7 Energy Storage Stories You Might Have Missed in 2015
It’s been a breakout year for energy storage.
The U.S. energy storage market grew 185 percent, from $134 million in 2014 to $381 million in 2015. By 2020, it will be a $2 billion market, according to GTM Research.
The growth in numbers has come largely from a few states and a few big trends. California is starting to see traction with procurements to meet AB 2514, which calls for 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage by 2020 from the state’s three large investor-owned utilities.
A handful of other states are also giving more attention to storage. For the first time, Hawaii passed California for residential deployments in the third quarter of 2015. New York comes in third behind California and Hawaii for non-residential energy storage systems.
Even with advances in a few states, however, “Let’s be honest with ourselves about the market as it exists today,” GTM Research Senior VP Shayle Kann said at the beginning of the GTM’s Energy Storage Summit in December. “It’s very small.”
The nascent energy storage market got a huge boost in 2015 with the announcement of Tesla’s Powerwall, which brought an incredible amount of attention to the burgeoning industry. Tesla’s Powerwall is priced at $3,500 for a 10-kilowatt-hour residential storage system. There have been claims from companies that say they can rival Powerwall, although few if any may be able to compete with its market cachet in the early days.
There was also a rush of companies, including Sunrun, SolarCity, EnerNOC and SolarEdge, which have announced intentions to work with Tesla. One utility has already made good on its announcement: Vermont’s Green Mountain Power is the first in the U.S. to lease the backup system to customers.
Moving to the front of the meter, the PJM Interconnection region is leading the charge for utility-scale projects, with California coming in second. Even though the action is concentrated in a few states and regions, there are clues about where the market is going to be found in many of the smaller stories that happened in 2015.