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Coupled Solar and Energy Storage Market to Grow

The symbiotic match between the solar and energy storage sectors shows significant market promise and could see the sector yielding a US $2.8 billion market over the next five years,

Assessing the emerging market for combined solar and energy storage, Lux Research analysts found that residential applications dominate through 2018. As lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and overall storage arrays fall in price, residential systems will gain the most, growing to 382 MW in 2018, the report suggests. Meanwhile, the light commercial segment will increase to 220 MW although heavy commercial/industrial systems will lag, growing only to 73.3 MW.

Combined market for intergrated solar and storage

The off-grid market enjoys higher profit margins, but the much larger market for grid-tied systems means they dominate the solar and energy storage market. Grid-tied solar installations will comprise 675 MW, or nearly 95 percent of the combined 711 MW market, while off-grid applications including telecom power claim the remaining 5 percent, the report, ‘Batteries Included: Guarging Near-Term Prospect for Solar/Energy Storage Systems’, states.

Dominated by grid installations, this market segment will be a boon to energy storage producers but have only a modest impact on the solar market, Lux Research says.

“Developers are pushing packaged solar and storage systems in order to stand out as value-adding leaders, but not all benefit equally,” said Steven Minnihan, Lux Research Senior Analyst and a co-author of the report.

He added: “Residential energy storage will see a boost [in] adoption due to solar, but the addition of storage will barely move the needle for solar players, driving a paltry 1 percent increase in global PV sales.”

Considering geographical differences, Lux consider Japan as the worldwide market leader. Hit by high electricity prices and seeking alternative energy after the nuclear woes, Japan will install 381 MW of solar coupled with storage by 2018, leading all other markets by a wide margin, the analysis suggests. Germany will come in second at 94 MW, while the U.S. will be third at 75 MW.

In addition, Lux argues that policies may dramatically increase the market for energy storage technologies. This year, Germany set aside $67 million to subsidize solar-tied energy storage and the U.S. Senate introduced a program that could fund $7.5 billion worth of new storage projects, or about 7.5 GWh of capacity, the analysis notes.

Image: The combined maket for integrated solar and storage, via Lux Research

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David Appleyard is a contributing editor. A freelance journalist and photographer, he has some 20 years' experience of writing about the renewable energy sector and is based in Europe.

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