Decentralized residential battery storage systems owned by private end customers are controversially discussed worldwide. Professionals discuss at international conferences the benefits of such solutions, saying that as of today there is no business case which delivers economic viability- without subsidy programmes- or they propose other solutions which offer higher benefits. Despite the discussion, the market already offers a variety of storage solutions which seem to be well accepted by the end-customer. How to explain such a contrast?
Photovoltaics as a success story
The development of photovoltaics often serves as an example for the anticipated development of the storage market: PV started as cost intensive technology in niche markets and is today, without doubt, in many cases competitive with conventional generation. Suitable publicly funded incentive programs such as feed-in tariffs (FiTs) or tax privileges have allowed for economy of scale in the PV sector, leading to extreme cost reduction. Particularly, residential systems were and still are one of the pillars for the sustainable growth of PV. The transformation of power systems towards decentralized, renewable-based and sustainable models needs suitable instruments to face the volatile nature of several renewable sources. Therefore, storage seems to be a “natural” complement to decentralized PV systems. Residential privately owned storage systems could be a success story, especially as private purchasers’ decisions often follow their own principles, despite political or other obstacles.
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Volker Wachenfeld (guest author)
Volker is executive vice president for offgrid and energy storage integration at SMA, headquartered in Germany. Volker is operating q couple of smaller PV system on his private home and – of course – one of SMA’s home energy storage system.