Published on August 26th, 2014 | by James Ayre


Energy Storage Market To Hit $50 Billion By 2020 (Lux Research)

August 26th, 2014 by  

The global energy storage market will rise to $50 billion by the year 2020, according to Lux Research — with a predicted compound annual growth rate of 8% until then.

Much of the predicted rise will be in “transportation applications,” which will rise to $21 billion by 2020, according to Lux Research. Narrowing the gap between that portion of the market and the portion represented by electronics — which is predicted to rise to $27 billion by 2020. The remainder will be filled out by “stationary applications” — which are expected to rise to $2.8 billion.

Image Credit: Lux Research

Needless to say, the predicted rise in “transportation applications” is largely down to the fact that EV sales are expected to rise rather significantly in the coming years.

“The automotive market is well on its way to displacing consumer electronics as the biggest user of energy storage. As that happens, it will lead to further scale and a new round of cost reductions, which will impact stationary applications as well,” stated Cosmin Laslau, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the new report.

Lux Research provides more:

Electric vehicles are the largest opportunity in transportation. With modest sales of 440,000 units, electric vehicles still will use $6.3 billion worth of energy storage – more than the micro-hybrids, which will have sales two orders of magnitude higher at 59 million units. The United States will lead EV sales for most of the decade, peaking at 167,000 units in 2019 before expiring subsidies dampen sales. That will help China nearly catch up with the US in 2020 – attaining sales of 145,000, versus 148,000 in the US.

Residential leads stationary applications. Driven by solar integration, residential represents the biggest opportunity in stationary energy storage applications – leaping from less than $0.1 billion to $1.2 billion in 2020. A robust downstream industry, innovative financing and strong policies in countries such as Germany and the US are favorable factors. UPS and backup applications provide the next largest opportunity, with $0.7 billion in 2020 revenues, while renewables shifting at the utility level with $0.3 billion, rounds out the top three.

The new report — dubbed Finding Growth Opportunities in the $50 Billion Energy Storage Market — is part of the Lux Research Energy Storage Intelligence service.

The $50 billion projection fits the type of “strong but not that strong” growth projections typically put out by such market research firms. For example, Tesla Motors itself plans to be selling 500,000 electric vehicles a year by 2020. Then there’s also the top-selling Nissan LEAF and over a dozen electric cars already on the market today, and several times more planned for market release in the coming few years. 440,000 electric vehicle sales seems like a gross underestimate, imho.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • Doug

    The statisticians that produce these types of estimates rely heavily on YOY growth estimates that are based on historical averages. Not a good predictor at all.

  • Vensonata

    Sometimes people don’t realize that occasional use of a gas or propane generator when off grid is very efficient, that is, compared to a coal plant. Generators feeding into a battery bank are as efficient as an internal combustion engine gets, because it runs at optimum. That is why hybrid cars are twice as efficient, they are just a generator and battery bank on wheels. So for those who have pv and storage it is entirely possible to be completely and efficiently off grid and have reliable juice when the neighbors are in the dark because the grid is off. Of course lots of Americans have standby generators for that very purpose but they are much more efficient with battery storage. All hospitals have emergency generators by the way.

    • spec9

      Meh . . . not quite true. Hybrids are efficient because:
      1) They capture ‘waste’ energy such as when you are braking and store it.
      2) They reduce the need for ICE power since the electric motor supplements the ICE during acceleration.

      • Vensonata

        The idea of hybrid i.c.e.- battery goes back to diesel electric trains and submarines. The engine runs at high efficiency when running at over 70% of peak. That is why people use battery banks and generators long before pv was around.The efficiency pays off the exorbitant cost of the batteries in diesel savings. No one would do it if it wasn’t economical. And yes recapturing braking energy helps a little in a car.

        • jeffhre

          Also, building transmissions for diesel trans was an incredibly difficult exercise. Taking advantage of the low speed torque of electric motors greatly simplified the process.

          • Mint

            That’s actually the primary reason for diesel-electric. Efficiency isn’t really any better than direct drive. It’s the transmission that’s cheaper and more reliable when you need high power output at both high and very low speeds.

    • Mint

      Yes, if it’s occasional.

      But the only way you can keep it occasional is if you size your solar array so that winter production gets close to consumption.

      The cost of an oversized solar array and storage on top of that make it highly unlikely that going off grid will be economical for a long time, if ever, aside from fringe cases (like homes unconnected to the grid). Economics aren’t the only factor in the off-grid decision, but they’re a big one.

      • Ronald Brakels

        All up I paid about 45 US cents a kilowatt hour on my last electricity bill.

        • Mint

          That’s seems really high. I found this report:

          Looks like 25 US cents/kWh on average in Australia. A lot less than what you’re paying, but still very high (twice that of the US and 2.5x Canada).

          I see a rather obscenely large portion of that going to transmission/distribution – US$0.14/kWh (on average!), almost 3x the cost of wholesale electricity. Any idea why? Even in Canada, with its low population density and ice/snow wreaking havoc on lines, distribution isn’t nearly that costly.

          If that doesn’t change, I really could see going off-grid becoming popular in Australia, like 30% by 2020, and that will totally destroy utilities. The whole point of the grid is low distribution cost.

          I also see why your opinions are so extreme in the comments. Australians have really high solar resources and really high grid costs.

          • I’m curious to see Ronald’s response, but my guess would be: a huge portion of the population in that region (I think more than 20% now) has solar power, which has eaten into grid operator profits a lot, which they are making up for with higher transmission costs.

            But, yeah, Australia might be the best first scenario for the “utility death spiral.” Germany has more solar, but Australia has a great deal of rooftop solar and tremendous solar resources. And the grid operators there seem to be digging themselves into a deep ditch.

          • eveee

            What about Hawaii? Thats ground zero for grid defection. It is 40c/kwhr there, for sure. I am not so sure we won’t see many changes in both places. I am not so sure what the effect will be, but something has to give.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Hawaii grid operators just announced a target of 65% renewables by 2030. And to cut the cost of electricity by 20%.


            Watch out for falling dominoes…

          • Ronald Brakels

            Forty-five US cents is a lot. I pay 30+ US cents per kilowatt hour for grid electricity and supply charges increase that 50% to about 45 US cents. The average cost per killowatt hour in Australia is now about 27 US cents with supply charges on top of that which will soon be over $450 a year for a household in Queensland. A small portion of the cost goes towards subsidising electricity supply to rural and remote areas of Australia. And that’s okay. But most of the massive run up in grid electricity costs has resulted from waves of privatisation the electricity sector has experienced. So now we pay for all sorts of things we never used to including layers of management, marketing (to sell a commodity), and competition. We have to pay for competition. This meant grid infrastructure went from being built when the return was ~4% under state control to needing a return of 9% to get built under private control. As a result they didn’t build infrastructure for a long time. Then to keep the lights on infrastructure was buit at a huge expense with distributors allowed to charge customers for the cost, creating a heads I win, tails you lose situation. They predicted that grid electricity use would continue to increase from its peak in 2008. Instead it has dropped by about 8%. It’s about 17+% below what they expected and there has been a massive overbuilding of transmission capacity which they are allowed to charge customers for. Rooftop solar is only responsible for part of the decline in grid electricity use. Inproved efficiency has had a larger effect and as has people simply using less electricity in response to its increased cost which results in distributors raising their prices to make up for the lost revenue, which causes customers to use less electricity. It’s not so much a vicious circle as a stupid one.

            Anyway, people in major towns and cities won’t drop off grid as the daily supply charges will be eliminated as they will soon flip from hindering solar installation to aiding it and making people drop off grid. Distributors would rather have some of people’s money than none of people’s money. Remote farms and communities will be removed from the grid as they’ve always required subsidy and now it’s cheaper to set them up with solar, storage, and a small generator than to keep them on grid.

          • Mint

            You have a really fucked up grid. That’s probably 3-5x the transmission+distribution cost of most developed nations.

            If the utilities really did spend that much on infrastructure, and it was funded on debt, then they’re going bankrupt. Guaranteed. But I agree with you: The grid is all a sunk cost, so after the creditors get their ROI slashed from restructuring, it’ll live.

            It seems you guys are also ripped off on natural gas. Retail seems to be 5-10x wholesale.

          • Ronald Brakels

            No, the electricity distributors are not going bankrupt. If they could go bankrupt it would be problem solved. Instead they are permitted to keep raising prices to cover the costs of their mistakes. When large numbers of people start to drop off the grid, or their politician friends turn on them when they smell blood in the water, then the system will fall apart. And its clear that the goal of some powerful actors is simply to game the system as much as they can and extract as much money as possible before the wheels fall off. And when that happens they’ll scream for compensation.

          • Mint

            I’ve made the same argument before, and in general it’s correct. Whether they made mistakes or acted logically, utilities will just raise prices as needed. Most grids have transmission/distribution costs that are a few cents per kWh, and even a 20% hike in those costs (say, due to a defection of customers) isn’t going to get anywhere near crossing the line of making off-grid economical.

            But in Australia, we have something unique: A grid that actually costs >20c/kWh to pay for itself even when excluding generation costs. Even Hawaii is a fuel cost problem, not a grid problem.

            Note that I put some qualifiers there (legit expenses, financed by long term debt). But if those are true, then yes, there will be bankruptcy as people go off-grid.

          • Ronald Brakels

            I thought you meant they’re going bankrupt now. But I see you mean when people start dropping off grid and they will have a problem. And there may be bankruptcies. Or they may just change their business model and drop supply charges and sell electricity by the kilowatt-hour. It all depends on how prepared they are for the change and how good they are at twisting regulation to their advantage. They’ve obviously been good at it in the past. You’d think we’d wake up, but we seem to be as thick as two bricks mating when it comes to electricity supply here.

          • LifeonBatteries

            For one thing that the Australian government is now going to axe the solar and wind REC therefore prices might still not stabilize, death spiral will still happen, and demand for energy is down near 50% on previous loads, in my opinion over time cost can only be driven higher for end users as 80% of the power sector is now non-government owned.

            With rumours of the transmission line sale to go ahead in NSW expect that the price will go up by another 10%.

            Some places have daily service charge run around $1.07 to $1.37 plus taxes if not higher, adding that up on the high end for 90 day quarter and it a big blow to the family budget. With some house rumoured to pay 37 cent kw/h plus tax, again if not more, power bills must run into the thousand of dollars a year.
            Not everyone has off peak and must be on a standard fixed charge rate so there bill would be the highest among all end users.

      • Vensonata

        I have a 12 kw diesel generator. It is more efficient than a gas car engine, but only if it is run at peak efficiency. You run it for an hour into a battery bank and it provides a days worth of electricity. What is the final efficiency of a coal plant? 30% by the time it gets turned into residential electricity. Then there is the mining transport on and on. And coal is the premier contributor to Global warming especially the black particulate effect. I suspect that hands down, a good generator battery system is far less destructive than a coal plant direct to residential.

        Of course coupled with pv the hours per year should not be more than 100. vs say 365 hours of car engine in ordinary transport.

        • Mint

          Do you have any real world data? How many gallons of diesel do you use to fill up your battery bank, and how many kWhs can you get to your

          A coal plant generating power for a million people but located in a region with 10,000 people is probably less damaging than a million diesel generators in residential areas.

          Do you know what your generator’s model number is?

          • Vensonata

            The first thing to find out is the true efficiency of coal fired electricity and its side effects from the mountain top removal to to the electric kettle 200 miles from the generator. Next is to look at a nice onan propane generator running directly into a lithium battery bank. I think before we get into the numbers we have to remember that coal must die…it is the major warming culprit. Now I am not an engineer, but if you are I be interested in the numbers.
            As far as my statement about coal it comes from a one hour talk I was privleged to have with Andrew Weaver. A lead author on many of the United Nations IPCC. Quite a guy actually. Phd applied mathematics specializing in atmospheric science. He said oil, and gas are not the true problem because the reserves are limited. Coal is the monster that must be slain, all efforts need to be directed there.

          • Mint

            I guarantee you that gasoline, diesel, and propane use FAR more electricity to get from the well to a home generator than coal. Coal costs ~1/10th as much per unit of energy, and production gets uneconomical fast with any substantial electricity or oil needs anywhere in the pipeline.

            Estimates of electricity use for petroleum mining, refining and transportation are often upwards of 5kWh per gallon of product.

            And for efficiency, all the searching I’ve done shows measured results (as opposed to manufacturer claims) at less than 10kWh/gallon for diesel generators, much less for gasoline, and less still for propane. That’s sub 30%. Subtract the 5kWh to create that gallon, and you’re at 10x worse than highly regulated diesel cars when it comes to air pollution.

            Does your generator have a DPF?

          • Vensonata

            Do you seriously believe that coal mining and electricity production is less problematic than propane or diesel? Every major environmental organization including the IPCC has specified coal as the worst source of green house effects and air pollution. I am not a scientist but I do accept their expert opinion as the best we can do.

          • Vensonata

            Just spent ten minutes looking at coal plant vs generator. Basically carbon production of coal fired is twice what natural gas fired plant is. So side by side. That does not include the disastrous process of mining and air pollution. Efficiency of older coal plants 25%. Newer 35%. Efficiency of best cng engines 48%. If you use combined heat and power can get 75%. This chp. Is being used commonly in
            UK and Europe in houses because of efficiency. Combined with lithium batteries there is simply no comparison with coal dinosaurs.

          • Vensonata

            Update efficiency of CHP: 90%. Now I’m really starting to think about off grid in town. Still need propane or natural gas but we are talking about 25 kwh electricity per day plus 280,000btu heat per day at 90% efficiency ( Weissman claim 96% eff!). Japan and Europe use widely. Year one does not need space heat but hot water is necessary. Cost 10-20 thousand u.s.

          • Mint

            Who needs 280,000 BTU of heat per day throughout the year?

            If you want efficient heat, then get a heat pump. You only generate the heat when you need it.

            Electricity from 60% efficient CCGT fed into a heat pump with a COP of 3 will give you ~167% efficiency. For example: 1GJ of natural gas -> 600kJ (167kWh) electricity -> 155kWh to your home (after 7% transmission loss) -> 1.67GJ from the heat pump.

          • Vensonata

            Hmmm, why use a heat pump, why not use the gng directly for heat at 95% efficiency. A heat pump at cop3 is 66% reduction of electrical use from a 30% efficient source assuming coal source plant.
            Also you only use the btu heat when you need it in winter. Of course there are smaller units, I certainly don’t need 25 kwh day..I’m happy with 10.
            By the way The U.s. produces about 35% electricity by coal. They could eliminate that completely by efficiency without any renewable replacement. Negawatts are the cleanest and simplest solution. But what would happen to the poor Koch brothers?

          • Mint

            A heat pump at cop3 is 66% reduction of electrical use from a 30% efficient source assuming coal source plant.

            It’s completely dishonest for you to compare coal from the grid to on-site CNG with combined heat & power. If you’re going to use local CNG, then you can use centralized CNG on the grid.

            Also you only use the btu heat when you need it in winter.

            Which is why that 95% figure for CHP is purely academic. When you only need power and not heat, you’re only at 48% according to your source, which is far less efficient than centralized CNG.

            I certainly don’t need 25 kwh day..I’m happy with 10.

            You’re happy with 10 kWh/day, but average US household use is 30+. That kind of change requires a lifestyle change, not just efficiency.

            By the way The U.s. produces about 35% electricity by coal. They could eliminate that completely by efficiency without any renewable replacement.

            Residential electricity consumption is only 40% of total demand. Commercial/industrial electricity use already have a great incentive for efficiency: it saves money. For example, they adopted to fluorescent lighting decades before houses did. There aren’t a lot of economical efficiency measures left for them to take.

          • Mint

            Who’s talking about CNG? You never mentioned it anywhere above, nor do you have one yourself. Besides, CNG is best used in a CCGT plant, where you can get 60% efficiency and 95% with CHP.

            You talked about gas, propane, and diesel. They are far worse polluters than CNG, especially in home generators.

          • Vensonata

            Cng needs 25% to compress it to liquid for shipping..they do it with natural gas converted to electricity, because even hydro is too expensive.

          • Mint

            You’re all over the place. First you’re extolling the efficiency of CNG with CHP, and now you’re talking about it losing 25% for shipping.

          • Vensonata

            Ok I did the math: diesel per liter 34,000btu= 10 kwh at 100% efficiency. Kubota 12kw diesel generator at 10 kw per hour uses 2.5 liters diesel = 40% efficiency. As good or better than any gas car engine I think!

          • Mint

            Did you make up those numbers? That’s half the consumption quoted on this seller’s page:

            At full load of 12kW, which is most efficient, it consumes 1.6 gallons per hour, or 7.5kWh/gallon. That’s 21% efficiency, without including the energy used to extract, refine, and transport that diesel, and also ignoring the round trip efficiency of your battery bank.

            The best I’ve seen for diesel is 10.9kWh/gallon (from a few generators: 1.1 gph @ 100%*12kW, 2.2 gph @ 75%*32kW). That’s 29% efficient, using your BTU figure, again ignoring the refining and battery factors.

            Speaking of which, what type of batteries do you have?

          • Vensonata

            Diesel engines are intrinsically more efficient than gas engines. Diesel density is greater and ultimately less green house gas emissions. Less refining is necessary for diesel. It is why they are so popular in Europe. I have Agm batteries, much better charge acceptance than wet lead acid and no maintenance or off gassing. 97% of lead batteries are recycled.
            I’m considering going lithium ferrous next year, prices are now better than lead acid. What will happen to lead mines?

          • Vensonata

            Diesel engineers made up the numbers. 1800rpm quality diesel generators operating at peak efficiency (as into a battery bank) use .26 litres per kwh. (Very close to 40% efficiency). Standard literature. By the way very common in Northern towns and mining sites. They have had to do the math and there are some very good pdf advice on how to run a highly efficient micro grid. As I am perusing the info, I find our own communty has come to identical conclusions. Except, except, except….that we will attempt to go 100% solar pv this year…no diesel at all! Our winter weather is poor for solar but by tripling our system to 12 kw from 4, we will make it through the dread December. That leaves us with the nice problem of what to do with the massive excess the other 11 months. It means: domestic hot water through heat pump, charging EV, and storage of excess btu for shoulder seasons in 3000 gallon tank. It can all be used to eliminate or greatly reduce fossil fuels. Since the panels are about 85Cent/ watt it is even quite economical. The average community population is 15. So very little energy or money per person.

          • Mint

            The only diesel generators getting 40% efficiency are large industrial/automotive ones with direct injection and/or turbos.

            A 12kW home generator has none of these. The manufacturer manuals do not claim anywhere near the efficiency you do, and they are almost always exaggerated (for all products). Here’s a datasheet for a Kubota-powered 12kW genset:

            0.99 gallons/hour for 10.5kW output. So that’s 10.5kW/gallon, or 27% efficiency. Throw in the battery cycle efficiency, and you’re down to 23-25%.

  • Matt

    I would think that corps would be the first users of stationary. Use them to shave the peak charges. Or renewable producers as a way to maximize profits. As they start coming off their 20 year PPAs, or in Germany where there aren’t PPAs. Instead of selling when the spot market goes negative, stopping wind turbines, or grounding out the power; stick it in a battery and sell into the morning and evening duck. Heck even a gas generator has use for them. Instead of slow ramp up go to best efficiency rate put extra in battery. When demand start to drop, drop way back and use battery. Of course that only works with multiple players, because it likely drive most inefficient plants out of biz.
    – But there are many many more people so maybe its a lot more small units verse lesser big units.
    – I don’t know the average daily spread for high/low on the spot markets around the world. But I do know when I looked at Texas last year; looking over about a month it look like the spread was from $0.20-$0.60. But I would think someone in the market would be running the numbers to see. Maybe they have and are expecting the spread to “dry up”.

    • Tesla is targeting corps in Cali to start. Some GE wind turbines now include storage.

  • Vensonatav

    It could become as common as a laptop to have a few kilo’s of lithium stashed in your closet with an extension cord for outages. From there, familiarity with stored electricity and pv will grow.

    • Good thoughts. I think companies in the home energy storage market should think about how to make the first sale, what kind of product could open the doorway to bigger purchases down the line.

  • Ronald Brakels

    $2.8 billion in “stationary applications”? Australia alone could have that much in six years time as remote farms and communities are taken off the grid and as people invest in home and business energy storage.

    • spec9

      Indeed . . . with storage prices dropping, the need to hook up remote farms & homes will drop. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars to run power lines to far out places when you can instead install solar PV and local storage for less money. The laws that mandate rural electrification may need to be adjusted in view of these facts. (At least the USA has such laws.)

      • Bob_Wallace

        Years back the rule of thumb was that if you lived a mile off grid then it was probably cheaper to set up your own power system. Then that dropped to a half mile. And then to a quarter mile.

        I don’t see grid prices dropping much for a number of years. (Until our first major group of wind and solar farms moves out of PPA contract.) But I do see the continued price drops in solar and storage shortening the distance between makes sense/doesn’t make sense to pay for a grid connection.

        Of course what is often missed in these discussions is the “cost” of managing a stand alone system. Most days I have to evaluate the amount of electricity and decide what I can do or not do that day.

        Yesterday there was high smoke when I woke up. I wanted to pour some cement so the first thing I did was to fuel and crank up the generator, pump water to the storage tanks for an hour, and then get the batteries in good shape.

        When I turned in last night the batteries were below 90% and it is smokey again today. More generator time as we badly needed to water part of the garden.

        People on the grid don’t need to do any of this stuff. They pay less per kWh than I do. Worst case, they have a power outage now and then.

        • LifeonBatteries

          Measuring “Specific Gravity” must become a pain in the butt, for you? I know that feeling, non-stop rain for all most 2 weeks, sun shine down from 200amps to 5-6 amps in those two weeks with very short peak of 25 amps in the day out of a 4.8kw system, just barely make the energy required to keep the light and fridge running on batteries.

          City people don’t know what it’s like they just plug and play; try planning the energy levels to run appliances on batteries on bad days even the mixer, angel grinder power tools etc without adding more cost to a job by putting gas in the generator.

          • eveee

            I lived off grid for a very short time. You get used to planning everything. Its a totally different world. Air conditioning? Forget it. A refrigerator is a luxury off grid.

          • LifeonBatteries

            Life on batteries is a hard life, measuring specific gravity is one, keeping water levels top up, last month, somehow I skipped a cell, water level was just on top of the cell plates, just luckily that I found it in time, it would have been one stuffed battery. My system run find but prolong cloudy weather run down my 4 day storage levels, I need a minimum of 25 – 30 amp to keep light and fridge running on batteries, and when 5-6 amps coming then all luxury are turned off.

            You right about Air conditioning, but with 200 amps coming in on sunny days I can dump that energy on 2.5kw Air conditioning unit, while still charging the battery, the Air conditioning takes about 120 amps on the inverter, but only for about 2 to 3 hour, but after that the sun output is lower and drops off.

            With the refrigerator there are issues which I had to modify, one was two remove light and rewire various links to save on energy, as the refrigerator are made for main power and don’t consider energy waste or inverter remaining on.
            I did use an ice box freezer for a long time, worked well, but the milk and cheese would ice-up.

            Battery have come down in price but still never enough storage level, nor could I run an Air conditioning at night in hot weather drawing too many amps out of the battery with out solar the DOD will stuff the batteries in short time, I would need lots more batteries and a higher voltage system to deal with load say 48 v which would drop the amps down to 60 amps which on the inverter 2.9 kw – 3 kw most likely need storage level of 50 kws 50% DOD, but the DOD so 80 kw to run for 8 hours would be best, drawing 24 kw out of the 80 kw batteries sound ok, but then would need more panels for it, never ending cost.

            Life off the grid, there always the issue that can arise, that why I keep backup inverter and regulators on standby which add to cost, only if I had mains power..

          • eveee

            Thanks for the comment. Someone commented about an air conditioner called IceBear I believe that made ice during the day when the PV was good and used that to continue cooling later into the evening. I am surprised that you have air conditioning at all. I looked up the price of energy efficient refrigerators and they are not cheap. Sounds like you are on DC. I have to wonder what will happen in the future. DC or AC plus inverter? Wonder which is best as you mentioned a higher voltage DC for efficiency.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Ice Bear has morphed into a company that installs cooling systems in commerical buildings. They basically use late night cheap electricity to cold down mass and then use that for daytime cooling.


            There may be companies that have installed solar for daytime cooling and extra for late afternoon/evening cooling as well.

        • Calamity_Jean

          Would this help? It’s a little, cheap wind turbine. If the weather is breezy overnight you could at least wake up to full batteries.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Thanks. Every time I do the math on a small wind turbine it doesn’t pencil out. I’m surrounded by 80′ tall firs. I’d need a really tall tower to get into decent wind.

            My ‘get to it’ list calls for multiplying my solar by 2x or 3x next year. Panels now cost 25% or less than they did when I first installed here. The extra panels may take a very long time to pay for themselves in generator fuel, but more quickly with reduced generator hassle.

    • Sunnyone

      Don’t think its going to happen, lot’s of Queenslanders stated that they would go off the grid, haven’t seen one person do it.
      Why there is handout and FiT, solar Bonus payment schemes, no one will move in that direction. Storage is too costly and it’s far cheaper to remain on a grid tied system. So what the projection, how many do you think will move to off grid storage by 2020?

      • Ronald Brakels

        There is no FiT in Queensland. Only for regional Queenslanders. Most have to make to with what ever they can get from their electricity distributors, which is sometimes zero. The Solar Bonus is what the FiT was called, just to be clear on that point for ze foreign readers. And having energy storage does not mean one goes off grid. The quantity of energy storage with the fasest payback time is only a few kilowatt hours and that’s not enough to go off grid. That’s enough to stop a household dipping into expensive grid electricity when household demand is high or cloud blocks the sun, and its enough to provide quite a bit of energy during the evening peak. And its small enough to fit inside a solar inverter, so no extra installation costs beyond what one would be paying anyway. As for storage being too costly, all up I paid about 48 cents a kilowatt hour on my last electricity bill and Queenslanders will soon by paying over $450 dollars a year in supply charges. They’re going to have to lower that to stop people going off grid.

        • jeffhre

          The grid will remain the “storage battery” of choice until grid operators make it too onerous and expensive to continue that relationship. In remote areas grid operators are already singing, “I don’t need you any more,” to their most expensive to serve customers.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Yes, and the grid operators are already pushing limits and this is most noticable in Queensland where they have recently increased the daily supply charge and will soon rise it higher so households will be paying over $450 a year just to be connected to the grid. They are raising the supply charge instead of the price per kilowatt hour to discourage people installing solar but they are playing a dangerous game of chicken and soon people are going to start dropping off the grid if they don’t drop supply charges. And they will drop supply charges since they’d rather have some of people’s money than none of people’s money, but it remains to see how much of other people’s money they will waste and how many people they kill through excess emissions before that happens.

          • Mint

            I was looking up Queensland rates, and found this:

            Doesn’t that make battery storage economical in the very near future? You could run your whole house on those off peak tariffs and save a bundle.

          • Ronald Brakels

            It’s illegal to use the “super economy” tariff 31 for anything other than an off peak hot water system. It was designed to shift demand so Australia’s coal generation would have something to do at night. It can get pretty stupid. For example, on Saturday South Australia’s electricity demand aver 23:00 was the highest peak of the day as all the “off peak” hot water systems switched on at the same time. And that’s pretty common.

            But there’s a much cheaper source of electricity than tariff 31 in Queensland and that’s solar. With a 5% discount rate (which is not unreasonable for people who own roofs) rooftop solar will typically produce electricity for under 10 cents a kilowatt-hour. Feed-in tariffs for new rooftop solar in Queensland now typically range from 0 to 6 cents which means it is effectively very cheap to use electricity that would otherwise be exported to the grid to heat water.

          • eveee

            Ronald – I see whats happening now. Baseload PP are getting mothballed and shut down. CF is going down. Rates are going up. The utilities are responding with fees and higher rates. It … is… the utility death spiral in action. Users response is to cry to cut demand, put up solar, drop peak usage. What else? Storage. Meanwhile the utility is begging for off peak power demand. I think the biggest consequence we see here is the destruction of the base load power market. As I recently discovered, South Australia, kept its gas, but lost its coal plants. Coupled with the recent halt to Chinas coal expansion, spells trouble for coal companies, too. As for Abbott and his coal plans… it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Torrens Island Power Station, the largest power station in South Australia is now operating at 14% capacity. But it’s a gas plant and coal seam gas and fracking have indirectly caused the price of gas to soar in Australia On top of that there’s now no carbon price. As a result they have brought the Northern Power Station (which of course is in Southern Australia) back online and are currently running one unit. In the summer higher electricity prices will result in them running both units. But coal plants increasing capacity and gas plants decreasing it, is just shuffling generation around. People continue to use less grid power and install more solar. On Saturday at noon electricity demand in South Australia probably was as low as it was at three or four o’clock in the morning and the wholesale price of electricity dropped to just below half a cent a kilowatt hour.

          • eveee

            Ronald – Do you have a link to an Australian site that shows daily electricity demand real time or otherwise? I would love to see that. I keep up with about three ISOs currently. I would love to add a fourth.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Here is a link to the Australian Electricity Market Operator or AEMO:


            I’m afraid it only National Electricity Market (NEM) only covers the 5 eastern states and only gives a state by state break down of grid demand and wholesale electricity prices. But it is still interesting.

    • I don’t know what Lux Research is smoking. Think it’s hanging out with Abott.

    • eveee

      You nailed it. New hookups at remote areas are the first casualty of low solar and battery prices. Existing ones are more interesting. Any word about such goings on starting yet and conditions causing that to happen? Are there higher prices for remote communities or less reliable power from the grid?

      • Ronald Brakels

        Rural customers pay more than people in the city, but not nearly as much as if their electricity wasn’t subsidised. And by necessity their grid supply is more unreliable. Power lines are long and it can take days to get someone out to a remote location to fix it, unlike in the city where we are shocked if interuptions to power supply last much longer than an hour. Queensland and Western Australia are looking at taking remote communities off grid with Western Australia currently offering feed-in tariffs of up to 50 cents a kilowatt-hour (That is now huge for Australia) in remote areas to help support the remote grid and keep it operating. Other states will also remove remote areas from the grid, they just have less of it so it’s less of a pressing matter for them and they can afford to watch what Queensland and Western Australia do.

        • eveee

          Thanks. That helps. I am fumbling around trying to guess the form the future will take. I have a vague suspicion that some of the future will be remote micro grids. I first started suspecting that looking at Hawaii, but that is not as conducive to micro grids as Australian remote, I think. Thanks for keeping us posted. I got a tip from a South Australian person about goings on there. What an eye opener. I had no idea so much coal was going offline. In some ways, Australia is a bellwether. Whats your best take on the future there? You seem to indicate batteries are a likelihood regardless of off grid or grid defection.

          • Ronald Brakels

            As a change to the current high retail price, low feed-in tariff situation seems unlikely, home energy storage is inevitable. We are basically there on price, but the on grid market is currently small as most people are still on older, more generous, feed-in tariffs for their rooftop solar and as per usual we are waiting for Germany to give us the goodies. There will not be much grid defection in towns and cities as utilities will drop supply charges to keep people on grid since they make zero dollars from someone who goes off grid.

            Land developers are currently looking at building new housing estates that are off grid to save on grid connection costs and appeal to buyers. It’s that bad.

          • eveee

            Wow. I mean really. Wow. That comment about land developers looking at building new estates off grid. Please send any references you have on that. I am floored. I had not thought of that.

          • Ronald Brakels


            There is another article about how a developer is considering it, but I couldn’t find it.

  • I believe this is good news for everyone.

  • JamesWimberley

    Business-sector analysts don’t lose their jobs by producing conventional forecasts. (At the EIA. they don’t lose them for producing hopelessly wrong ones.) Treat this estimate as a lower bound.

    • I’m treating it as ridiculously low. ~Double this would be my lower bound estimate.

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