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Residential battery storage is a rapidly growing area electrical contractors need to be ready for if they’re going to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. A recent survey carried out by SEPA of more than 80 million customers was very revealing about the future potential of home energy storage. Below are just some of the ideas discussed in this survey.
Speed of Change
It’s amazing how quickly this part of the industry is changing. By the end of 2017, utilities across the United States connected more than 500 MWh of additional energy storage to the grid. By the end of 2017, the total residential energy storage stood at nearly 1300 MWh nationwide. That is a truly astonishing rate of growth.
Pilot and Demonstration Projects
All over the country, states are backing pilot programs and demonstration projects to promote the idea of residential energy storage. For instance, Massachusetts is funding its ACES (Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage) project to the tune of 20 million dollars. This will support some 26 separate pilot storage projects in the state.
In many places, demonstration projects are deploying storage technologies for a wide range of uses, such as standalone use, behind the meter batteries, load shifting, ancillary services and non-wire alternatives (for remote locations where service is difficult to deliver). The potential expansion in all of these areas represents a real opportunity for electrical contractors.
Behind the Meter
2/3 of utility companies made it clear in the survey they are very interested in behind the meter battery storage options for their customers, and many are currently offering – or planning to offer – these capabilities to their customers. And it’s likely many more utilities will see the value in doing this in the near future.
As the cost for these technologies continues to drop and utility companies recognize they can get certain advantages from the abilities these systems provide, more and more solar plus storage projects are being implemented across the United States. For instance, Salt River Project in Arizona is in the process of testing “solar plus storage” as a means for balancing out the delivery of energy in a way that compensates for the intermittent nature of renewable sources.
Impact of Lithium-Ion Batteries
While Elon Musk is perhaps the most prominent figure in the industry when it comes to researching and developing large, efficient lithium-ion batteries for residential use, this technological innovation is being embraced by others as well. Lithium-ion battery technology represents a revolution in residential energy storage. Utilities across the country are testing the capability of this technology in a number of programs and projects. These projects include dispatchable solar plus storage, aggregated residential battery storage, and micro-grids.
While it is true the residential energy storage market is still quite young, state regulations and policies are encouraging its development. Although California and Hawaii are the principal leaders in this area today, other states like New York, Massachusetts, Nevada, Maryland, and New Jersey are also working hard to implement this technology.
The future of residential energy storage seems extremely bright. It’s clear there is going to be a lot of work for electrical contractors who are ready to install, maintain and repair this technology. If you want your business to get a piece of this pie, you should act now to prepare yourself.