Following a year of analysis and detailed discussions with members, the UK’s Solar Trade Association (STA) has published its position paper on the interaction between solar and energy storage.
The paper is entitled “Solar + Storage Opportunities” and covers the very wide array of services that storage will increasingly provide to home owners, the networks and to utilities in the next few years. The STA chose to publish the paper shortly ahead of the Government call for evidence on ‘smart power’, given that storage forms an important part of the ‘smart’ tools available to grid managers, offering much greater flexibility and potentially saving consumers up to £8 billion by 2030, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
However, to unlock the ‘game-changer’ potential of storage, the Government needs to move quickly to address key regulatory, economic and market barriers. Product and installation standards are also essential to safeguard safety and quality.
The STA is urging the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to prioritise the resolution of regulatory barriers preventing fair treatment for storage within the power system. For example, there is no legal definition of storage in the UK or the EU leading to perverse treatment such as ‘double charging’ – where storage is changed for both importing and exporting power, despite the clear benefits it offers.
“Storage is a game-changer for power systems and consumers around the world” said Paul Barwell, CEO of the STA. “Other countries are providing stimulus to their storage industries but we believe the priority in the UK is to move quickly to lay the foundations for the development of a strong, safe and sustainable energy storage industry, at all scales. The costs of storage are moving rapidly downwards, and the economics could be compelling by the time fundamental regulatory & market barriers are resolved.”
STA Policy Manager David Pickup, author of the paper, added that at the domestic scale, the STA’s focus is on quality and safety for consumers, while at the larger scales the critical missing factor is the existence of marketplaces and services storage could fit into. If Government can unlock storage at all scales within a broader smart power agenda, the UK will benefit economically from both cheaper clean power and from the huge international market opening up in modern, smart power systems. Solar and storage are a match made in technology heaven but Government will not help the smart power agenda by stalling solar power through illogical tax treatment – extreme business rate hikes will hinder the commercial sector investors who are vital to delivery.
The Solar Trade Association, RenewableUK and the Electricity Storage Network are bringing together experts from their respective industries to share knowledge on the practicalities and opportunities of building renewable-linked storage projects. The first Masterclass will focus large-scale storage: with financiers, lawyers, developers and EPCs from a range of backgrounds sharing their expertise to help companies develop their own propositions further.