PV storage 'set for boom'

The global market for PV storage units is set to explode over the next four years, going from less than $200m in 2012 to $19bn by 2017, according to market researcher IHS.

The boom will be fuelled initially by Germany, which is set to begin offering subsidies for PV storage from next month.

But Asia and the Americas will not be far behind in adopting the technology, IHS predicts. 

Storage – seen as the holy grail by many in the PV sector – remains expensive, due to the still uncompetitive cost of rechargeable batteries. But investors are pouring money into the sector, and costs are dropping quickly.

Germany accounted for 70% of the market last year, and will soon become the first country to subsidize storage on a national basis as it looks for ways to boost its grid stability.

With the subsidy in place, the lifetime cost of energy will be 10% cheaper with a storage system in Germany than with PV modules alone. 

By 2017 some 7GW of PV-storage capacity will be added on an annually basis – some 2GW at utility-scale plants, a segment that will be dominated by Asia and the Americas. 

The market will be worth $19bn a year by then, roughly half the market size for PV modules, according to IHS.