PV storage market to reap $19 billion by 2017


From just $200 million in 2012, the U.K.-based research firm expects the photovoltaic storage market to be worth $19 billion in 2017. Meanwhile, it forecasts that global photovoltaic storage installations will, on average, boast over 100% annual growth for the next five years, to reach a cumulative capacity of nearly 7 GW.

Overall, Germany is expected to lead the residential and commercial sector; however, with an anticipated 2 GW by 2017, Asia and the Americas will dominate the utility-scale sector.

While Germany is forecast to install almost 2 GWh of effective storage capacity in its residential sector during the next 5 years, markets like the U.K., Italy, North America, Australia and other smaller European markets are set to account for the remaining around 3 GW of expected capacity by 2017, PV analyst Sam Wilkinson tells pv magazine.

IMS Research primarily attributes the anticipated rapid growth to Germany’s new incentive program, scheduled to come into effect on May 1. "Because domestic electricity rates now significantly exceed residential feed-in tariff rates, there is strong interest in increasing self-consumption in residential PV systems to maximize the financial return of the system," comments Wilkinson in a statement.

Wilkinson adds that 8 MW of photovoltaic systems with storage were installed in Germany last year. "The introduction of the widely anticipated subsidy will quickly accelerate uptake by making the lifetime cost of PV systems with storage cheaper compared to those without it."

According to IMS Research figures, the subsidy for a typical German household with a photovoltaic system including storage will bring electricity costs down to under $25,000 over a 20 year period, compared to just under $30,000 without it.

Specifically, the company calculates that the typical electricity costs for a German household with no photovoltaic system will be around $50,000 over a 20 year period; compared to just over $25,000 for a household kitted out with a 5kW photovoltaic system (inc. FITs at the current rate); just under $30,000 for a household with a 5kW photovoltaic system (inc. FITs at the current rate) with storage, but without a storage subsidy; and just under $25,000 for a household with a 5kW photovoltaic system (inc. FITs at the current rate), with storage and a storage subsidy.

As aforementioned, Germany is expected to be the dominant market player in the residential and commercial sector, and is likely to account for nearly 70% of all storage installed in residential photovoltaic systems in 2013. However, its leadership is set to be challenged by other regions as they develop opportunities.

"We do expect that other countries will follow Germany’s example and adopt similar subsidy schemes to promote the use of PV energy storage – particularly where there is a case for promoting self-consumption and grid stability," Wilkinson says.

"Even without subsidies though, storage can be an attractive proposition in conjunction with residential PV systems in some markets, such as the U.K., where the market is forecast to begin growing quickly in 2014, when the price of batteries is predicted to have fallen sufficiently to make PV storage financially viable."

Regarding utility-scale photovoltaic storage solutions, IMS Research forecasts that the market will add over 2 GW annually by 2017. Asia and the Americas are expected to lead the way.

"Storage is also predicted to be used in larger systems, in order to improve the integration of PV into the grid, increase the financial return of PV systems and meet the increasingly demanding connection requirements that some countries are imposing on intermittent electricity sources like PV," writes the company in the statement.

According to the "Grid Scale Battery Storage Market 2013-2023" study recently released by Global Information Inc. and Visiongain, demand for grid energy storage will reach $113.5 billion in 2017, up from $2.8 billion. "Representing close to a 5,694 percent increase in capacity, grid storage will reach 185.4 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of capacity compared to 3.2 GWh in 2012," says the report in a statement released.

Meanwhile, it says the global grid scale battery storage market is forecast to reach $1.17 billion in 2013.