Reportedly, Germany has 35 GW of installed solar capacity and that could grow fairly soon to 52 GW. For the sake of comparison, the US has about 22 GW.
A new analysis states that Germany could surpass its current level of installed solar with no problems, providing that one condition is met. You might have guessed what it is: more energy storage. In fact, the report says Germany could have 150 GW of solar capacity with 40 GW of energy storage. We might expect that energy storage in Germany is entirely new and mostly a future-oriented technology. However, it has been documented that 15,000 German households already have PV-battery systems. One prediction has stated that there could 100,000 battery system installations per year by 2018.
If there are 300,000 German PV battery installations in the next ten years, how many GW is that?
“Scenarios with 150 or 200 gigawatts of photovoltaics in Germany, which were until recently considered by many utterly unrealistic, are technically and economically possible. Rather than focusing on electricity sales, energy businesses will need other products to serve customers who produce and store their own power,” explained Dr Patrick Graichen, director of Agora Energiewende.
One scenario that seems to be implied with the potential explosion of energy storage is the producing, storing and selling of electricity by homeowners.
If electricity markets can expand to allow homeowners to sell surplus electricity back to the grid, payback periods for PV and battery systems should be shortened. Clearly, if that could happen, the reduced payback time would be another incentive.
The rapid expansion of solar power in Germany was done to help the nation achieve of a goal of 80% renewable electricity by 2050. At the inception, it wasn’t clear that energy storage in the form of batteries would be available like it is now and going forward. So you could argue, the whole renewable energy transition was not entirely envisioned, but somehow the missing piece — energy storage — began to emerge.
Will there be a third major technological piece of the puzzle that will also begin to appear on the scene, as a response to the first two?
What might that be?
EVs might replace all fossil-fuel vehicles, but electric vehicles have been around for a long time.
Is there a new technology that we aren’t aware of yet that will be created in response to the renewables and energy storage combination?
Image Credit: ReneS at flickr