The US energy storage market is officially growing up, installing 431 megawatt-hours of grid-connected energy storage in 2017, surpassing 1 gigawatt-hour of cumulative capacity installed between 2013 and 2017 and with forecasts predicting to nearly double that figure in 2018 alone.
These are the key highlights from GTM Research’s new US Energy Storage Monitor 2017 Year in Review, published in conjunction with the Energy Storage Association. Specifically, a total of 431 megawatt-hours (MWh) of grid-connected energy storage was brought online in 2017, with 100 MWh deployed in the fourth quarter. Cumulatively, the US energy storage market has reached total capacity of 1,080 MWh as of the end of 2017, growing at 27% over 2016 levels.
More importantly, however, was GTM’s prediction that the US market will almost double its total in 2018 by installing more than 1,000 MWh in a single year.
“We’re going to have to strike the word ‘nascent’ from our vocabularies when describing the U.S. energy storage market,” said Ravi Manghani, GTM Research’s director of energy storage. “Falling costs and favorable policies will be among the core drivers of the market’s breakout 2018. It’s not hard to imagine that every solar RFP by the end of the year will include storage.”
“The recent unanimous landmark decision issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is expected to lay the groundwork for the integration of energy storage technologies into the U.S. wholesale markets in a manner that compensates storage for the full range of value it is already capable of providing to the grid and end users,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of ESA. “Policies and regulatory frameworks that level the playing field will further encourage energy storage deployment throughout 2018 and beyond as the industry builds toward a goal of realizing 35 GW by 2025.”
Front-of-the-meter deployments accounted for the largest share of the market in 2017, but it was the behind-the-market market that showed the most progress in 2017, increasing by 79% year-over-year with record deployments in both the residential and non-residential segments.
2017 US Energy Storage Scorecard
GTM predicts that by 2023, annual energy storage deployments will reach 3.3 GW and constitute a $3.8 billion market, crossing the $1 billion threshold in 2019.
A final point that is worth highlighting is the impact of the Section 201 trade case which, though it resulted in the imposition of tariffs on imported solar cells and modules, will nevertheless have an impact on the energy storage market as well. Solar and storage are obviously a popular duo at the moment, and any decline on solar might have a trickle-on effect for the storage market as a whole. Accurately predicting what the effect might be, however, is an entirely different question given the relatively-nascent level of maturity for the market and its potential to stand on its own two feet separate from solar.