According to the leading clean energy research organization, GreenTech Media, the behind-the-meter energy storage market will see major growth in the next few years.
Behind-the-meter refers to either a solar panel system or battery storage system supplying on site energy that is on the non-utility side of an electric meter. On the other hand, in-front-of-the-meter refers to any system used by an electric utility.
GreenTech Media predicts that behind-the-meter energy storage will grow 60 times its current size by 2019. This will make it almost half of the total energy storage market by then.
One of the largest growth segments is residential. This implies that homeowners will have access to affordable energy storage systems in just a few years. At the current energy storage price of approximately $300/kwh battery, the equivalent of paying 33 cents per kilowatt hour, this cost prohibitive to all but the very highest residential electric rates in America. However, it is predicted that costs could come down to $100/kwh battery, or 11 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity drawn from the storage system by 2020.
Major companies have joined the race to grab their share of the upcoming and potentially enormous energy storage market. Some of the largest names include Tesla, Green Charge, and Stem. Naturally, these energy storage companies have teamed up with major solar panel installers. The combination of cost effective energy storage and cost effective solar power will have the grid eventually playing a minor, supportive role.
Even large electric utilities like Duke Energy are jumping into the storage game. Duke is working with Green Charge in getting batteries installed at government, industrial, and commercial sites. Duke also has a presence in the solar industry as well with REC Solar. We’ll see more utilities get into energy storage and solar pv in order to diversify their energy portfolios. A full scale transition to renewables must also happen, sooner than later.
What does all of this mean to the average homeowner?
Well, it means that the promise of true energy ownership and independence is arriving soon. Those who purchase their solar panel systems now will take a big step in towards being a part of this future.
Home energy ownership through solar power and energy storage will be one of the largest, if not the largest, transfers of wealth in the history of this country. How could this be so? It’s simple, take an average savings of at least $20,000 and multiply that by the number of homeowners and you’ll get a pretty large number.
Of course, major electricity savings are possible with solar power right now, without a storage option. The difference with storage is that net metering will no longer be relied upon. Homeowners will no longer be at the mercy of their utility’s willingness to offer fair net metering compensation or not. They will also not be able to get away with charging solar customers extra and unnecessary fees.
If our cleantech research organizations are anywhere close in their energy storage predictions, we can look forward to a much more equitable energy landscape in the not too distant future.