Energy-Storage Installations Hit Peak In Early 2017

The first quarter of 2017 saw a record for the energy-storage-installation market, with 234 megawatt-hours (MWh) installed in the United States. While Q1 was the biggest ever for such installations, this quarter may represent a peak the industry doesn’t reach again for a little while.

According to the U.S. Energy Storage Monitor, a quarterly report released by GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association, Q1 was a massive improvement over the first quarter of 2016. The 234 MWh installed represent a 944 percent increase compared to the same quarter last year. This includes a deployment of 71 megawatts (MW) of storage projects in the quarter, which is a 276 percent increase over 2016. This is the second-highest MW number the report has shown since it began in 2013; the only quarter to beat it is the fourth quarter of 2016.

For researchers, these numbers represent a growing commitment to energy storage.

“The shift from short-duration projects to medium- and long-duration projects in the utility-scale market, along with the surge of deployments geared to offset the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak [are responsible for this growth],” said Ravi Manghano, director of energy storage, GTM Research.

The Aliso Canyon gas leak started in 2015 in Los Angeles, and it was extensive enough to warrant a state of emergency issued by Gov. Jerry Brown. After the leak, the California Public Utilities Commission approved the installation of 104.5 MW of battery-based storage systems.

While projects of this scale help the industry, there aren’t many more like them coming in the immediate future. As a result, the rest of 2017 will probably be quieter on the energy-storage-installation front.

Most large projects can be found in California and Hawaii, with the former in particular remaining a “powerhouse,” according to the report. However, in Arizona, Tucson Electric Power recently signed a power purchase agreement for a solar-plus-storage project that will include a 30 MW, 120 MWh energy-storage facility.

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