Energy storage is a hot topic these days. While not a lot of it is needed to create a renewable energy–focused grid, a bit of it certainly is. Still a very nascent industry, research and development is going on at a frantic pace. A lot of researchers and firms are trying to “crack the energy storage code” in order to dominate what will become a pretty massive market in the years and decades to come. Intersolar North America, a leading solar trade show, has decided to put more focus on storage this year. Here’s a full statement from intersolar (released yesterday, April 23):
Intersolar North America, the most attended industry exhibition and conference in North America for solar professionals to exchange information and develop business opportunities in the U.S. solar market, will unveil a special exhibition segment dedicated to energy storage at this year’s event. The exhibit will address the latest developments in energy storage technology and policy, and tap industry experts’ predictions for the strongest growth markets.
The U.S. solar market is projected to add approximately 3.9 GW of new solar capacity in 2013, according to EuPD Research, and commercialized energy storage solutions will play a pivotal role in ensuring the market’s continued growth. As solar power becomes more and more cost competitive, investors, utilities and power producers are looking to incorporate energy storage into plant design. In the U.S. alone, the grid storage market could reach 4 GW by 2016. Recently, the California Public Utilities Commission set a procurement target of 50 MW of storage by 2021 for Southern California Edison, one of the state’s largest utilities, and is working to set procurement targets across the state as part of the goals of California Assembly Bill 2514.
Additionally, a public-private initiative launched in the United States in March will encourage the development of cheaper, more powerful batteries for energy storage systems and electric vehicles. The Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) was started by the Department of Energy and includes major U.S. research universities. It will receive an award of up to $120 million to develop new technologies, providing further proof that the energy storage market in the United States is expanding rapidly and attracting the attention of investors, government research centers and agencies, and utilities, among others.