A Look at Global Large-scale Solar-plus-storage Project Plans in 2019

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After the 2017 launch of Tesla’s 100MW/129MWh battery energy storage project in Australia, the global energy storage market saw a new large-scale battery storage project appear nearly each month throughout 2018.  According to CNESA statistics, globally, there were 57 individual projects exceeding 50MW either newly operational, under construction, or planned in 2018.  These 57 projects equaled a total capacity of 7.6GW, or 58% of the global total of newly added energy storage capacity in 2018.  Geographically, these projects were largely concentrated in South Korea, the United States, Australia, and China.

In 2019, the “race” to deploy large-scale battery energy storage projects has continued.  Many of these projects have consisted of solar-plus-storage applications.  According to CNESA Global Energy Storage Database statistics, in the first half of 2019, there were 10 newly added solar-plus-storage projects (including operational, under construction, and planned) of size 50MW or greater globally. The capacity of these 10 projects totaled 2.3GW, equaling 83% of the newly added global solar-plus-storage capacity in the first half of 2019.

As of this writing, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s plan for 920MW of energy storage is the world’s largest solar-plus-storage plan in terms of power (MW), while the United States Bureau of Land Management’s 531MW/2125MWh solar-plus-storage project plan is the largest in terms of energy (MWh).  The majority of large-scale solar-plus-storage projects currently planned are set to be operational by 2021-2023.  Should all these projects be completed on schedule, the global energy storage market will be set for massive capacity growth over the next 2-5 years.

From January to June 2019, notable large new solar-plus-storage projects included the following:

Data source: CNESA Global Energy Storage Project Tracking Database, 2019.H1

Data source: CNESA Global Energy Storage Project Tracking Database, 2019.H1

In recent years, with the costs for solar-plus-storage project development dropping, many utility companies have begun to incorporate energy storage systems into their generation capacity.  Since 2012, battery energy storage costs have dropped 76%, increasing the feasibility of renewables-plus-storage, particularly solar-plus-storage.  The combination of battery storage with solar power or wind power can greatly increase the reliability and flexibility of the power source, even to the point in which they can begin to compete with traditional coal and natural gas generators.  One such example is the above FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center, which is intended to replace two aging gas-fired stations as part of a larger renewable energy development goal.

Solar-plus-storage projects have also caught the attention of countries and regions where natural disasters and/or weak power grids are a significant concern.  The above Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority solar-plus-storage plan is intended to be used not only to replace aging natural gas stations and diesel generators, but will also help lower mitigate the risk of power blackouts caused by tropical storms, improving the resilience and reliability of the power supply.

Author: CNESA Research
Translation: George Dudley