UK: STA urges government to move quickly on creation of pro-storage policies

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The U.K. government should proactively stimulate the country’s fledgling storage market if the technology is going to be able to fulfil its promise and play a pivotal role in the nation’s evolution towards smart power, the Solar Trade Association (STA) has said today.

In its latest paper, titled Solar+Storage Opportunities, the STA outlines the benefits for both homeowners and the nation’s power system of nurturing storage technologies in conjunction with solar PV.

The paper calls on the government to unlock storage’s "game-changer" potential by addressing key regulatory, economic and market barriers, and introducing product and installation standards. In doing so, the STA says, the U.K. grid will become smarter, more flexible, and could save consumers up to £8 billion ($10.3 billion) according to the National Infrastructure Commission.

"Storage is a game-changer for power systems and consumers around the world," said STA CEO Paul Barwell. "Other countries are providing stimulus to their storage industries but we believe the priority in the U.K. is to move quickly to lay the foundations for the development of a strong, safe and sustainable energy storage industry, at all scales."

As storage becomes cheaper, Barwell added, by the time government puts in place supportive frameworks then the industry economics could be very compelling indeed.

More specifically, the STA is urging the government’s new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) – the successor to the now-defunct DECC – to legally define storage in regulatory terms, thereby avoiding the perverse "double charging" that storage is subjected to as both an importer and exporter of power.

The STA will work with the Electricity Storage Network and RenewableUK to share best practice for the creation of renewable-linked storage projects, including a ‘Masterclass’ on large-scale storage and its challenges.

"Solar and storage are a match made in technology heaven," enthused STA policy manager and the paper’s author, David Pickup. "Government will not help the smart power agenda by stalling solar power through illogical tax treatment – extreme business rate hikes will hinder the commercial sector investors who are vital to delivery."

Pickup stressed that the STA will focus its efforts on creating marketplaces and service for storage at larger scale, while also ensuring focus and safety for consumers.