Solar storage needs stable and sustainable market development

12. October 2012 | Applications & Installations, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends, Storage & smart grids | By:  Becky Beetz

Solar storage solutions are integral to the further development of the photovoltaics industry. However, cowboys "looking to make a quick buck" need not apply, as stable and sustainable market development is required, according to feedback from EuPD Research’s first "Storage & Solar Briefing".

Battery solar storage

A number of new and emerging energy storage technologies are helping to innovate the sector.

On October 10, around 90 players from industry and politics converged in Stuttgart, Germany, to attend EuPD Research’s first "Storage & Solar Briefing", co-initiated by Intersolar Europe.

While the overwhelming opinion was that reliable solar storage solutions are key to the future of photovoltaics development, and that "fast and reliable" market expansion is required, Harm Haarlink from Nedap Energy Systems warned the sector against going down the same road as the module industry.

"We have to be careful that not too many companies enter the market looking to make a quick buck. 'Cowboys' of such caliber were already experienced in module production. The goal must be the establishment of a stable and sustainable market," he stated.

Haarlink’s comments, which came on the back of a debate about the kind of support solar storage solutions need to gain a market foothold, were also aimed at the political level and, specifically, towards over-regulation. R&D funding and FIT surcharges were discussed.

Looking at Germany, German Solar Industry Association (BSW) managing director, Jörg Mayer highlighted the moves currently being made in the country towards storage support. "Our aim as an industry is to contribute toward the necessity of grid stability and as an association to drive the implementation of a nationwide incentive program," he said, adding that positive moves had been made by the government.

At the briefing, Karl Greißing, Director of the Department Energy at the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector in Baden-Württemberg, said his state is looking to actively participate in the creation of a regulatory framework.

Meanwhile, yesterday it was reported that Germany’s Environment Minister, Peter Altmaier wants to overhaul the EEG. As opposed to implementing a short- or medium-term storage policy, he is looking to anchor it in the EEG. Talks on the proposed changes will take place between this November and next May.

The next "Storage & Solar Briefing" will be held in 2013, and aims to discuss how lessons can be learned from mistakes made in other solar branches.

Energy storage on the grid

In a new report, Pike Research looks into Energy Storage on the Grid (ESG) in relation to grid asset optimization, arbitrage, solar and wind integration, and transmission and distribution deferral.

The company says a number of new and emerging energy storage technologies are helping to innovate the sector. Compressed air energy storage (CAES), pumped storage and advanced batteries were all highlighted as interesting. Furthermore, looking at the partnerships taking place, the company found that the EGS market is becoming more specialized.

Delivering cost effective solutions remains key for the development of ESG, however, as is the creation of sustainable business models. "Business models that focus on integrating storage with existing products, delivering services instead of selling technology, and packaging ESG with other, less speculative technologies will be more successful," wrote Pike Research.

It added, "Currently, sustainable business models are not possible in the energy storage industry unless specific pieces of the supply chain are fleshed out. In some cases, technology vendors are struggling to balance the inherent technology and financial risks within the storage industry. Energy storage does not have enough intermediaries in the storage industry to scale up and fully commercialize." As the market matures over the next 18 months, this is predicted to change.

Overall, Pike Research expects North America, Europe and Asia Pacific to comprise the largest ESG market share.


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