Breakout year for energy storage - and it's not over yet
December 9, 2015 | By Barbara Vergetis Lundin
The United States just experienced its largest quarter for energy storage deployments since the fourth quarter of 2012.
According to GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association (ESA), the U.S. deployed 60.3 megawatts of energy storage capacity in the third quarter of the year. This represents 53.1 megawatt-hours.
The U.S. has now deployed 108 megawatts (94 megawatt-hours) through the first three quarters of the year. Since 2008, deployments have not surpassed 100 megawatts in a given year -- until now. The report forecasts total deployments of 192 megawatts this year -- triple last year's total.
"As expected, 2015 is turning out to be a breakout year for U.S. energy storage market," said Ravi Manghani, senior storage analyst at GTM Research. "Even though we've seen the PJM market dominating megawatts of deployments so far, third quarter of 2015 had utility-scale deployments in states like Georgia and Vermont. Energy storage has started to appear in different utility request for proposals (RFP) and grid planning across states, another indication that utilities and policymakers are getting comfortable with the technology and multiple values it can provide."
The majority of deployed capacity this past quarter was in the utility-scale (front-of-meter) segment which had its best quarter since the end of 2012. The utility-scale market deployed 46.6 megawatts of capacity, representing 25 megawatt-hours.
The report notes that the majority of the front-of-meter projects were deployed in PJM territory for frequency regulation, a short-duration application. As a result, the total energy capacity in megawatt-hours is less than that of the behind-the-meter segment, which consists of residential and commercial deployments that are typically used for medium- to long-duration applications.
The U.S. deployed 13.7 megawatts (28.1 megawatt-hours) of behind-the-meter energy storage in the third quarter of the year, bringing the segment's annual total to 18.8 megawatts. Commercial deployments made up 88 percent of the quarterly behind-the-meter total, and residential deployments accounted for the rest.
"Storage brings value to all parts of the grid. We are seeing that demonstrated in the diversity of markets where storage is being deployed," said Matt Roberts, executive director at the Energy Storage Association. "And storage is reliable and increasingly cost-competitive, so not only is utility-scale storage continuing to expand, but customer-sited storage is growing rapidly as well."
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