Great story on the battery revolution that's coming. Here's an excerpt:
Back in May, Tesla turned heads when it announced its plans for a new battery product, which would allow homes and large-scale commercial operations to store energy from solar panels or serve as a backup power source during grid outages.
And now, a new report released Wednesday highlights the leaps and bounds this new industry — dubbed energy storage — is making, and predicts its continued growth in the coming year.
The U.S. Energy Storage Monitor report, which is part of a series of documents published quarterly by GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association, claims that the second quarter of 2015 saw a six-fold increase in energy storage deployment since the first quarter.
It’s a big jump, says Ravi Manghani, a senior energy storage analyst with GTM Research — but it’s not wholly unexpected. “We’re talking about an industry that’s very new and recent,” he says. “In that sense, we do expect some quarters to have much bigger jumps, as we are having this particular quarter.” The introduction of technologies such as the Tesla battery help make these gains possible, he said.
The finding highlights a growing national interest in batteries and in energy storage generally. No wonder: The ability to store energy and distribute it at a later time could help utility companies meet their customers’ electricity needs on demand, which reduces the possibility of putting too much — or too little — power on the grid on any given day.
Developing better storage technologies is also increasingly important as renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar plants, expand across the country. One of the biggest problems with renewable sources is that they can only generate power intermittently. Solar panels, for example, don’t work at night when the sun isn’t shining. A major obstacle to improving and expanding these energy sources is finding ways to store energy as it’s generated so that it can be used at a later time.
The new U.S. Energy Storage Monitor reports that 40.7 megawatts of energy storage were deployed in the second quarter of this year. To put that number in context, during the same period last year, fewer than five megawatts were deployed.