Graph of the Day: Commercial solar storage tipped to boom

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Commercial PV storage to become the largest player in the market, with projections suggesting it will grow by a factor of 700 by 2017.

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There has been no shortage of big talk about the huge, and as-yet untapped potential of the global solar energy storage market, mostly revolving around growth in the residential and utility-scale PV sectors. But this week, a new report by energy analysts IHS has predicted that commercial PV storage will become the largest player in the market, with projections suggesting it will grow by a factor of 700 by 2017.

Currently the smallest market segment at just 3.2MW, commercial storage is due to mushroom to almost 2.3GW by 2017 – from 5 per cent of the market to 40 per cent in five years – according to the IHS report ‘The Role of Energy Storage in the PV Industry’.

Commercial_PV_Storage-600x0IHS sees this growth being driven by a combination of rising electricity prices, as well as rising demand among businesses for back-up power in areas where grid supplies are unreliable.

And it sees North America and Asia leading the charge; with businesses in America accounting for around 40 per cent of commercial-scale PV storage installations by 2017, and Japan emerging as a key market in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

“Just last year, commercial was the smallest market for PV storage systems, far behind the residential and utility-scale segments,” said Abigail Ward, PV analyst at IHS.

“However, facing rising energy prices and the growing need for backup power supplies, commercial enterprises are turning to PV storage solutions that work in concert with their solar-power systems. This will allow commercial to surge past residential and utility to become the largest market for PV storage in just four years.”

But the report said the growth of commercial energy storage was now constrained by the small number of suppliers for the market segment.

“At present, many of the suppliers active in the PV storage business are targeting the residential PV market, where systems are largely being installed to increase the on-site self-consumption of a PV system owner,” Ward said.

“However, installations in the commercial PV sector potentially can reach the point of payback much more quickly than those in the residential area. This will encourage many PV storage suppliers to enter the business in the coming years.”

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