaving applications

Claudia Rahmann, Benjamin Mac-Clure, Vijay Vittal, Felipe Valencia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


In the last few years, several investigations have been carried out in the field of optimal sizing of energy storage systems (ESSs) at both the transmission and distribution levels. Nevertheless, most of these works make important assumptions about key factors affecting ESS profitability such as efficiency and life cycles and especially about the specific costs of the ESS, without considering the uncertainty involved. In this context, this work aims to answer the question: what should be the costs of different ESS technologies in order to make a profit when considering peak shaving applications? The paper presents a comprehensive sensitivity analysis of the interaction between the profitability of an ESS project and some key parameters influencing the project performance. The proposed approach determines the break-even points for different ESSs considering a wide range of life cycles, efficiencies, energy prices, and power prices. To do this, an optimization algorithm for the sizing of ESSs is proposed from a distribution company perspective. From the results, it is possible to conclude that, depending on the values of round trip efficiency, life cycles, and power price, there are four battery energy storage systems (BESS) technologies that are already profitable when only peak shaving applications are considered: lead acid, NaS, ZnBr, and vanadium redox.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number833
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017


  • Distributed power generation
  • Energy storage systems
  • Peak shaving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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