Apart from cover over short periods, battery storage has been prohibitively expensive; however lead-acid and lithium batteries are now commercially available in Europe for about €1,000/kWh. And in a country with high consumer electricity prices, such as Germany, PV with battery storage can have a lower unit price than mains electricity. Meanwhile, in 2015, US electric car manufacturer Tesla, launched “Powerwall” battery storage aimed at the residential market and providing 10kWh for about $3,500, and Mercedes launched a 2.5KwH home battery. Combining up to 8 can provide a total of 20KwH. Allowance must also be made for the cost of a battery management system and installation.
A study for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency in July 2015 found: “The potential for significant cost reduction of some battery technologies provides real opportunity for significant deployment in multiple applications. In particular, Li-ion batteries prices are expected to reduce by over 60 per cent and flow battery prices by over 40 per cent by 2020.”
Estimates show that at least 220 MW of energy storage was deployed in 2015, the majority of which was utility-based and the balance non-residential. By 2020, at least 1660 MW is forecast to be deployed, of which about 48 per cent would be utility-based, 24 per cent non-residential, and 28 per cent residential.
Various sources put the value of this market at between USD16-21bn by 2020 and reaching in excess of USD60bn by 2030. Of global installed capacity, the Americas accounts for just under 1/2, APAC for 1/3 and EMEA 1/4.
Ongoing challenges include poor understanding and undervaluation by stakeholders, however, regulatory reforms and technological advances are expected to help bring commercial and industrial energy storage into the mainstream.
The criteria for spotting the higher potential energy storage markets include countries; where renewable integration is very high and which wish to avoid curtailment and intermittency; or in which there is an open energy market which can provide attractive return on investment; those in which there is a shortage at times of peak demand and shortage of energy; and locations which are lacking demand side management.