Germany: 150 GW PV capacity viable with just 40 GW storage

Germany’s cumulative solar PV capacity could be quadrupled from 39.2 GW currently to more than 150 GW with ease – provided the nation’s electricity system had the appropriate level of integrated storage, finds a new study by Agora Energiewende.

The study found that 40 GW of battery storage capacity would sufficiently support 150 GW of solar PV on the grid with few – if any – issues for Germany’s power infrastructure.

Furthermore, not only would such a ramp in solar and storage be technically feasible, but such a scenario is also economically viable as costs for solar modules and storage batteries continue to fall, argued Agora Energiewende director, Dr. Patrick Graichen.

The director argues in the study that Germany’s energy policy should be tweaked to deliver a more accommodating environment for solar+storage, rather than pursuing the current strategy of building more high-voltage lines beyond 2025.

Germany’s future energy mix should instead build upon the encouraging progress already made with storage since a support mechanism for batteries integrated with residential solar PV systems was rolled out in 2013. It is estimated that this scheme has already added some 15,000 home battery systems across Germany, with more than 100,000 likely to be installed by 2018.

German Development Bank KfW revealed in September that the country’s storage support scheme had driven a 35% increase in solar energy storage projects, aided by falling system costs and the growth of self-consumption for an increasing number of Germany’s solar owners.

The spread of PV across Germany has slowed in recent years, with official figures due soon poised to reveal a national cumulative figure of around 39.5 GW.