2016: A ‘transitional year for storage,’ industry set to break records

on December 28, 2016

energy storage utility driveFollowing on the heels of record breaking year, energy storage in 2016 is on track to break through last year’s record.

The year-over-year increase will likely not be as dramatic as 2015’s 243% increase over 2014, but several developments in 2016 show that the storage market is developing in ways that could clear a path for accelerated growth in future years.

In its third quarter, the U.S. Energy Storage Monitor, GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association said they expect the U.S. energy storage market to grow to 260 MW in 2016, up from 226 MW in 2015.

Analysts, however, say that it is not just the size and number of the installations in 2016 that is notable, but the quality and specific characteristics of those installations.

2016 has been a “transition year” for U.S. energy storage, said Brett Simon, energy storage analyst with GTM Research. And Alex Eller, energy storage analyst with Navigant Research, said “2016 has seen a much more diverse energy storage market, both in terms of the types of systems (market segments) being deployed and the business models.” While utility scale installations dominated the market in previous years, Eller said 2016 has seen more progress at all market levels. He pointed to contracts for demand response capacity and utility ownership programs as key drivers in that transition.

In June, for instance, Consolidated Edison, along with SunPower and Sunverge, announced a $15 million pilot program for a virtual power plant.

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Utility Dive2016: A ‘transitional year for storage,’ industry set to break records