Energy Storage: What’s in it for you?

Within these past few years, energy storage has been a no stranger for every renewable energy users out there. A statement from white house said that the US has doubled the installed capacity of energy storage to 500MW in 2015 alone. As the U.S. solar market continues to grow, the industry is beginning to envision a future where solar projects are built with storage units to help offset peak demand. Where do we stand currently? Is storage growing in the U.S., or is it just a buzz word?

Energy Storage: The Current State

Energy storage incentives are rapidly increasing in the solar market. Since 2001, California’s Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has had the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) in place. In addition, a reform that will require 75% of the program’s $83 million annual budget to be used for energy storage has been approved by the California Public Utilities Commission just recently.

With a 1.3GW procurement mandate, California led the way to its ambitious renewable energy goals by 2020 for its three largest utilities. Oregon followed suit shortly after with a storage mandate of its own. Looking back East, comprehensive energy legislation passed in Massachusetts at the end of July orders the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to develop a 2020 energy storage mandate.

The Next Step

Energy storage can be used for a variety of applications, including utility infrastructure, grid stabilization, peak load shifting and peak demand offsetting.

As the storage market grows, we have seen increased demand for storage + solar solutions in requests for proposals (RFPs), and we are participating in these RFPs with partners as we look to meet consumers’ demand for this “hot” technology.

While mass adoption of solar + storage is at the very least one year away, growing interest in the topic makes it critical for solar developers to expand their knowledge on this topic. It is important to know when to add storage to a project, but it may be just as vital to know when to disqualify it.