Driven by a strong fourth quarter for utility-scale projects, the US energy storage industry has reportedly delivered record deployments. However, the new achievement is just the beginning, with deployments expected to double in 2019, and triple in 2020. The amazing growth would further propel energy storage out of pilot-scale projects and into grid planning conversations around the country.
The number of battery installations in 2018 totaled 311 megawatts (MW) and 777MW, according to the new Energy Storage Monitor. The stats were released by energy research firm Wood Mackenzie and the Energy Storage Association, compiling data from Q4 and collectively for 2018.
Smaller-scale batteries in residential areas and commercial sites as a whole outperformed the utility-scale segment for the previous four quarters, in terms of megawatts deployed. Q4, however, covered up that failure and the large-format batteries performed well.
Utility-scale set the quarterly record for MW hours deployed. In the process, it also defeated the record established by the rapid fire Aliso Canyon procurement, which fast-tracked batteries for capacity in Southern California after a massive natural-gas leak.
“This isn’t a fluke quarter; this is the natural evolution we’ve been looking at the market developing toward, and now it’s finally happening,” said Daniel Finn-Foley, senior storage analyst at WoodMac and an author of the report.
Though California and the PJM market still hold larger share of the market in terms of cumulative storage capacity installed, the quarter’s new build revealed a growing geographical scope of activity.
Notably, large-scale projects with different options of business models have also gone online in Hawaii, California, Texas, Minnesota and Colorado, Finn-Foley reported.
In February, Puerto Rico’s new utility plan called for major uptake of storage and only days later, Arizona Public Service revealed it will install 850 MW of storage by 2025, an extended ram-up from its earlier uses of technology.
“This is all about recognizing value, and utilities are on the bleeding edge of recognizing storage’s value right now,” Finn-Foley said. “When they do look at it, guess what happens? They pick it.”