Solar plus storage has replaced natural gas peaker plants and is gradually transforming the power sector. With customers facing new-time-based rates and new needs for resilience, the increasing demand to have commercial solar-plus-storage options is growing promptly.
Utilities have reported a tremendous growth in the sector. While the utility saw a 197% increase in storage usage in 2017, the figure grew to 341% in 2018. As per the reports, installations of commercial solar-plus-storage systems grew faster than solar-only installations in 2018.
However, installers and utilities from Hawaii, New England and other places have told sources that barriers remain as they were. The demand is outpacing utilities' ability to process interconnections and manufacturers' ability to deliver batteries. But smart devices can prove to be of some help in overcoming these barriers.
Growth Scale in Solar Plus Storage
The year 2013's 0.5 MW installed residential storage capacity experienced a rise to 80 MW in 2018, which has confirmed a strong five-year growth. According to S&P Global, there are predictions for annual additions of approximately 660 MW in 2019, 1,700 MW in 2020 and over 3,850 MW by 2023, which will put 6,400 MW of natural gas capacity at risk in U.S. by 2027.
The market’s value is expected to double in the coming years and reach nearly $4.5 billion by 2023. Behind the meter (BTM) storage made up over 60% of 2018’s Q3 additions, which were driven largely by demand for solar-plus-storage. In this, California accounted for 58%, followed by Arizona and Hawaii.
Progress Rate in Hawaii, Oahu & Other Cities
Recently, Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO) utility-scale solicitation reported seven solar-plus-storage contracts for 262 MW of solar capacity and 1,048 MWh of storage. This will be utility's largest and lowest cost renewables procurement.
In 2018, 60% - 70% of permitted rooftop PV systems in Hawaii added storage and the figure is still increasing. The number of permitted rooftop PV systems with battery storage in Oahu also grew from 40 in 2016 - 1,763 in 2018.
SMART program (Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target) at the other end of the country also drove storage growth from 0.9 MW in 2017 to 54 MW in 2018.
Installations in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts grew from 1% in 2016 to 10% in 2018. Residential and commercial energy storage is expected to grow by 49% over the next two years.
Adding storage to commercial solar may increase a project's upfront cost, but the higher cost is justified by the increased value the project delivers for the system. Solar plus Storage will not only add to the benefit of time-of-use shifting, resilience-&-backup and self consumption, but will also provide grid and wholesale market services.
Fast Growing California Energy Storage Market
According to Wood Mackenzie, 686 megawatt-hours of solar energy storage will have been deployed across the US by the end of 2019, with California leading with cumulative deployments of 334 megawatts to date. CA would be ahead of second place PJM with 263 megawatts and the rest of the country with 133 megawatts.
The state is maintaining its lead in both residential and non-residential sectors and its key market is creating headwinds for the solar industry.
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