Save Millions Through Self-Integration

by Fractal EMS on February 2, 2024


In the beginning, traditional integrators played an important role in the supply, installation and operations of battery systems. The supply chain was confusing and fragmented. Traditional integrators provided a one-stop-shop with proprietary equipment, software and services. Over time the supply chain for equipment became easier to navigate. Similar to solar, the role of a traditional integrator has diminished because savvy buyers now purchase equipment direct from the OEMs (self-procurement). Along with the emergence of third-party Energy Management System (EMS) companies, a massive shift towards self-procurement has unfolded.

Reasons for Self-Procurement

  1. Cost: Traditional integrators add a sizeable margin to the equipment and EPC cost. On a 100 MW / 400 MWh project, integrators add 15% margin (up to 25% margin on smaller projects).
  2. Supply Chain and Price Fluctuations: Buyers should have the ability to purchase cost-competitive equipment on a project-by-project basis as pricing and supply fluctuate.
  3. Visibility into Risk Exposure: Traditional integrators just pass through the OEM warranties and guarantees. Once LD caps are hit, many integrators reduce support or walk away altogether.
  4. Availability: Buyers have become aware that most downtime is caused by inverters and battery thermal management. Instead of purchasing expensive performance guarantees (based on total equipment cost), it is more cost efficient to mitigate this risk by oversizing or purchasing spare parts.
  5. Future Flexibility: Integrators that install proprietary equipment and controls can hinder (or even prohibit) the ability to retrofit the EMS. Buyers prefer equipment that can be repurposed and retrofitted in case the original EMS underperforms or becomes insolvent.

Challenges of Self-Procurement

  1. Multiple Negotiations and Agreements: Buyers need to separately procure, negotiate and contract the equipment, EPC, EMS and operations. This requires staffing and experience.
  2. First Rodeo: New buyers with tight CODs and small projects may fail to get the attention from OEMs and EPCs unless small projects are aggregated into a portfolio.

How Fractal EMS Enables Self-Procurement

  1. Competitive Procurement and Contract Support: Fractal consultants can assist Buyers with sizing the equipment, technoeconomic analysis and procurement via RFPs.
  2. Universal Controls: There is an ever-growing list of new batteries vendors, Fractal EMS can provide universal controls, reporting and HMI to monitor and operate a fleet of different equipment.
  3. Equipment Deficiencies: Some battery OEMs may have excellent pricing, but they may have deficiencies in protections, BMS capabilities (SOC accuracy, p-limiting, etc.), balancing algorithms, and cybersecurity (easy to hack). Fractal provides industry leading controls that compensate for these deficiencies.
  4. Warranty Protection: Each OEM has stringent requirements for data to facilitate warranty claims. Fractal EMS provides databases, dashboards, KPIs and alerts to track warranty and off-taker requirements.
  5. Technology Expertise: Fractal EMS has deep experience from integrating over ten batteries OEMs and over ten inverter OEMs.
  6. Cybersecurity: Fractal EMS implements best practices from NERC/CIP, NIST 800 and ISO 27001.
  7. Ongoing Technical Support: Fractal’s 24×7 Remote Operations Center is just a phone call away for inquiries, issues, or troubleshooting of all BESS equipment (inverters, batteries, thermal management, etc.).
  8. Features and Customization: Fractal can fulfill owners’ requests for custom features, dashboards and KPIs that may not be available through a traditional integrator’s HMI.
  9. Future Augmentations: Fractal EMS is built to facilitate augmentations (AC or DC) by integrating new equipment with the existing equipment.
Fractal EMSSave Millions Through Self-Integration