All Aboard The (Residential) Energy Storage Train!

While large energy storage projects have dominated the news, a smaller market has been gaining some serious momentum: residential storage.
Published: Thu 26 Nov 2015

Energy storage is fast becoming a home feature for those who want to optimise the value from their rooftop solar systems. Battery backup, aggregation and demand response seem to be the main reasons for purchasing storage solutions. We wrote recently about the energy storage boom in the residential sector in Australia [Australian Households To Lead the Energy Revolution]

Navigant Research has described the distributed energy storage system as an area of startling growth, with annual revenues expected to rise from $450 million last year to more than $16.5 billion in 2024. Their analysis shows that residential and commercial energy storage is set to exceed industry expectations for growth and market volume.

While high upfront costs have prevented many in the residential sector from purchasing batteries, new business models and leasing strategies, combined with the falling cost of storage are now creating new options for advanced home energy systems.

Partnerships around residential energy storage   

The biggest residential growth area currently is the pairing of solar systems with storage. This enables customers to store excess power and even potentially participate in demand response or grid services programs. 

The market certainly presents many opportunities and solar companies in the residential areas are creating offerings for the home with a combination of energy storage, electric-vehicle charging, and home energy management system applications.

Solar installer company SolarCity partnered with Tesla Motors to roll out a rooftop solar-battery combination. SolarCity offers a battery backup service that includes all permitting and installation. [Home Energy Storage Is Here]

The system uses Tesla's Powerwall, available in 10kWh and 7kWh capacities, and uses a "time of use energy-shifting algorithm."

Sungevity partnered with European storage provider Sonnenbatterie, to offer smart energy storage systems to its customers. The companies touted load shifting capabilities, sleek design and reliability, with Sungevity Chief Product Officer Peter Graf calling the battery storage modules "a compelling extension of our solar energy system."

New entrants to the market

Microinverter company Enphase Energy announced its energy storage offering about a year ago, a modular, plug-and-play system that would be fully integrated with the just-introduced Enphase Energy Management System. The Enphase AC battery will provide 1.2kWh of energy storage, is scalable and easy to install, and can be monitored with the company's software interface. Enphase in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission said it had inked a six-year deal with Japan's Eliiy Power to develop the batteries. The company is rolling out storage solutions to Australia, where it has a strong presence, as well as the United States next year.

ABB is also hungry for a piece of the market. The company recently unveiled its renewable energy accumulator and conversion technology (REACT), an energy storage system that enables homeowners and landlords to store any excess energy generated by their PV installation.

It consists of a 4.6kW or 3.6kWh single-phase ABB inverter and a lithium-ion battery providing 2kWh of usable energy. According to ABB, REACT has been designed for a long life-cycle with a ten year expected life of the battery. It can also be expanded, within the same product enclosure, by additional battery modules to store up to 6kWh of usage energy. Up to four onboard load management outputs are included as well as an auxiliary AC back-up output for off grid capability in case of a black out.  And, due to its integrated Ethernet port, remote or local monitoring is easily achieved without requiring any additional interfaces.

The product will be available for purchase in the UK as of next year.

With big players partnering and joining the so-called residential energy storage train, it’s a matter of time before the market explodes into a plethora of energy storage technologies at great prices.