Energy Storage Has A Breakout Year On Both Sides Of The Meter

2018 may have been the year of residential energy storage, according to a leading analyst, but grid storage was no slouch.

2018 was also the year that grid-level batteries broke out of early adopter states, said Dan Finn-Foley, a senior analyst with Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, and began appearing in places that might once have seemed unlikely.

“This isn’t just a Starbucks in California talking about energy storage,” Finn-Foley said Thursday. “We have Alabama, this past quarter Georgia, the Carolinas talking about energy storage. This tells you this is about cost. This is not an emotional decision. This is now about finding the least-cost solution, as a utility, to customers. And that’s a big deal.

“If you can tell a utility this is your least-cost solution, your market is about to take off, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen for front-of-the-meter energy storage.”

Wood Mackenzie has not yet released its report on 2018, but Finn-Foley offered a sneak preview to Clean Energy States Alliance members Thursday, telling them that the fourth quarter of 2018 broke energy-storage records everywhere.

“The really exciting news is Q4 2018. Q4 2018 is going to beat these records handily, quite handily. Even from the front-of-the-meter side, residential/non-residential storage, every metric is going to set a new record for quarter-by-quarter deployments of energy storage.”

While residential storage may still be driven more by emotion than economics, grid-level storage is reaching the magic point where the cost curve crosses the value line.

“That intersection is emerging, that point where cost meets value, sooner than a lot of people in the market anticipated, and the market’s responding. We’re seeing a lot of interest not only in the traditional markets with policy mechanisms in place—California, New York, Massachusetts, etc—but in these non-traditional markets where utilities are looking at solar-plus-storage competing directly with conventional generation peaking applications.”