Situated at the edge of the power grid, either at the distribution transformer or at the customer premise, community and residential energy storage (CRES) systems are typically much smaller than utility-scale or bulk energy storage systems. Currently, utilities, vendors, and governments are testing CRES systems for the purposes of smoothing peaks in electricity demand, enabling voltage support and frequency regulation, and providing islanding capabilities. Although the CRES sector is still nascent, market conditions, technology capabilities, and economics are beginning to align in a way that points to significant growth opportunities over the coming decade. The expansion of distributed solar photovoltaics capacity, the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles, and the spread of dynamic pricing programs will all be key drivers in the growth of such distributed energy storage systems.
According to a new report from Pike Research, total worldwide installed capacity for community and residential energy storage systems will reach 780 megawatts by 2022, with an annual market value of $872 million. Cumulative investment in CRES systems over the same period will total $4.2 billion, the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts.“Community and residential storage is one of the newest and least understood application areas for energy storage systems,” says research analyst Anissa Dehamna. “As yet, the market is still in the technical demonstration phase, and for the most part, vendors are still in the process of developing products specifically for community and residential applications. The implication for the CRES market is that purpose-built technologies are not likely to be commercialized in the next two years.”
The leading technology in the CRES sector in the coming decade will be lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries. Li-ion is already the leader in terms of utility demonstration projects, and it also enjoys strong levels of commitment among a significant number of vendors active in the energy storage space. Interest in advanced flow battery and advanced lead-acid battery technologies is on the rise, but it remains to be seen whether the greatest inroads for these other technologies will be in grid-tied applications, such as CRES, or in off-grid power applications, such as village power, remote mobile telecommunications, and remote power for energy and mining activities.