Domestic and commercial energy storage systems alongside solar will soon be economically viable, while grid-scale systems are viable now, according to a ground-breaking report from KPMG.
The report, endorsed by the Renewable Energy Association (REA), argues that rapid cost reductions in battery storage technology will make it attractive for households and businesses within just two years.
Meanwhile, larger grid-scale storage systems are already cost effective in certain circumstances, the report adds.
The development of economically viable energy storage is a crucial prerequisite for alleviating the intermittency problems associated with integrating large-scale renewable energy onto the electricity grid.
It also represents an opportunity for households and businesses to make the most of their own on-site renewable energy generation.
By combining an energy storage system with on-site solar generation, businesses can store renewable power for use during periods of high demand or use it to take advantage of time of day energy tariffs.
Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the REA, who has previously described energy storage as a “nail in the coffin for conventional utilities”, said: “As our report illustrates, clearly [energy] storage is starting to come of age in the UK and this is a truly exciting time for the industry.
“We are working with Government on the best ways to develop the market and they must realise it will happen quicker than they expect.”
Solar plus storage
“It is also essential to view energy storage in the wider picture of the move to a decentralised energy system, by which I mean solar panels on businesses and homes combined with small-scale and larger batteries, and electric vehicles – another area poised for huge growth”, Dr Skorupska added.
According to the report, for firms seeking to invest in energy storage to enhance their environmental or corporate responsibility credentials, investing in solar plus storage will be an attractive investment from around 2018-19.
Meanwhile, for firms seeking to make a solid financial return on their investment, investing in solar plus storage is likely to become attractive by the mid-2020s.
A separate report from environmental consultancy, Eunomia, predicts that the battery storage market in the UK could grow to deliver over 1.6GW of capacity by 2020, from just 24MW currently.