U.S. Electric Grid Hits Energy Storage Landmark

Mar 16, 2018

In a “major landmark for the [electric grid] industry,” the U.S. has achieved the capacity to store a billion watts of power to an hour. This is good news for the renewable energy industry, in particular the solar energy industry, as it allows excess energy to be stored and used when output is lower. Research firm GTM Research explained these findings in its new report, “U.S. Energy Storage Monitor: 2017 Year-in-Review”. The report further explains that energy storage capacities increased 27 percent in 2017, with further growth expected in 2018.

“It seems a little optimistic to me,” said Eric Hittinger, an energy expert at Rochester Institute of Technology. “However, I think this is an industry that is going to keep growing, the markets are there already and are improving actually over time.”

Customers continue to look to renewable energy as a more affordable way to power their homes, but also as a backup system during events such as power outages, explained GTM Research energy analyst and report author Ravi Manghani. Many states are actively encouraging the practice, such as California, who introduced the Self-Generation Incentive Program. The program provides rebates to those who install storage capacities at home or at work. Maryland also recently announced a similar program in a move that benefits the state as well as residents, with Manghani explaining “Energy storage is used as a tool to shave off their peak consumption periods.”

However, President Trump’s recently announced solar tariffs could have a negative effect on the energy storage market. With the tariffs on imported solar cells and modules, the price of installing solar panels is expected to rise, detracting new customers from purchasing panels and installing energy storage capacities. “It’s almost a boot strapping process here, where the storage industry is going after these high-value low-market-size opportunities for now, and that builds experience and brings down the cost, so that they can compete for somewhat larger markets that require a lower cost product,” Hitting explained. “And the game is to work down this cost curve.”

To view the full GTM Research report, click here: https://www.greentechmedia.com/research/report/us-energy-storage-monitor-2017-year-in-review#gs.C7jneLM