The United States needs energy storage to reach the carbon-free electricity goals necessary to curb the worst effects of climate change. Storage technologies make renewables dispatchable like fossil fuels, yet they’re still not in abundant use.
“We are seeing significant demand for solar paired with energy storage across the United States for use-cases such as firming, shaping, minimizing curtailment risk and enabling the solar to look more like baseload power,” said Josh Rogol, chief development officer at Strata Solar, in an email.
One reason adoption of storage hasn’t exploded yet is the lack of a federal tax credit to reduce the cost of deployment. Currently, storage must be paired with solar to receive an ITC. Further, a电池只能利用太阳能ITC如果至少有75%直接从光伏资产中收取，则与之配对五年。这意味着成对的电池不能执行许多额外的需求套利功能，他们的能力，以免他们失去国际贸易中心。
Morten Lund, partner at law firm Stoel Rives, said hybrid solar + storage facilities hamstring batteries.
“[Batteries] can do 100 different things, but if you can only charge from the solar system, you can only do really two or three or even just one. They basically become time-delay equipment and nothing else,” Lund said. “If you unbundle them, now you’re free to do full grid-support services from your battery, while also providing that time-shift service for the solar system.”
Those grid-support services include frequency regulation and voltage support, while many battery owners also want to take advantage of time-of-use rates and charging from the grid on poor solar harvest days.
“That’s been the biggest challenge. It doesn’t neatly fit into one of the categories as the rules have been outlined by both federal and state authorities,” Frigo said.
For the U.S. power grid to vastly increase clean energy on the grid, ample storage must be available to use clean power at all hours, not just when the sun is shining or wind is blowing.
Bernadette Del Chiaro, CEO of the California Solar + Storage Association, compared the status of storage now to where solar was in 2007-08 — enjoying slow and steady upward growth, but in need of long-term government programs like the ITC to increase the pace and reach climate goals. And just as importantly, federal support for solar could be a signal to the states to do their part to implement storage-friendly policies.
“It would be really a clear indication that this is something that the United States wants to really make happen, bring to scale and deploy throughout the country to help stabilize the electric grid and transition to clean energy,” Del Chiaro said. “What we need in order to bring that technology to scale is these types of long-term initiatives and incentives, government programs to give the industry and give consumers that assurance that this is a technology we want to invest in.”
Industry awaits new opportunities
Nexamp develops solar + storage projects and believes a storage ITC would open significant storage development opportunities, both with and without solar. The ITC cost savings for a company like Nexamp could be passed down to the end user, making for more affordable storage projects.
Standalone storage legislation would also offer Nexamp more flexibility in system design and grid-support functions.
“We would still pair it with solar, but you would design the system, perhaps, instead of having a DC-coupled project, you would have an AC-coupled project, where you’d be able to charge more from the grid,” Frigo said. “As a result, you might be able to offer more ancillary services than you would have been able to otherwise.”
The status of standalone storage legislation
In March, bipartisan congressmembersintroduced参众两院都通过了独立的储能税收抵免法案，总统拜登也发表了他的声明基础设施法案that also alludes to such a credit, but it’s still uncertain if these initiatives will pass. Until then, developers are left waiting.
While the standalone ITC is important to boost the nascent energy storage market, Del Chiaro said other policy initiatives are also key to growing storage in the country.
“You’re not going to be able to bring the economy of scale for storage on the back of an ITC alone. We need to have a suite of policies like what we had for solar to help bring this technology to market,” she said.
A standalone storage ITC would mostly assist developers of larger projects, according to Del Chiaro. Residential consumers will likely continue to want their storage paired with solar, so extending the solar ITC is crucial too.
Strata Solar’s Rogol said the most important policy change necessary to benefit storage is a universal tariff system that can compensate storage projects for all the benefits they provide to the grid.
“The storage market must be compensated for more than time-of-use arbitrage for all of its benefits to the grid to be unlocked,” he said. “So long as battery energy storage has a market signal that it can react to, it can provide a compelling economic case in many parts of the grid.”
“We need the full suite of policies to really make this technology pencil out for consumers, drive those prices down and create that mature market that we are starting to enjoy on the solar side,” Del Chiaro said.