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Solar + storage installs set to treble on back of “exceptional” battery market growth

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unnamed(3)Malcolm Turnbull’s executive order, repeated on Wednesday, to “get on with” energy storage was received by many as a welcome sign of positive energy policy momentum. But the reality is that for much of Australia, the revolution is already well afoot. New research has shown that the nation’s households and businesses are taking to batteries with much the same enthusiasm with which they embraced solar. And at much the same rate.

In its 2017 Battery Market Report, released to RenewEconomy on Thursday, Australian solar consultancy SunWiz predicts a big year ahead for battery uptake, with market growth expected to treble over the next 12 months, after a 2016 that clocked up 6750 battery installations, or 52MWh – up from 500 in 2015.

To put this in further context, SunWiz notes that that there were 130,000 rooftop solar system installations in 2016, meaning that, effectively, 5 per cent of solar installations included batteries in the past year.

“(This) represents exceptional growth in the Australian battery market, coming off the back of 500 battery installations in 2015,” said SunWiz managing director Warwick Johnston.

“What makes it all the more impressive is that most installations occurred in the latter part of the year, setting up 2017 to be another year of remarkable growth.”

Johnston says SunWiz expects the market to treble in 2017, to a point where 15 per cent of new solar installations will include energy storage. Of those households that already have solar, the report finds that a whopping 70 per cent have plans to add a battery or two.

But we can’t blame Malcolm for being a bit off the mark. According to SunWiz, it took “hundreds of hours of interviews, surveys and research,” to provide achieve transparency into what it describes as “a very opaque market.”

Enphase-Battery-2That said, Turnbull’s claim that the states had neglected to drive battery uptake could be misled, too. SunWiz found that New South Wales was the #1 location for battery installations, with 33 per cent of the installed market, followed closely by Queensland, with 29 per cent.

South Australia, currently with only 10 per cent of national installs, had the most favourable market for battery installations, the report said, with its superior solar resource, high electricity prices, and, ahem, subsidy programs from government, AGL, and SAPN – all of which contribute towards some solar-storage systems having seven-year paybacks before subsidy, says SunWiz.

2016 was also the largest year for larger-scale storage projects, the report finds, noting the 2MWh installation at the Sandfire Copper Mine, the 1.1MWh community installation at Alkimos Beach, and the ACT auction.

But there is still plenty of work to do in the battery storage market, Johnston concedes – a great deal of which will be in education and regulation.

“Our interviews highlighted the storage market is in its infancy and market education is required,” he said.

“Customer expectations of batteries differ markedly from the capabilities and value proposition of most offerings on the market, and salespeople are also caught up in the excitement.

“Batteries aren’t yet a commodity – one size doesn’t fit all and tools such as PVsell can help identify which is the best option for individual customers.”  

  • trackdaze

    Wow. Cleared for launch.
    Just a 10% retrofit to existing rooftop solar which is coming up to 6gw in total would have to see over 800mw of storage. This will of course be over a number of years.

    Then we have potential for about 15% of new solar installations which are nearing 800mw pa to include battery storage!

    In 3 or 4 years its potentially a 1gw +per annum industry if the networks and large scale generators both fossil and renewables get the memo.

    • Andrew Roydhouse

      Don’t fall into the trap of equating generation capacity on the roof with battery capacity potentially installed.

      The battery capacity is measured (per roof) as kWh not kW. So a 3kW roof installation may add one 7kwh battery or maybe 10kwh etc. A 5kW roof may add 15kWh in batteries.

      So, your 800mW figure is more likely 2,500mWh in batteries for example. Running the figures (for many) will yield the solution of adding new panels together with the battery storage to maximise the financial return.

      Potentially even greater if the software for selling into the grid is successful. Add in the possible Tesla 3 impact and storage could indeed grow several times faster than the 2,500mWh figure suggested.

      • trackdaze

        Agree Its too early to tell, was using the back of my eyelids

      • Greg Hudson

        Having just sold my 2kw solar equipped house (with PFIT) and also sold my (ICE) car to finance a Tesla Model 3 (reserved) (or a Model Y my preferred option), I’m in the position to examine solar for the new house, along with a battery. However, to my mind, it would suit me better if the car itself could take the place of a PowerWall2. Why have 2 lots of batteries sitting in my garage – one of them (the car) being under utilized…. Renault use the Zoe for powering houses in France, so I see no reason Tesla couldn’t do it (other than it eating into PW2 sales). Image the huge resource of having ‘x’ thousands of mobile battery banks available to supplement the peak house loads, and even maybe export when the wholesale price goes crazy and almost reaches the peak of $14000/MWh as it has in SA and Qld recently.

        • Rod

          You forfeited your PFiT. Ouch.
          The problem is most cars will be at the workplace while the sun is shining.
          Another reason to leave the car at home and take the ebike. Yay.

          • Greg Hudson

            The loss of PFIT is a big hit I know. I exported $35.40 worth of power last week (not bad from just a 2kw array) this week is looking good too. If I was on the latest FIT, I’d get about 1/10th of that figure. Mind you, if I can upsize to 5Kw at the new place, I would get approx half what I get now, so it is still worth while doing. Adding a PW2 would alter those figures though.

            I work from home, so most of the day the car (Model 3 or Y) will be in the garage (unless Tesla’s uber thing actually starts to make me money)

            Re the eBike, yes, I gave it yet another hammering today. It’s a folding e-Mountain bike (rare). Dyson/KTM brand. I love it.

          • Rod

            If EV’s are half as much fun as ebikes they are a shoe in.
            I fitted a Bafang mid drive to an old Malvern Star City Bike type frame.
            Needless to say my other bikes and car are covered in dust and spider webs.

          • Greg Hudson

            My idea of EV fun…
            I used to love bush bashing / 4 wheel driving in my wife’s Suzuki Vitara years ago. The thing could climb just about anything, mainly because of its light weight. Imagine what an EV version would be like, with huge amounts of torque available from 0 revs. It would be ideal for crawling over rocks with big fat wheels/tyres and a giant lift kit. This would horrify Elon, but it would be unique (for a while), until people realized how much better/efficient than FF powered it would be. Not sure about river crossings, but that’s a different matter 😉

          • Rod

            Recharging out in the sticks might be difficult too.
            We take some folding PV panels to the Flinders and they struggle to keep the beers cold.
            My idea of EV fun
            https://youtu.be/chvcqgipom0

        • JohnM

          Yes, having 85-100kWh in your car seems like pretty good storage.
          The only problem is that Tesla owners get unlimited free fast charging at Tesla installed stations. So we could all run our homes and businesses courtesy of Elon. Woohoo!
          Tesla has a phenomenal business model, but it unfortunately does not include unlimited free power for all.

          • Greg Hudson

            Tesla no longer gives out free unlimited power via the SuperChargers, unless you bought your car prior to 15 Jan 2017. They now give you the first 400kWh free, then it is AU$0.35c/kWh thereafter. So, I won’t be getting unlimited free power when my Model Y arrives 🙁

            I was thinking more of using the Tesla Car battery as a substitute for a PowerWall2 (or maybe even a PW3 depending on how long it takes for the Model Y to arrive).

            In theory, it should be possible to charge a car on the cheap ‘storage rate’ (or whatever the power retailers call it), then use that stored power to run your house during the day/peak hours (i.e. no solar panels required). If you do have solar, then use them to first power your house, then refuel your car, and lastly, export what meager power is remaining. This is just a theory at present, but I think it may be feasible…

          • solarguy

            It is feasible, but not that cost effective, without PV.

          • Greg Hudson

            Well that depends on how much you pay for power.

    • Jo

      1mw = 0.000000001MW

      • trackdaze

        I’ll just translate jo’s formula for the benefit of everyone.

        Small m = milliwatts
        Capital M = megawatts

        I’ll leave as is as im sure most will understand i was talking megawatts.

        • John Norris

          Please use MW, MWh, GW, GWh. Thank you. Your local internet units police.

  • Ian Mclaughlin

    I am in the enviable position (but well informed) of getting the 44c feed in tariff in South Australia. So I am doing it in reverse! When my 1.5Kw solar PV system was paid off by credits and saving on bills I have invested the credits in new panels and AGM batteries (as a interim move) with DC/AC inverters I now power our home in daylight hours from free power and maximise our feed in. We are effectively “off the grid” for up to 17 hours per day. It started as a hobby and saves money unlike most other hobbies.

    • Rod

      You won’t be alone.
      I think many will add more panels after losing their PFiT.
      PV is so cheap now you would be silly not to.
      Might need a new inverter but heck let’s get a battery too.
      It is a pity batteries aren’t as visible as PV to encourage technology envy. (Unless there is a blackout)

      • Ian Mclaughlin

        We can’t touch our main system or we will loose my 44c feed-in so most of the house is isolated manually from the grid when power levels are O.K. During the Blackout in S.A. (20 hours for us) it was only a minor inconvenience.

        • Rod

          I’m also on the PFit until 2028.;-)
          I am contemplating a second stand alone PV + storage system.
          We were lucky, only out for 4 hours. Zero inconvenience. At least you got a missed SLA payment.

          • Ian Mclaughlin

            Actually I rounded the numbers we missed out by 20mins!! However many years ago the power was out and we got a payment but it was only out on one phase we had a two phase supply so with extension cords we were O.K.

          • Rod

            Pity you just missed out.
            I can’t remember if we got $80 or $160 once. Nothing extra for loss of export income.
            Did you install your secondary system?
            I’m looking for an installer for mine.

          • Ian Mclaughlin

            The year it happened we were out twice and got over $500 which shows how long the power was off. My secondary systems, 3 in total, I did the physical work but a retired electrician friend did the connections. I cannot recommend anyone unfortunately.

  • DevMac

    The more the Government talks about spending taxpayers money on polished-turd coal, the more people are going to turn towards solar and storage to avert the inevitable spiralling electricity costs. And the shorter the return-on-investment.

  • Robert Thomas

    Go Enphase!

  • Carol

    The insight provided by the SunWiz 2017 Battery Market Report into the number of battery installations in Australia and the expected market growth in 2017 is just what the industry needs. We are working to build a battery storage compendium and have referenced your article here http://www.batterystorage.info/articles/2017/02/sunwiz-report-notes-6750-battery-installations-in-2016-up-from-500-in-2015/ as it provides much needed clarity about the extent of battery storage penetration in Australia.

  • Robert Thomas

    Distributed energy generation, energy freedom and self-reliance, residential solar PV and storage home energy solutions….https://enphase.com/en-us/products-and-services/solar-energy-systems