A Whole Foods Market in Los Altos, California, has become the first retail site to install a thermal energy storage solution called the Refrigeration Battery from Richmond, California-based Axiom Exergy, the two companies announced on April 25. The new solution is expected to help the supermarket to shif tup to 1040 kWh of electricity load for up to 10 hours a day over the course of several months.
By leveraging the store’s existing refrigeration system, the Refrigeration Battery stores “cooling” at night by freezing tanks of salt water when energy costs are low. Then, when electricity prices peak during the afternoon, the battery “discharges” like any other battery to provide uninterrupted cooling services.
Axiom offers the Refrigeration Battery to its customers via a savings-as-a-service model, requiring no upfront capital or out-of-pocket expense for the life of the project; it is considered an energy service and off-balance sheet, enabling supermarket owners to reserve capital for revenue-generating investments. The technology has an estimated lifespan of 25 years.
In addition, Whole Foods Market facility managers now receive real-time information about the system’s performance via Axiom’s integrated cloud monitoring platform – including enterprise-level monitoring and analytics, historical data and real-time key performance indicators, such as kWh shifted, peak kW reduced, and battery charge level.
Refrigeration represents about 50 percent of an average supermarket’s electricity consumption. Research shows that by shifting electricity demand to off-peak hours, supermarket owners can take advantage of lower night-time rates to reduce a store’s expensive on-peak electricity demand by up to 40 percent.
“We are proud to be leading our industry by being the first to use such an innovative technology to shift our large refrigeration-based energy loads to off-peak hours,” said Tristam Coffin, director of Sustainability & Facilities at Whole Foods.