Abe Issa, a world-renown solar energy expert, talks about the energy storage industry and the extensive upcoming changes. In today’s solar energy world, Issa has a unique perspective on the importance of renewable energy and energy storage. He views energy storage technologies as vital to sustainable ecology and a healthy environment.
An innovator with a background in clean energy, Abe Issa’s drive for change led him to start his company in the field of renewable energy. Today, he’s considered one of the pioneers of the renewable energy industry. Issa believes that energy storage is a vital part of a healthy, sustainable environment, and he talks about some of the significant changes coming.
According to Abe Issa, battery storage is a boom in the making. He says the technology is making it possible to build grid-scale battery energy storage systems. These systems can help prevent blackouts and major grid outages and are particularly useful for balancing the system. They are an excellent investment opportunity for businesses. The downside is that battery storage costs are high, but prices are dropping fast, he says.
“If energy storage can help reduce the environmental impact of conventional energy sources and disposable batteries,” Issa explains, it could also help reduce the environmental impact of heating and cooling. Issa says battery storage could be ready for mass production within the next 10 years. Abe Issa says the global energy storage market is expected to reach 358 gigawatts by 2030. By 2030, residential installations will account for one-quarter of the total. He predicts lithium-ion batteries will dominate the market, but says non-battery technologies are also under development.
Issa says that by 2050, global energy storage installations will grow nearly fourfold. He maintains that the global market will account for more than seven times the capacity of today. This is a massive increase, and Issa believes the 2020s may be the most energy-storage-rich decade yet.
Abe Issa believes changes will primarily drive energy storage deployments to electricity markets. As more storage projects are developed, the design of the power markets will have to change. For example, Abe says, “the grid design will need to change to enable storage assets to bid for power days before the demand for power rises.” Additionally, new technologies will make the storage industry more reliable and cost-effective.
“While there are still challenges, the future of energy storage is bright,” he states. “With global energy demand forecasts on the rise, battery storage will be a critical technology for the future of the energy industry. It will help utilities meet future demands and make them more competitive.” In addition, he says, it will help them avoid energy costs and emissions.
Residential energy storage will account for one-quarter of all residential installations.
Abe Issa says that the residential storage market is also growing rapidly. He quotes the year-over-year growth is 20%, while the quarter-over-quarter change is 49%. Issa explains this growth is expected to continue through 2030, with the market dominated by utility-scale projects and front-of-meter installations. He is confident the United States will remain the leader in residential storage, but growth will also be driven by growth in Asia Pacific.
One of the primary reasons residential customers opt for energy storage is grid resilience, Abe Issa says. With natural disasters increasingly affecting the U.S., grid resilience is becoming more of an issue. Storage provides a backup energy source if power plants are offline. He explains that keeping backup power on hand during power outages is an excellent option for households looking to save money.
In addition to the demand for residential energy storage, Abe Issa says the market is also benefiting from other factors, such as better quality of power and a longer lifespan for appliances. Residential energy storage will also help the grid by protecting it from voltage spikes, he adds. However, this technology is still in its early stages and will need to prove its reliability and scalability over the next several years.
While battery storage is the most popular option for storing renewable energy, Abe Issa says other technologies could provide more long-term storage. He adds that cost projections for these technologies are becoming available, and they are expected to garner more attention in the coming year.
Despite the current challenges, Abe Issa strongly believes energy storage technologies have bright prospects. He says they can store extra energy during peak hours and provide power close to where it is needed. For example, big batteries can be installed next to a utility transformer to supply energy locally even when power plants have a tough day.
Issa says that buying an energy storage device is an excellent way to increase the savings of solar energy. It acts like an insurance policy, ensuring you’ll still have electricity when the sun doesn’t shine. He agrees that it will help you save money on electricity bills, and having that storage will also prevent you from paying more than you have to.
Another benefit of energy storage, he adds, is the ability to use electricity at different times. This means you won’t have to pay expensive peak demand rates. Abe Issa says solar storage also helps you avoid paying costly time-of-use rates. He explains further that many utility companies in the U.S. produce most of their power by burning dirty fossil fuels. You can use solar energy during low hours and store it later with solar storage.
Statistics show, and other industry leaders agree, energy storage costs are expected to fall to under $20 a kilowatt hour – almost 90 percent less than they are today. But even at this price, Abe Issa believes renewable energy will continue to fall in price faster than anyone predicts. “Even though it is not yet a perfect solution for every home,” he says, “it is likely to be a good investment overall for consumers.”
Lastly, energy storage systems can reduce your power bills, Issa explains. Not only can energy storage systems help reduce your power bills, but it can also help you create self-sufficiency. When installed with solar panels, energy storage systems can also help you take advantage of tax rebates and incentives the government is now offering. This program rewards homeowners who install a solar energy system and store excess energy.
In closing, Abe Issa says energy storage is a relatively new technology requiring a lot of education for facility owners and managers. He explains not all facilities pay utility rates for energy storage, and financing can be complex. However, there are several companies that offer no-money-down solutions. They make the complex world of solar energy storage easier to understand. Those facts, combined with the dropping costs, says Issa, make solar storage the intelligent thing to do.
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