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The clean energy industry generates hundreds of billions in economic activity, and is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the coming years.

Solar Storage 100MW

The world’s largest lithium-ion battery facility to date is the Tesla-Neoen Hornsdale Power Reserve facility of 100 MW/129 MWh in South Australia, commissioned in December 2017.

However, this facility has no associated solar, and neither does the 150-MW lithium-ion facility proposed in South Korea by Hyundai Electric & Energy Systems Co., scheduled for commissioning in the first half of 2018.

But the development of battery solar storage with renewables is becoming increasingly standard as variable renewable energy takes an ever greater share of electricity generation.

A 2018 report by a research firm IHS Markit found that the total pipeline of announced energy storage projects globally has reached 10.4 GW at the end of Q1 2018 from 7.5 GW at the end of 2017.

Of this, 40% of this total capacity pipeline is to be co-located with solar projects as a key step to helping address the intermittency of solar power, and maximize its’ value in the electricity generation sector.

Similar to the advantages achieved by combining floating solar with pumped hydro storage, renewable energy projects can be enhanced by pairing them with batteries.

Among the benefits of such projects is the resulting ability to time-shift solar supply into more valuable peak demand periods, increase behind-the-meter self-consumption (also known as self-supply, a strategy that allows for on-site storage of solar generation) reduce curtailment losses, reduce transmission congestion and enhance grid stability.

In stark contrast to the rest of Australia’s energy policy chaos, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg clearly endorses solar with storage as a value-enhancing proposition, stating:

“They will not only allow currently unused renewable energy to be stored instead of wasted, but also inject electricity into the grid at times of peak demand in an area known for transmission congestion. Together, they will help lower power prices and stabilize the grid.”

An example of the potential of linking variable renewables and storage is evident in the partnership between Bay State Wind (a joint U.S. venture of Ørsted of Denmark and New England-based Eversource) and NEC Energy Solutions to incorporate 55 MW/110 MWh of storage in the 800 MW offshore wind farm under development off Martha’s Vineyard, a project announced in March 2018.

This strategy suggests a key way forward in balancing demand and supply, providing grid stability and frequency control, and maximizing value by enabling delivery during peak electricity demand periods.

An important driver of this trend is the massive deflation evident in battery costs, with total lithium-ion battery pack prices falling by more than 20% in 2017 and a similar rate of decline expected for 2018.