As households turn to storage to avoid ever increasing electricity tariffs, the Australian energy storage market is on the rise, going from less than 500 installations at the end of 2015 to more than 5,000 systems in 2016.
This increase now places Australia in the top five markets for distributed energy storage in 2016, behind the United States, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom, according to IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), the leading global source of critical information and insight.
Between 2016 and 2018, Australia's residential and commercial annual energy storage additions are expected to double each year. From less than 3 MW installed at the end of 2015, the distributed energy storage market will reach over 200 MW of installed power capable of storing 250 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity. Approximately 30,000 Australian households will have PV-energy storage systems by 2018, according to the latest market brief from the IHS Energy Storage Intelligence Service.
“Major international storage suppliers are now competing to grab market share in Australia,” said Marianne Boust, principal analyst for IHS Technology. “In particular, U.S.-based Tesla has ambitious plans, signing several partnership agreements with well-known solar retailers and established utilities; however, Sunverge, LG Chem and other suppliers are also vying for a leading position in this market..”
Tesla's launch of its Powerwall home battery with a far-reaching marketing campaign has helped unlock consumer demand for grid independence, but many other international battery manufacturers and storage system providers are also moving into the growing residential solar-energy storage market in Australia. “An intense competitive environment is emerging, linked to the rapid growth that this market offers,” Boust said.
With growth rising, utilities that have long battled solar-PV growth are now shifting gears to distribute home-based storage solutions. In recent years Australian energy retailers Origin Energy, Energy Australia and AGL suffered from flat or shrinking electricity sales, high churn rates, and lack of visibility in the regulatory framework in the energy sector; however, solar and energy storage now offers substantial growth opportunities for these companies.
“In a bold move, Australian energy retailer AGL just announced it had acquired a minority stake in U.S. storage vendor Sunverge and is now the exclusive channel partner for sales of Sunverge's energy storage systems in Australia,” Boust said.