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Energy storage deployments had a record fourth quarter

The United States set a new record for energy storage deployments in the fourth quarter, according to the just released U.S. Energy Storage Monitor from Wood Mackenzie and the U.S. Energy Storage Association.

A total of 2,156 megawatt-hours (MWh) of new energy storage capacity came online in fourth-quarter 2020, a 182 percent increase from third-quarter 2020, and a new quarterly record, according to the report’s authors.

Energy storage deployments also set a record in the fourth quarter in terms of power rating, that is, how much power can flow in or out of a battery at any instant.

Energy storage deployments reached 651.2 megawatts (MW), a 37 percent increase from third-quarter 2020 to fourth-quarter 2020, and 3.5 times increase from fourth-quarter 2019.

The report attributed most of the increase to two storage projects in California installed as four-hour capacity resources and totaling 400 MW.

The authors of the report also noted the prominent role front-of-the-meter (FTM) projects had in the surge in energy storage deployments. Four out of every five megawatts deployed in the fourth quarter were in front of the meter, contributing 529 MW out of the 651 MW of deployed in the quarter, they said.

Residential storage deployments also had a strong showing, with 90.1 MW installed in the fourth quarter, setting a new quarterly record and representing a 73 percent increase over the previous quarter. Residential deployments accounted for 14 percent of the storage projects deployed in the fourth quarter. The rise in residential storage deployments was driven in large part by homeowner interest in California, the report’s authors said.

The non-residential storage sector is growing more slowly, however, deploying only 76.5 MW in the fourth quarter, a 13 percent increase from the previous quarter. The relatively weaker showing of non-residential installations was partly the result of a project slowdown as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, the report said.

“The data truly speaks for itself,” Dan Finn-Foley, head of energy storage at Wood Mackenzie, said in a statement. “The US installed 3,115 MWh of storage from 2013 through 2019, a total that 2020 beat in a single year. This is the hallmark of a market beginning to accelerate exponentially, and momentum will only increase over the coming years,” he said.

For the full year, a total of 1,464 MW, 3,487 MWh of new energy storage projects came online in 2020, a 179 percent increase in megawatt terms over storage additions in 2019.

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,” Chloe Holden, Wood Mackenzie research analyst, said in a statement.

Looking ahead, the report’s authors expect the U.S. energy storage market will add five times more megawatts of storage in 2025 than was added in 2020, with FTM storage continuing to contribute between 75 percent and 85 percent of the new additions each year.

“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,” Jason Burwen, U.S. Energy Storage Association’s Interim CEO, said in a statement.