While a lot of the media attention about storage has gone to the large-scale projects undertaken in partnership with forward-looking utilities, a great deal of the expansion of the market comes from another source: Solar installers.
A large number of our partners are solar installers, so we weren’t surprised by this headline noting that the number of installers offering storage is set to grow dramatically this year. Storage is already offered by about a third of all installers because they understand it makes the most out of the solar generation capacity of the PVs they are selling – and has other significant advantages for their customers.
Most important is changing the payback equation for homeowners. As I’ve noted in a couple of recent posts, storage actually delivers about the same level of energy savings as solar, but for half the initial cost of PV. So if the cost recovery time for solar alone is 10 years, for example, adding storage reduces that to 7.5 years – a much more attractive proposition for installers to bring to the potential customer.
There are other great selling points for storage as well in the changing electric power environment. For one, intelligent storage that’s grid-enabled allows homeowners to take advantage of off-peak pricing and charge the battery with the cheapest grid power when needed. Then, the battery can be used to supplement solar, store extra solar, or use off-peak grid energy, under software control to maximize customer savings.
Just as important, the Sunverge SIS can provide backup power when the grid is down – a level of reliability that provides peace of mind that solar alone can’t.
Storage is more than just an attractive pitch to the customer, though. To me, it is the key to supporting the growth of business for installers in the face of new tariff structures and regulatory models. Adding storage into the mix creates a powerful economic case for customers and promises job growth.