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In recent solar industry news, IHS analysts released a report that says the residential solar PV market, combined with advancements in energy storage, will increase 10-fold by 2018. The solar market, which reached 90MW of installed solar capacity this year, is predicted to reach 900MW by 2018.
Sam Wilkinson, IHS research manager, said that the major determining factors for solar market growth at the residential level are government incentives and energy storage. If government incentives are not offered to residents, the market could suffer, causing the energy storage market to suffer as well.
“The three key variables that determine whether it’s economical to add energy storage to a residential PV system to increase self-consumption are the value of the feed-in tariff, the expense of buying electricity from the grid, and the cost of energy storage products. And all of these metrics are moving in the right direction,” Wilkinson said.
Energy storage is also affected by the cost of batteries and power conversion systems. Although the average price of lithium batteries fell by 20% in 2014, the cost is still too high. This means that only a few businesses are able to offer energy storage options and find better ones. IHS predicts that the cost of batteries will continue to go down by another 15% in 2015, allowing for a return growth in the residential solar market for the first time since 2011.
“Although the high cost of batteries means that today in Germany, PV systems without storage offer a greater return on investment than PV systems with storage, IHS predicts that each of these key parameters will have moved to such an extent that this situation will be reversed by 2016.”
As the residential solar market grows, so will the energy storage market and the demand for better storage options. Navigant, a US-based analyst firm, predicts that battery materials such as lithium-ion, advanced carbon lead-acid and redox flow will jump from being a US$7.3 billion market in 2014 to a US$19.3 billion market by 2023.
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