The establishment of IBESA is the first of its kind in the branch to build a bridge between battery storage solutions, smart grids and photovoltaics.
Storage has a major role to play in the expansion of renewable energy. As Ekus explains, renewable energy is intermittent in nature and energy storage provides a way to smooth out this intermittent supply of electricity.
"Compared to other conventional sources of energy, globally the current penetration level of renewable energy is low and to date the existing electricity infrastructure has been able to cope with this intermittency. However, as the share of renewable energy increases, energy infrastructure will have to be strengthened and during this process, energy storage will start playing a key role and complementing the growth of renewable energy," he tells pv magazine.
One reason for the establishment of IBESA was the need to "unify the fragmented electrical energy storage and smart grid markets." Ekus elaborates, "Until now, there has not been a single enterprise that has provided a platform for both the photovoltaic and battery industries. As such, IBESA will able to influence the industry by focusing on connecting the two sectors together rather than on the broad scope of energy storage."
There will be no one storage technology type that will be in focus. IBESA will concentrate on all battery and electrical energy storage value chains, especially in combination with decentralized renewable power generation. Ekus also believes that in the future the exchange of experience between emerging markets and mature markets is going to be crucial.
Support for storage
Financial support is needed for the storage sector to grow. However, generous subsidies are not the right way to go. "In the past generous subsidies have created vast instabilities in the PV markets and should be avoided," Ekus says. He believes that economic investments should therefore be made in areas such as:
- Research and development to increase storage reliability and reduce manufacturing costs;
- Recycling; and
- Standards and specifications.
In addition to economic support, companies are also in need of market access and an increased global awareness. This can be achieved by extensive communication support for example. Hereby it can also be said that IBESA has provided the platform for such communication to happen.
The over 70 members of IPVEA will receive IBESA membership and benefits, without the need for extra fees. The companies will benefit from an extensive network of contacts and gain access to relevant strategic market intelligence which makes, for example, market entrance strategies predictable.
Ekus concludes that in the future, the renewable energy industry will be required to provide holistic solutions to the electricity requirements and energy storage will form an integral part of this solution.