US Energy Storage Industry Had its Biggest Third Quarter on Record

Power shutoffs over the past few months in California will act as significant drivers of growth in residential storage into 2020

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The United States energy storage sector had it strongest third quarter on record this year, deploying 100.7 MW and 264.6 MWh of storage, according to the new U.S. Energy Storage Monitor from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA).

The front-of-meter (FTM) market rebounded after its slump with 161 MW deployed, and the residential storage market kept up recent momentum, slightly outpacing second quarter deployment levels to deliver a new record for quarterly residential deployments.

The reports said Massachusetts was the quarter’s clear leader for FTM storage deployments at 58 MWh deployed. Vermont and Arkansas tied for second place at 24 MWh of FTM storage each. The U.S. front-of-the-meter segment saw 121 percent quarter over quarter growth in the third quarter and is on track to grow by nearly 10 percent year-over-year in MW-terms in 2019.

FTM storage growth will accelerate significantly starting in 2020 as the segment adds 825 MW next year and 2,635 MW in 2021.Usesm 3 Q2019 Segment Xl 2250 1221 80 (1)

“We are encouraged to see the continued strong growth of the energy storage industry,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of the U.S. Energy Storage Association. “Three of the last four quarters have recorded more than 100 MW in deployments, experiencing a healthy diversity of customer-sited and grid-side projects, and a growing pipeline of projects in development. We can expect deployments to accelerate even further if Congress acts to pass legislation making stand-alone energy storage eligible for the 30 percent investment tax credit by the end of this year.”

Residential storage grew by nearly 40 MW in the third quarter of the year. California, Hawaii and Arizona were the largest U.S. markets for residential storage.

“The power shutoffs over the past few months in California will act as significant drivers of growth in residential storage into 2020 and beyond as more customers explore solar-plus-storage for backup power,” said Brett Simon, Wood Mackenzie senior storage analyst. “Installers have already shared anecdotes about growing residential storage volumes in California, and we expect a large uptick early next year as marketing efforts for solar + storage started earlier this year bear fruit. We expect roughly one in five new residential solar PV systems installed in in 2020 to be paired with storage.”

As the storage industry grows, key standards and safety protocols are emerging that will help maintain market opportunities for storage going forward. The third quarter saw notable activity in this area, including the release of a finalized version of NFPA 855 in September and a new storage permitting standards in New York. The emerging standards cover issues such as permitting, site planning, equipment and thermal runaway.

The U.S. energy storage market is expected to grow by over 12-times in MW-terms between 2019 and 2024. This outlook was upgraded versus the second quarter as a result of significant activity in the FTM segment, including several new large-scale project and procurement announcements, as well as significant upside due to massive short-term capacity additions planned in Southern California.

Approximately 23-times growth is expected in the FTM segment between 2019 and 2024, while a steady rise in residential deployments will build on a strong 2019. The non-residential market forecast through 2024 includes significant uncertainty, with potential downsides pertaining to business-model challenges and market disturbances such as from cluster studies holding up projects in Massachusetts.

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