By Margaret Bliss
Solar panels, EV charging stations and behind-the-meter systems are all innovative responses to global challenges plaguing the modern world. They were the topics addressed and explored at the annual Energy Innovation Conference: Our Distributed Energy Future, which kicked off UCLA Anderson’s fourth annual Impact Week. Anderson’s Energy Management Group hosted the in-depth conference, where industry experts and influential alumni provided insight into the world’s energy future.
The conference left attendees hopeful about the future of energy and eager to take personal steps to solve the challenge of harnessing and efficiently using renewable energy. The conference focused on the exploration and innovation of behind-the-meter (BTM) systems and the benefits that those systems could have on businesses and consumers.
Before the conference, I wanted to make sure I was current on the energy sector jargon and found I was unfamiliar with the term BTM. It refers to a renewable energy facility that produces power on site, commonly using solar panels for supplying electricity to commercial and residential properties. These systems are the future of renewable energy, as they will help meet the California energy mandate of acquiring 1.3 Gigawatts of energy storage statewide by 2020. The mandate calls for 50 percent of electricity to come from renewable energy sources, such as BTM systems. If large institutions such as UCLA, as well as individuals’ homes, implement BTM systems, hitting the mandate goals should be attainable and should also help reduce customers’ monthly utility bills.