Germany could have 150GW of PV if linked to storage - Agora

Germany’s electricity system could cope with 150GW of solar power - four times as much as currently installed - if PV plants were to be linked to battery storage systems, a new study by the Agora Energiewende think tank finds.

“Scenarios with 150 or 200GW photovoltaics in Germany that had been deemed completely unrealistic until recently are technologically and economically feasible,” says Agora director Patrick Graichen.

“For the energy sector this means not to give priority to the sale of electricity as much anymore, but rather to become a partner of clients with other products that themselves can produce and store solar power.”

Graichen stressed energy policy should prepare for a possible boom in solar power plus storage combinations by establishing a legal and technical framework to link the new technology to the power system as a whole.

That includes verifying in how far the success of solar storage systems may make the construction of further high-voltage power lines redundant from 2025 on.

The study expects rapidly falling prices for both PV power production and storage.

It calculates that current PV production costs of about €0.1 ($0.11) per kilowatt hour will fall to €0.05 per kWh, while those of the cost for electricity from storage systems could tumble from some €0.2 per kWh to also €0.05/kWh, if the lower limit for expected storage costs by new systems such as Tesla’s Powerwall is considered.

Agora sees a potential of 40GW for household-based storage in Germany, and a further 125GW for batteries in electronic vehicles. That compares to a current power storage capacity of 7GW from German hydro pump storage plants.