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Nanotechnology Report

Energy Storage Markets in the Solar Energy Industry

Category: Transport, Energy & Environment Published: Apr 2011 View Contents
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The solar energy industry is continuing to evolve and grow, leading to diverse opportunities in the energy storage space. Small lead-acid batteries have been used for many years in small off-grid photovoltaics (PV) systems and will remain an important part of the “solar storage” market. But recent developments have created significant new revenue opportunities.

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  • The new breed of microgrids requires much larger energy storage systems than the traditional batteries used for off-grid applications. One need here is for considerably higher energy densities to handle microgrids that include large PV generators. It is as yet unclear, what kind energy storage systems will be best for this kind of application
  • As metering technology advances, the introduction of energy storage by building owners will give those owners the ability to the best advantage of feed-in-tariffs. This is virgin territory waiting for a specialized type of energy storage systems to emerge
  • Utility-scale solar plants – both PV and solar thermal – are suddenly being taken much more seriously, because of the recent problems of the nuclear industry. Large solar plants inevitably require large energy storage systems, with energy density requirements that most of today’s commercialized storage systems cannot yet offer.
  • Utilities will have to cope with a highly distributed network of solar energy sources, generating energy in an intermittent fashion. This is not a situation with which current grids are designed to cope and the Smart Grids of the future will need to incorporate energy storage buffers, if they are to optimize the use of solar in their network. Deployment of batteries in the grid to meet these requirements have not yet begun

We believe that as the result of such trends, there is a large and growing opportunity for energy storage firms of many kinds to sell into the solar power market. This will mean that the energy storage firms will have to better understand where the money will be made in this space over the next few years and what kind of batteries will be used; the dominance of lead-acid batteries in the solar power space is clearly about to change.

In this report, we analyze in detail the requirements for solar-power-related storage and where in the solar power industry purchases of energy storage systems are likely to be made. We also examine the many different energy storage technologies that might serve the needs of solar storage.

In addition, we take a look at solar-related energy storage in the context of a total market picture, looking at how solar energy storage will be impacted by the arrival of improved renewable energy management systems, improved weather forecasting, and Smart Grids. This report is a unique guide to where energy storage firms can make money in the solar power industry.