Looking Back on 2019: Energy Storage Recap

by Anna Gretz
December 18, 2019
Home Battery

2019 was a big year for residential energy storage.

It was a big year for all energy storage, really. The growth of batteries was slow and steady at the beginning of the decade, but as prices fell and the technology proved itself, sales ramped up like crazy in the latter half. There were a lot of big moments to fill up our energy storage scrapbook. Let’s reminisce together…

Batteries Shine During California Outages 

This memory might still be a little raw. Wildfires in California cause unprecedented blackouts this fall, leaving many Californians in the dark. But for homeowners with solar + storage, batteries kept the lights on. 

Richard Schuh, an architect in Northern California, is a great example. In 2017, he and his wife experienced three weeks of outages due to a wildfire. He wasn’t going to let that happen again. The thing was, the Schuh’s already had solar panels… but when the grid goes down, they go down with it. 

"We had solar the whole time, but the solar was shut down because it's connected to the grid. So we weren't able to use that even though it was still generating power." Schuh and his wife were incredibly frustrated. Here was a wealth of power at their fingertips that they couldn't access.

That’s when they installed their own home battery, creating their own, reliable power plant on their own property. Now, when the grid goes down, they barely notice. 

Solar Is Now

Tesla Powerwall Growth Worldwide

The Tesla Powerwall and Powerpack rank high when it comes to home battery technology, and deployments were at an all-time high this year. Just halfway through 2019, the company reported that they were already installed in more than 50,000 sites. Powerwalls were a popular choice for Californians facing the widespread outages listed above, but Tesla Powerwall sales weren’t just constrained to the US. 

South Africa’s power grid has been in a crisis of its own. Many residents have faced extended, unplanned outages due to load-shedding, in an effort to reduce strain on the grid. The power failures took a toll on homeowners, and many fought back with the installation of a Powerwall home battery. Powerwalls cropped up all over South Africa, to the relief of many frustrated residents. 

GTM’s Energy Storage Summit 2019

Few battery-focused events create as much buzz as Greentech Media’s Energy Storage Summit. Its fifth year didn’t disappoint. Utilities, regulators, software innovators, and system integrators gathered together to share the latest and greatest in energy storage technology and philosophy. 

Speakers and panelists ranged from analysts to CEOs, describing energy storage as a “Game-Changer” for today’s grid. Attendees got to hear about the great results storage installations have shown thus far, as well as plans for the coming year and beyond. 

Stephen Lacey and Julian Spector of Greentech Media joined forces to share the hottest storage stories of all time--if we can find a link to that epic podcast, we’ll be sure to share it here. 

Californians Enjoy Unprecedented Battery Incentives

One of our favorite stories of the year covered the incredible battery incentives California extended to its residents. This fall, California lawmakers passed the first subsidy ever to gt batteries into the homes affected by fire-related outages. The California Public Utilities Commission put aside $100 million for the project, providing potentially life-saving power for vulnerable residents. 

The Preferred Resource Pilot program (PRP) in California also continued to dish out resources to support energy efficiency and energy storage in California. 

And things are just getting started 

You think the force is strong with energy storage now? Wait until you hear about the projected growth of batteries. 

Records are being made almost every quarter in the energy storage world, and the forecast shows that this is just the beginning. Wood Mackenzie projects 430 MW of energy storage will be connected before the end of the year (that’s growth of 38% over 2018). Next year? We’re looking at a 300% jump. 

California is leading residential deployments (according to 2019’s Q3 numbers), and we can’t help but be proud. But there’s still work to do, and we’re excited to do it. We can’t wait to keep shattering records.