George Sorin Ioan and Sam Witty for Zondits. May 7, 2015.
On April 30, Elon Musk announced that Tesla Energy will offer stationary energy storage built using lithium-ion (li-ion) technology. Given Tesla Energy’s projected production output, this will inevitably shake up the energy storage marketplace.
This begs the questions: how much li-ion storage capacity is already installed in the United States? How significant is this announcement?
According to the DOE Global Energy Storage Database, as of April 30, 2015, the total installed li-ion storage capacity is 255,255 kW. A total of nineteen states have incorporated li-ion batteries into the electric infrastructure for energy storage. Seven of the nineteen states have installed 96% of the total installed capacity. Figure 1 shows the distribution of installed capacity for these seven states, representing the vast majority of installed li-ion technology.
It seems that Tesla’s venture opens the door to huge growth potential in the li-ion energy storage market. The mass-produced li-ion battery could supplement the solar power systems installed by homeowners.
Last year, residential solar installations totaled approximately 1,200,000 kW, and some of the top US residential solar systems installers predict this year the installations will be approximately 2,400,400 kW.
If 10% of this year’s projected capacity of solar systems were equipped with li-ion batteries, it would translate into an additional storage capacity of 240,000 kW. This capacity addition will practically result in doubling the installed capacity of li-ion batteries. Figure 2 illustrates this potential change.
The new developments in the li-ion energy storage field will influence the energy storage market by enabling it to grow at a fast pace.