With incentives and subsidies such as FITs being cut, it is increasingly attractive for end-consumers to self-consume. It has thus become less attractive to feed excess generated PV electricity into the grid and retail electricity prices have been increasing as well. This is boosting the incentive for on-site energy self-consumption as the new IHS report The Role of Energy Storage in the PV Industry highlights.
"Residential PV customers are striving to maximize their own consumption of the energy they are generating," said Abigail Ward, PV analyst at IHS. "This is because rising electricity prices and decreasing feed-in-tariffs (FITs) are serving as a disincentive for consumers to export their power to the electricity grid."
The cumulative installations are expected to grow to 2.5 GW by 2017, a leap from 12 MW in 2012. The number of PV residential energy storage installations are expected to be greater than the total number of residential solar systems in Germany today.
"An energy storage solution enables a PV system owner to shift energy from when it is generated to a later time for consumption," Ward added. "As a result, demand for residential energy storage products will continue to accelerate as PV energy reaches grid-parity in a number of countries."
Kickstart in Germany
The introduction of the German Energy Storage Subsidy is said to represent the turning point by increasing the return-on-investment of a residential PV system installed with an energy storage solution. Nevertheless with today's prices, the financial gains to be obtained by increasing self-consumption do not yet offset the increase in upfront costs associated with the addition of an energy storage solution in a residential PV system over the expected 20-year lifetime of the installation. The German storage subsidy program is however one way to make it easier on the pocket.
"Not only will the incentive reduce the upfront cost of residential storage solutions deployed in Germany by up to 30%, it will also generate volume in this immature market and price reductions achieved by mass production will also benefit installations in other countries," said Sam Wilkinson, PV research manager and co-author of the report. "For battery-based residential PV energy storage systems, IHS predicts an average cost reduction of around 45% during the next five years, largely due to decreases in battery prices."
Large-scale storage market
The market drivers for large-scale storage systems though differ from residential systems. Wilkinson added that the deployment in these massive systems is anticipated to shift from pilot demonstration projects to commercial installations during the next year. He stated, "Annual installations for the total grid-connected market are forecast to reach nearly 6 GW in 2017."
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