Much has been written on this site concerning the significant near term potential for solar plus storage applications.
This post goes beyond the hypothetical as we look into the contract that the leading U.S. solar panel installer has recently won to implement a major solar plus energy storage project.
According to a recent PV magazine article, SunRun won a bid to construct a 20 MW solar plus storage system for ISO New England’s 2022-2023 Forward Capacity Market. The system will be required to offer that 20 MW of power to the grid 24 hours a day for one year. It will be paid $3.80/kW/month or $76,000/month or $912,000 for the year.
Called Brightbox, Sunrun’s energy storage system is a battery product made by South Korea’s LG Chem RESU company. Their residential systems come in three different sizes – 3.3 kWh, 6.5 kWh, and 9.8 kWh. SunRun is planning on doing about 5,000 installs to meet their requirements.
SunRun’s system will only cover one-tenth of one percent of the total market, as the total capacity that qualified for the auction was 43 GW.
As important as it is for a project like this to prove its effectiveness, the legal environment must also be favorable moving forward. There’s positive signs of this as there has been recent legislative victories concerning energy storage in both Massachusetts and California.
There’s reason for optimism here for at least two reasons. First off, the forces that promote and support a free market system in the U.S. should prevail in the end, allowing for other energy producers to compete with established utilities. Secondly, distributed solar plus storage developments will lessen the need of major utilities to construct new power plants thereby saving them considerable capital expenditures.
This energy storage story will be followed up by many more as we are merely witnessing the infancy of this new arrival to the marketplace. Prices for batteries will continue to fall, grid integration will improve, and new legislation will pave the way for considerably more energy storage capacity.