North America: Commercial applications to lead storage rollout

Solar+storage is clearly an area of rapid growth. New research from IHS has quantified the massive extent of this growth, with 700 MW of PV systems set to be connected to the grid in 2018 to feature storage. The commercial rooftop sector will lead this charge as the sector gains “huge momentum.”

Reducing peak electricity demand charges by businesses will be one of the major drivers of this deployment, however IHS notes that this segment is vulnerable to tariff shifts. IHS has found that peak demand changes make up “a significant portion” of many businesses’ electricity bills, making peak reduction through solar+storage deployment “extremely attractive.”

On the flip side, IHS finds that growth in the U.S. residential market will remain limited, with backup power the major driver of deployment. By contrast, in markets such as Germany, Italy and the UK, maximizing the self-consumption of solar power has lead to more widespread residential storage deployment.

In terms of major players, IHS tips solar leasing and loan provider Solarcity to drive storage deployment, through its Tesla hookup.

“SolarCity’s third-party ownership business model has enabled it to become the largest residential and commercial solar installer in the United States,” said IHS analyst Sam Wilkinson. “The company already has highly established sales channels and financing agreements in place that will make it another major driving force in the commercial PV energy storage market.” Other notable solar+storage suppliers include STEM and Green Charge Networks.

The IHS findings are set out in its Energy Storage in PV Report – 2014.