The drive behind this boom is the simple fact that such systems are extremely practical for many people/purposes — most pay themselves off in only a few years, providing yet another way for renewable energy to help cut utility costs for homeowners.
With the recent surge in solar energy in the country — and the achievement of a new record high on May 11, 2014 (15 GW) — the time certainly does seem ripe for a solar energy storage boom.
The systems don’t just benefit the consumer, though. The grid benefits as well.
“Balancing supply with demand in the grid presents operators with a significant challenge and leads to market price fluctuations. That is where storage solutions come into play,” explains Tobias Rothacher, renewable energies manager at Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI).
“Many solar installations will have paid for themselves in the next couple of years and some will soon reach the end of their 20-year feed-in tariff contract,” Rothacher, an advisor for international companies planning to invest in Germany, continues.
“With modern and cheaper battery technology now available, these owners are able to store excess power during the day instead of feeding it into the grid at low prices and buying it back at night when it is more expensive. This helps to reduce grid fluctuations and with feed-in tariffs set to fall this summer, it makes even more economic sense.”
EuPD, a leading market research firm, currently expects sales of solar energy storage systems in Germany to rise significantly in the next few years — up to 100,000 units a year in 2018, up from the 6,000 that sold in 2013.
Politicians in the country have begun to take note of his trend — with some even calling it an opportunity for Germany to return to being one of the leading battery manufacturers in the world.
“A number of factors are coming together that will lead to a boom in PV energy storage solutions in Germany,” concludes Rothacher.
According to recent figures from Germany, renewable energy has grown more than nuclear has declined over the last 12-13 years, as well as over the last five years (since the Fukushima accident). “Since 2014 is still a work in progress, we will have to restrict the analysis to the development between 2009 and 2013. For this particular time frame we get a score of 134.9 TWh for nuclear in 2009, which means a decline of 37.6 TWh until 2013… [and] 38.2 TWh of growth for wind and solar from 2009 to 2013. So the nuclear decline lost again, failing to beat the growth of renewable even when ruling out biomass for some reason (another 17.1 TWh growth in those four years).”
Image Credit: Panasonic
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