Global Information Inc. would like to present a new market research report, "Solar Storage 2013" by NanoMarkets.
The report forecasts revenues from batteries and supercapacitors for solar energy storage will reach almost $2 billion (USD) in revenues by 2018.
Despite the considerable technological innovation expected in energy storage, traditional lead-acid batteries will be the main revenue generator for solar energy storage over the next decade, accounting for more than $950 million in revenues in 2018. They are readily available and low cost, yet have poor lifetimes and are becoming commoditized products. Lead-carbon technology will improve the margins on this type of battery and will be used in solar farms and solar-based microgrid and will generate another $135 million by 2018.
There is also a growing level of interest in the use of lithium batteries in the solar sector and sales of these batteries are expected to generate $235 million by 2018. Lithium batteries are already being sold for residential and solar-power microgrid applications in the U.S. and in Germany. And in the next few years, Chinese solar energy storage firms seem likely to focus on lithium batteries given that China is a major source of lithium. Nonetheless, NanoMarkets believes that the future of lithium batteries will depend heavily on continued government R&D subsidies. Otherwise in most countries, lithium batteries are likely to remain too expensive for solar applications.
Feed-in tariffs are declining in key geographies giving PV users an incentive to store the energy they produce. Battery suppliers are therefore expecting the market for batteries for residential PV users to explode and are designing specialized systems to meet the demand. Meanwhile in California, utilities are facing regulatory requirements to include storage in new facilities. Similar regulations may come into force in Germany. NanoMarkets expects such regulatory requirements to produce new demand for the latest battery technologies for utility-scale PV and thermal solar facilities; above the storage at solar utilities that would be required just to maintain grid stability.