Germany first to offer PV storage subsidy

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The worldwide market for PV storage is forecast to grow rapidly to reach $19 billion in 2017, from less than $200 million in 2012, according to IMS Research, a part of IHS.

Global installations of PV storage systems are forecast to grow by more than 100 percent a year on average over the next five years, reaching nearly 7 GW in 2017. Germany will account for nearly 70 percent of storage installed in residential PV systems worldwide in 2013 following the introduction of an energy storage subsidy in Germany. However, opportunities also will exist in other regions and applications in the future and Germany's share of the global market will naturally fall as a result.

Germany's long-awaited PV storage subsidy launches on May 1st and is predicted to promote rapid growth in the German residential sector, resulting in almost 2 GWh of effective storage capacity installed over the next five years.

"Because domestic electricity rates now significantly exceed residential feed-in tariff rates, there is strong interest in increasing self-consumption in residential PV systems to maximize the financial return of the system," said Sam Wilkinson, a PV analyst at IHS. "As a result, eight megawatts of PV systems were already installed with storage in Germany in 2012, prior to the subsidy being released. The introduction of the widely anticipated subsidy will quickly accelerate uptake by making the lifetime cost of PV systems with storage cheaper compared to those without it."

The subsidy is expected to reduce the average 20-year cost of a PV system with storage to 10 percent less than a system without it. As the first country to introduce a subsidy for PV storage, Germany will inspire other countries to follow suit, if the subsidy program proves successful.

"We do expect that other countries will follow Germany's example and adopt similar subsidy schemes to promote the use of PV energy storage -- particularly where there is a case for promoting self-consumption and grid stability," Wilkinson said. "Even without subsidies though, storage can be an attractive proposition in conjunction with residential PV systems in some markets, such as the U.K., where the market is forecast to begin growing quickly in 2014, when the price of batteries is predicted to have fallen sufficiently to make PV storage financially viable."

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