Thursday, December 18, 2014

I THINK IT IS GOING TO BE MORE "US solar-plus-storage market set to hit US$1b by 2018 - GTM"

We have entered into the hydrogen market and I am very interested in the fact that a few months later we start seeing headlines like this. We did not plan it this way but I have to say after 25 some years in the industry I do start to see patterns and many technologies have been around for years. Hydrogen is one of those and I felt the timing was right. To me it is a no brainer. I witnessed hydrogen produced from a solar panel and water years ago. It is a clean burning fuel that can be created at the location needed for use. I have heard all the economic detractors and think they are missing the whole picture. I said this about solar 25 years ago and I am saying this about hydrogen now. I have utilized batteries in many applications over the years and am intimately knowledgeable on their limitations. I predict they will have a 10 year run. When solar really got traction in the market there were numerous solar technologies that jumped up taking in huge investments. All these thin film solar companies are pretty much gone or forgotten. The fact is what was tried and true (silicon) is what is primarily used and if you want to make a bet on solar panels it is primarily how to reduce the cost of making the solar cells. Folks I offer the hypothesis that energy storage will follow the same pattern. We know that hydrogen is a great energy storage method and offers versatility that batteries can never achieve. It has been used for many years (ask NASA) or the hydro dams in Canada that have been producing hydrogen from their excess power using electrolysis and water for many years now. It will be the reduction in cost and enhancing the efficiency. We did it with silicon and we can do it with hydrogen. I am pretty proud that we have engineered a unit that has enhanced the efficiency and eliminated the need to scrub the hydrogen from the oxygen but the fact is that when it gains traction like solar has these young emerging minds will continue to innovate and perfect the technology.

By Andy Colthorpe - 18 December 2014, 17:07

The US market for solar-plus-storage is predicted to grow more than twentyfold in the next three years, rapidly expanding from US$42 million in value this year to US$1 billion by 2018, according to GTM Research.
The research firm has issued 'The future of solar-plus-storage in the US', a report which examines the market for behind-the-meter PV paired with energy storage. Strong growth in solar PV installations, battery costs which fall as much as 30% annually, incentives offered at state level, net energy metering charges and the need for resilient and uninterrupted energy supply are all cited as drivers for this predicted growth.
The head of GTM’s storage division, Ravi Manghani, said the report quantifies “end-customer economics for three end-customer types across multiple utilities”

According to GTM, energy storage is nearing a “tipping point” in the US, with California’s three investor-owned utilities mandated to install over 1.325GW by 2020 in order to accommodate renewables and protect the grid and Tesla poised to open up its Nevada ‘Gigafactory’, which will provide battery packs to stationary storage applications as well as to the company’s range of EVs. A tax incentive of up to 30% is available for storage if coupled with solar in certain circumstances and using storage can lower the upfront cost of a PV installation, by reducing the required system size.

Of the rapid increase in storage deployment to come, the majority will be installed for commercial users, GTM said. Installations for commercial PV system owners will rocket from a penetration of 1% of installed solar systems to 11% by 2018. The main reason given for the expectation of a stronger performance in the commercial space is that rates of return are better than for residential – commercial system users will be able to save between 20% and 30% on their utility bills. In the US we have already seen that managing demand charges using storage is considered attractive enough that SolarCity has rolled out its commercial storage product, DemandLogic, nationally, while its residential counterpart remains a more limited pilot deployment.

A recent report by rival research firm IHS meanwhile, looked at the global market for residential systems and asserted that these will grow tenfold between now and 2018, with IHS predicting installations to grow from 90MW this year to 900MW.

US Solar-Plus-Storage Annual Market Size Forecast. Image: GTM "The future of solar-plus-storage in the US".

Both sectors will grow rapidly in the next few years, but residential solar-plus-storage will not be as economically attractive as commercial, with the latter expected to lead deployement. Image: Sunrun facebook page.

The GTM report takes a detailed look at the situation in the US state-by-state. Among its key forecasts on a regional level is that, due to the sheer quantity of deployed PV capacity, California will lead among US states for energy storage as well.

However, as this site and others have found previously, and as GTM Research points out in the latest report, the lack of recognition at a regulatory level for the multiple possible uses a single battery system can offer, known as ‘benefit stacking’, will continue to provide an economic barrier. For example, technically speaking a commercial storage system owner could not only use their battery to reduce their own demand charges, but in theory could also provide ancillary services to the grid such as frequency regulation. Stacking these two benefits of energy storage together would obviously boost the economic attractiveness of such systems.

Incidentally at grid scale, Oncor, a Texas electricity transmission and distribution operator requested in November from the state’s public utilities’ commission (PUC) permission to install up to 5,000MW of energy storage, from which the benefits could be stacked thus. Commenting briefly on Oncor’s plan, Ravi Manghani told PV Tech Storage that: “Oncor's proposal is unique as the first one that's asking a PUC to look at all benefits stacked together and allowing one entity to monetize those benefits.” Manghani said some groups are looking to push at state and national level for new asset classification for storage to recognise all these different aspects.

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