Battery energy storage pairs well with solar power, says EIA data show – pv magazine USA


Of the storage capacity of the batteries scheduled for commissioning from 2021 to 2024, around two-thirds will be co-located with a solar power plant.

Of the 14.5 GW of battery storage capacity slated for commissioning in the United States from 2021 to 2024, about two-thirds will be co-located with a solar PV plant, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration. (EIA).

Another 1.3 GW of battery storage will be collocated at sites with wind turbines or fossil fuel generators, such as natural gas power plants. The remaining 4.0 GW of planned battery storage will be located at stand-alone sites.

Until now, most American battery systems have been located at stand-alone sites. Of the 1.5 GW of battery storage capacity in operation in the United States at the end of 2020, 71% were self-contained. The rest was located on site with other generators.

(Read “Strategies to Improve PV Value at Utility Scale Are at the Heart of Berkeley Lab Study.”)

The EIA said most of the stand-alone battery energy storage sites were planned or built in electricity markets governed by regional transport organizations (RTOs) and independent grid operators (ISOs). RTOs and ISOs can apply standard market rules that define revenue streams for energy storage projects in their regions. This, in turn, promotes the deployment of storage systems. Of the large-scale battery systems announced to go live from 2021 to 2024, 97% of the stand-alone battery capacity and 60% of the collocated battery capacity are in RTO / ISO regions, said the ‘EIA.

More than 90% of the battery storage capacity expected to be deployed outside of RTO and ISO regions will be co-located with a solar power plant, the EIA said. In some locations, batteries can be charged directly from the on-site solar generator when demand and prices for electricity are low. They then discharge electricity into the grid when the demand for electricity is higher or when solar production is not available, such as at night.

Solar generators in particular can be efficiently coupled with battery storage due to their relatively regular daily generation patterns. The EIA said this predictability works well with battery systems. This is because battery systems are limited in the length of time they can discharge their power capacity before needing to recharge. If paired with a wind turbine, for example, a battery system can take days before it has a chance to fully recharge.

Another benefit is the ability to take advantage of incentives such as the Federal Investment Tax Credit, available for solar projects.

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