Unlocking Innovative Financing Models for Battery Energy Storage Systems

However, one of the major challenges in the widespread deployment of BESS is the high upfront cost involved. This is where innovative financing models come into play, helping businesses and individuals overcome financial barriers and accelerate the adoption of this promising technology.

The Need for Innovative Financing Models

The upfront cost of installing a BESS can be significant, often running into thousands of dollars per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy storage capacity. This can be a significant barrier for many customers, discouraging them from investing in this clean energy technology. However, with innovative financing models, such as Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), leasing, and shared savings arrangements, the financial burden can be alleviated, making BESS more accessible to a wider range of customers.

Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)

A Power Purchase Agreement is a contract between the system owner or developer and the customer, where the customer agrees to purchase the electricity generated by the BESS at a predetermined rate over a specified period. This model allows customers to enjoy the benefits of a BESS without the upfront capital investment. PPAs are gaining popularity because they provide a long-term fixed electricity price, often lower than the retail prices, and can include maintenance and performance guarantees.

  • Provides a predictable and fixed electricity price over the contract period
  • No upfront capital investment required
  • Can include maintenance and performance guarantees

According to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA), power purchase agreements accounted for over 50% of the total installed capacity of battery storage projects in 2019, underscoring their importance in driving the deployment of BESS.


Leasing is another popular financing model for BESS, offering customers the option to rent the system for a specified period instead of purchasing it outright. The customer pays a monthly or annual lease payment, which is usually lower than the amount they would pay for purchasing and maintaining the system. Leasing allows customers to use the system without the long-term commitment or upfront investment, making it an attractive option for businesses and individuals looking to benefit from the technology.

  • Lower monthly or annual payments compared to system ownership
  • No upfront capital investment required
  • Flexibility to upgrade or return the system at the end of the lease term

Statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration reveal that leased systems accounted for approximately 20% of total installed residential solar capacity in the U.S., indicating the popularity and market acceptance of this financing model.

Shared Savings Arrangements

A shared savings arrangement is a unique financing model where the system owner and the customer share the savings generated by the BESS. In this model, the system owner covers the upfront costs of installation, operation, and maintenance, and earns a portion of the savings realized from reduced energy bills. The customer benefits from lower energy costs without the need for any upfront capital investment. This model works well for commercial and industrial customers with high energy consumption and substantial potential for energy savings.

  • No upfront capital investment required
  • System owner covers installation, operation, and maintenance costs
  • Customer shares the savings generated from reduced energy bills

A study published by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that shared savings arrangements accounted for around 30% of third-party-owned rooftop solar leasing contracts in the U.S., highlighting their viability in the renewable energy sector.

As the demand for energy storage systems continues to surge, innovative financing models play a crucial role in enabling wider adoption. They not only address the financial concerns associated with upfront costs, but also provide customers with flexibility, affordability, and sustainability.

To learn more about battery energy storage financing and the various financing options available, visit Energy.gov. The Department of Energy’s website is a valuable resource for information on clean energy and government initiatives in the field.