Intersolar Europe: DNV GL unveils solar + storage service

Independent energy advisory and certification body DNV GL has encapsulated the storage trend of day one of the Intersolar Europe exhibition by announcing it is to create a solar + storage division to address burgeoning industry challenges.

As the two synergies of solar and battery storage merge ever closer, DNV GL has become one of the frontrunners in melding storage technologies and applications with integrated renewable generation – a trend that is set to accelerate as the two markets grow.

Such a proactively combined approach to storage and solar PV plant development is still relatively uncommon, but DNV GL is confident that its new dedicated division can deliver independent advice, analysis, engineering and testing services to clients and customers operating in both industries.

“Enabling these technologies to work together as a system and connect to the grid is not without challenges,” said DNV GL director for solar services Ray Hudson. “A comprehensive understanding of the risks, technologies and best practices is key to unlocking the full potential of these combined appliances.”

A recent DNV GL global survey titled Beyond Integration: Three dynamics reshaping renewables and the grid, revealed that more than 60% of energy industry professionals regard energy storage as one of the pivotal factors for integrating a higher share of renewables into the energy mix.

Cautious expansion

Such opinions were evident on the show floor on the first day of the Intersolar Europe exhibition. Crowds were busy in the EES storage hall (B1), while the storage offerings on show at many of the leading solar and inverter suppliers’ booths were also drawing the crowds.

Panasonic’s Daniel Roca, head of business development, told pv magazine that storage is a key element towards embedding the wider renewable industry.

“This is the energy industry, it is not the solar industry. So you need to bring the utilities and other players into the equation to actually grow, and Panasonic is intent on doing this,” Roca said. “It is not only the large utility scale plants that have a role to play, but also consumers, so if the incentives such as feed-in tariffs (FITs) are shrinking, then you need to provide incentive for self-consumption."

Panasonic recently trialed its new 8 kWh li-ion battery storage system with three Australian utilities, and Roca said that the Japanese company is looking to introduce its batteries to the European market in October. “We don’t want to offer a product where we can’t offer all of the retail requirements. In Europe we are partnering with utilities to integrate this battery into their offering with their customers.”

Roca said that Panasonic cannot justify rolling out its residential storage system to Europe just yet, however, because the infrastructure costs are likely to prove prohibitive, at least this year.

“There is a great opportunity for storage, but we still need to solve some of the challenges, which are cost, incentive, and reliability, because the paybacks at the moment are beyond the actual warranties for customers,” Roca added.

Roca revealed that the price bracket for its new li-ion battery will be between €5,000 and €10,000. “Which is competitive because it is the full solution, including the inverter, the battery management unit and the charging electronics,” he said. Tesla’s highly touted Powerwall, which is a standalone battery, is set to retail for $3,000 (for the 7 kWh version) and $3,500 (for the 10 kWh version).

pv magazine will be reporting live and direct from the Intersolar Europe exhibition all week, so check back regularly for more stories and interviews.