Solar and wind energy are becoming increasingly affordable and are already displacing fossil fuels. Many current studies confirm the rapid pace of development, including the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) update provided just recently in November by Bloomberg NEF analysts. Every six months, this report takes a closer look at changes in electricity production costs for the most significant energy sources and battery storage systems. The results showed that photovoltaics and wind power became the most cost-efficient energy sources in all of the world’s leading economies except Japan in the second half of 2018. Even in China and India – where coal had long remained the cheapest source of energy – photovoltaics and wind power have now pulled ahead. Internationally, more than 120 billion US dollars are now being invested in photovoltaics each year. Ambitious expansion goals are fueling further progress in many countries throughout the world. Spain, for example, has set the goal of switching over to 100 percent renewables by 2050.
Falling prices are driving markets
The upward trend in photovoltaics is accompanied by a growing energy storage market, which is also benefiting from falling prices. By 2040, according to current figures from Bloomberg NEF’s annual forecast, the decrease in battery storage costs will prompt investments of 620 billion US dollars and the worldwide energy storage market will grow to a total of 942 gigawatts (GW), or 2,857 gigawatt hours (GWh). Based on the price reductions of the last few years, the report predicts that the price of large-scale storage systems will sink by a further 52 percent by 2030.
For industry and investors, this will bring about profitable options for combining PV power plants and storage systems. Numerous projects throughout the world serve as proof that these options pay off, as do current investment products such as fixed-rate bonds, which generate revenue enabling the implementation of large-scale storage systems.
Large-scale storage systems combined with PV power plants – exciting projects worldwide
Particularly topical is the first municipal battery storage project in the UK, which was recently introduced in the county of West Sussex. German battery storage system manufacturer Tesvolt supplied the Westhampnett solar farm with a 4.4 MW high-voltage storage system, which will work together with the 7.4 MW solar farm to stabilize the power grid. The project is run by the county council, which has drawn up a business model based on grid services – since, according to the decision-makers, the system is one of the first in the UK built with a battery storage system and without state funding.
The Italian electricity supplier Edison has also recently introduced a 500 kW/822 kWh storage solution coupled with photovoltaic technology in the south of the country. Edison says that the project will help to extend the availability of solar power over time and at the same time check if other grid services are suited for such storage systems. Also this year, Chinese battery and automobile manufacturer BYD put its first energy storage project into operation on the Polish market. The 1.26 MW/2.52 MWh lithium-ion system is coupled with a 1 MW PV power plant and serves to balance out peak loads and stabilize the grid.
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