AGL Energy says it will offer battery storage systems to customers by the end of the year in yet another sign that competitively priced energy storage is not as far away as some imagine.
Marc England, the head of the newly created New Energy divisions within AGL, says battery storage is coming soon, and by the early 2020s will become a “mass market”.
“We will have storage in the market this year for customers who would like it,” he told RenewEconomy in an interview.
AGL has yet to decide whether, or when, battery storage may be included in the solar power purchase agreement packages it rolled out on Thursday. Initially, England said, the target market for battery storage would be “early adopters”.
Battery storage is becoming an increasingly valid option for households and businesses who want to use more of the electricity they generate from their rooftop solar panels, rather than sending it back to the grid.
The nature of feed-in tariffs, and changes to the fixed component of network costs, are likely to encourage more households to adopt battery storage, network operators admit.
England says that battery storage will become a mass market by the early 2020s, suggesting that it will evolve just as rapidly, perhaps more so, than rooftop solar.
“There are lots of forecasts out there – our view is that for time being they will be niche products, there will be early adopters that want them (battery storage).
“It will be the early 2020s before it is a mass market. AGL wants to be at the front of that curve so we are looking at a number of storage solutions – what their products are, and how they fit in to market.”
England said AGL’s Smart Solar Plan, announced on Thursday, would mean customers pay for the energy produced, rather than the panels.
AGL would guarantee a certain output from the panels, and would make top-up payments if it fell short, and a $100 penalty. Tariffs would be scaled depending on the length of the PPA, and whether the customer was signed up to AGL.