While German political leaders and the media have largely focused on smart grids as the answer to increasing grid demand and subsequent market price fluctuations, Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) says storage solutions are already helping to solve the problem and predicts that demand for storage systems will soon explode in the country.
Indeed GTAI — the German Economic Affairs and Energy Ministry’s foreign trade and investment promotion agency — says "a quiet revolution has been taking place in the photovoltaic industry."
German solar photovoltaic generation peaked at around 15 GW on May 11 — a record high that caused prices to sink briefly into the negative, GTAI notes.
"Balancing supply with demand in the grid presents operators with a significant challenge and leads to market price fluctuations," says GTAI renewable energies manager Tobias Rothacher. "That is where storage solutions come into play."
Storage is a major topic at this year’s Intersolar Europe conference and exhibition in Munich, which runs June 2-6.
"Many solar installations will have paid for themselves in the next couple of years and some will soon reach the end of their 20-year feed-in tariff contract," adds Rothacher, who advises and supports international companies planning to invest in Germany.
With modern and cheaper battery technology now available, these owners are able to store excess power during the day instead of feeding it into the grid at low prices and buying it back at night when it is more expensive. This helps to reduce grid fluctuations and with feed-in tariffs set to fall this summer, it makes even more economic sense, GTAI adds.
Market research company EuPD expects sales of solar power storage systems to rise in Germany to 100,000 units in 2018, up from 6,000 in 2013. It is a development that has not gone unnoticed by politicians with the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel calling for battery technology to be returned to its position as a leading German industry.
"A number of factors are coming together that will lead to a boom in PV energy storage solutions in Germany," Rothacher concludes.
GTAI will be at Intersolar Europe in Munich from June 4-6 at booth 534 in Hall B1.