Attached Storage To Accompany 9% Of Solar PV In North America, IHS Reports

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IHS has concluded that 9% of solar PV systems in North America will include attached storage by 2018, led primarily by commercial systems.

IHS predicts that 700 MW of PV systems with energy storage will be installed by 2018, compared to only 30 MW last year, a phenomenal increase.

“The commercial PV energy storage market in the United States has gained huge momentum in recent months,” said Sam Wilkinson, research manager for solar and energy storage for IHS Technology. “Leading suppliers are currently offering highly successful ‘no-money-down’ sales models to customers, and they have also gained the backing of major investors.”

The figures come by way of the IHS Energy Storage in PV Report – 2014, published late 2014, which analyzed the entire PV industry to provide “critical data and insight” for the energy storage in PV industry.


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“The development of cost-effective energy storage systems is critical to the future of the PV industry,” write the authors of the report. “Energy storage can support large-scale PV integration and reduce instabilities that could potentially inhibit the growth of the PV market in the long-term.”

Writing Monday, IHS further noted that “commercial buildings are subject to peak demand charges, which are based on the maximum power drawn from the grid during the billing period.” These charges can account for a significant portion of a business’s electricity bill, but integrating solar PV storage helps reduce peaks in grid power consumption and, therefore, reduces these costs significantly.

“Incentives, like the Self Generation Incentive Program offered in California, are also making the economics of such systems extremely attractive; but there is no guarantee that electricity tariff structures won’t be adjusted, which could affect the economics of existing systems,” Wilkinson added.

As can be seen, such a market will rely on commercial installations, as the only real incentive for a homeowner to delve into solar PV storage systems is to provide energy during a blackout — a huge investment for a relatively infrequent occurrence.

Currently, the growth for these solar PV-with-energy storage systems have been driven by suppliers such as STEM and Green Charge Networks. However, “IHS anticipates that SolarCity … will also be increasingly active in the attached storage market this year.”

We covered the news that Tesla was planning to unveil a battery storage system for home use early this year, therefore creating a likely pairing between Elon Musk’s involvement in both SolarCity and Tesla. This wasn’t a new thought for the company, of course, which had been offering a “free quote” for their residential and commercial storage systems last year.

Nevertheless, SolarCity is definitely going to be able to make the most out of this market soon.

“Solarcity’s third-party ownership business model has enabled it to become the largest residential and commercial solar installer in the United States,” Wilkinson said. “The company already has highly established sales channels and financing agreements in place that will make it another major driving force in the commercial PV energy storage market.”

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Joshua S Hill

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