Australia is emerging as one of the key growth markets for energy storage with the number of storage installations increasing more than tenfold since the end of last year, according to research.
Analytics company IHS said that the Australian energy-storage market was on the rise as households turn to storage to avoid ever-increasing electricity tariffs. It said that at the end of last year there were fewer than 500 installations in Australia, but there are now more than 5,000 storage systems, with major storage suppliers competing for market share.
Australia is now in the top five markets for distributed energy storage in 2016, behind the United States, Japan, Germany and the UK, according to IHS.
It said that the number of “behind-the-meter” renewable energy residential and commercial storage installations is expected to double each year up to 2018, exceeding 200 megawatts (MW) of installed power, capable of storing 250 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity, compared with less than 3 MW at the end of last year.
Around 30,000 Australian households will have photovoltaic-energy storage systems by 2018, according to the latest market brief from the IHS Energy Storage Intelligence Service.
IHS said that Tesla’s launch of its Powerwall home battery, which charges using electricity generated from solar panels, has helped boost consumer demand for grid independence.
It noted that other international battery manufacturers and storage system providers were also moving into the growing residential solar-energy storage market in Australia.
Marianne Boust, principal analyst for IHS Technology, said that major international storage suppliers were now competing to grab market share in Australia.
“An intense competitive environment is emerging, linked to the rapid growth that this market offers,” Boust said.
IHS said that utilities were changing from battling the growth of solar-photovoltaic to actively distributing home-storage solutions that offered substantial growth opportunities in an otherwise flat or shrinking electricity market.
Boust highlighted Australian energy retailer AGL Energy Limited’s US$20 million investment in US-based energy storage and management company Sunverge Energy in February, calling it a “bold move”. AGL Energy said the investment was “to help accelerate the adoption of energy storage in the Australian market and to enhance its own storage-management capabilities”.
IHS provides market research to help identify short- and long-term opportunities across the energy-storage industry.