Right now, analysts see enormous growth ahead for solar-plus-storage systems. A report by IMS Research forecasts the market for storing power from solar panels – which was less than $200 million in 2012 – to reach $19 billion by 2017. And, it’s easy to see why.
After all, rooftop solar panels are more valuable to people if they can store the excess energy produced and prolong the benefits of the on-site generation capacity. Plus, the flexibility of battery energy storage makes it truly valuable. With a quick response time and precise controllability, batteries can provide a wide set of grid services, so they can deliver value to multiple participants in the power system, including end-use customers, distribution utilities and wholesale market operators.
According to the Energy Storage Association (ESA), flywheel and battery energy storage systems that participate in ancillary services markets can deliver a response to a grid operator’s dispatch signals 10 times faster than power turbine generators.
No wonder utilities are already starting to pilot use of solar-plus-storage systems for the good of the grid. In 2015, Arizona Public Service installed rooftop solar free for 1,500 residential customers with roofs that had an east-west pitch. Now, the utility is using advanced inverters to remotely control and communicate with the solar panels in an effort to improve power flow of the utility’s distribution system.
What’s more, battery-plus-storage solutions are becoming more popular. A recent study conducted by the German research firm EuPD found that 34 percent of solar installers in the U.S. now offer storage solutions, and 26 percent of those that don’t are thinking strongly about offering them.
Cost was the big deterrent for 38 percent of those solar installers that don’t currently help customers deploy a solar-plus-storage system, but costs are coming down. “A major new Deutsche Bank report has predicted that energy storage – the “missing link of solar adoption” – will be cheap enough – and technologically eady – to be deployed on a large-scale within the next five years,” wrote Sophie Vorrath in a CleanTechnica article last year.
Once solar users add storage, they’ll get more value from their own panels, plus they can participate in energy markets and enjoy new revenue-generating opportunities.
And remember, solar-plus-storage systems are only one combination of DERs that can deliver stacked value streams to raise the return on DER investments. Here’s another you might not have considered: Battery energy storage plus load control.
Recently, Enbala calculated how much value accrues by using batteries for demand response capacity delivered to California’s Independent System Operator (CAISO) as well as for demand reduction to lower energy costs paid by commercial and Industrial (C&I) customers. Looking only at demand-charge reductions, C&I customers would gain an annual average of $161 for each kilowatt of battery installed. When you add in load control, that number rises to $198 per kilowatt year.
Would you like to learn more? Here’s a white paper describing how controlling multiple types of DERs to participate in varied grid services raises ROI dramatically.