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Record breaking quarter marks milestone for US energy storage deployment

Fri, 03/12/2021 - 09:51 -- Paul Crompton

Front-of-meter energy storage deployment in the US skyrocketed in the last quarter of 2020, according to a report by Wood Mackenzie and the U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA).

The US deployed a total of 2.1GWh of energy storage systems (ESS) during the final three months of last year, according to the latest ‘US Energy Storage Monitor’ report.

The rise signified an increase of 182% from the previous quarter, making Q4 the new record quarter for US storage.

The rise in front-of-meter (FOM) storage deployment was so dramatic that it accounted for four out of every five megawatts deployed in the last quarter— with California witnessing the lion’s share of Q4 FOM deployments, according to the report.

In total, 1,464 MW/3,487MWh of new storage came online in the US last year compared to 2019, which marked a 179% rise in deployment in MW terms. The report notes the US storage market is predicted to increase five fold, in terms of MW deployment, in 2025 compared to last year. FOM storage is expected to contribute between 75-85% of new MW each year.

Jason Burwen, U.S. Energy Storage Association interim CEO, said: “2020 is the first year that advanced energy storage deployments surpassed gigawatt scale – a tremendous milestone on the path to our aspiration of 100 GW by 2030.

“With continuing storage cost declines and growing policy support and regulatory reform in states and the federal government, energy storage is on an accelerating trajectory to enable a resilient, decarbonised, and affordable electric grid for all.”

Following gradual growth in residential ESS deployments over the first three quarters of 2020, the last quarter saw a notable spike in deployment with 90.1MW deployed; residential storage projects made up 14% of the MW total for Q4. 

California contributed most residential storage deployments in 2020 and Hawaii was also a very active market, while states in the Northeast, the Midwest, the mid-Atlantic and the Southeast are forecast to see growth over the next few years.

Chloe Holden, Wood Mackenzie research analyst, said: “Battery backup is already becoming somewhat of a contested concept in the industry, as it can have different meanings depending on the installer or vendor. But the ability of solar-plus-storage to provide backup is increasingly driving sales even in markets without additional incentives, particularly states that suffer from regular power outages. 

"We expect an uptick in home battery sales in Texas in the aftermath of February’s devastating outages.”

Massachusetts led the non-residential segment in Q4 with 76.5MWh of deployed storage during the quarter. The segment is growing more slowly than the others, according to the report.

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