Is there a chance PV storage will replace so popular net metering?
Why there’s need for storage?
PV generation peaks in the midday/early afternoon and homeowners’ load peaks in the late afternoon/evening. When Tesla launched its new residential battery, the Powerwall, with the cost of approximately $350/kWh (projected to reach $200/kWh by 2020), the topic of residential solar storage became trendy again.
Tesla’s emphasis on ability to time-shift solar generation to hours of peak demand made people wonder if residential solar storage storage will replace net-metering or cause off-grid systems become more popular.
Net-metering can be more rentable
In some countries, where net-metering is allowed, it is not clear how it could can be replaced by residential solar storage systems since net-metering itself is treating electrical grid as a battery. Benefits of traditional storage are limited in this case. However, in the places where net-metering is not allowed or there are additional fees to be paid, cheap energy storage might be a great solution.
According to Steven Bushong’s article in Solar Power World, there are some places where net-metering has been allowed for many years and utilities started delay new interconnections. This caused adapting PV systems to house energy demand level so that almost no energy excess is produced. This is also a potential market for residential solar storage.
Energy rates structure
What’s more, the economics of PV modules combined with storage highly depends on energy rates structure. Energy storage would make sense when there is a large difference between peak and off-peak hours rates. Nevertheless, the vast majority of residential utility customers are not on such rate structures or utility doesn’t give them this option. In the case, time-of-use rates change more for electricity during the day than at night, there will be a trade-off between a larger PV and larger battery system.
Rate structures will, therefore determine the future of distributed residential solar storage in the future.
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Source: Solar Power World, Steven Bushong