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German trade body predicts solar storage ‘boom’

Storage linked to PV is set to boom in Germany, according to GTAI.
The deployment of solar storage units in German is set to boom over the next few years in what has been hailed a “quiet revolution” for the PV industry.

A report by Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI), the federal government’s foreign trade and inward investment arm, cited figures suggesting sales of solar storage systems in Germany will rise from 6,000 last year to 100,000 by 2018.

GTAI said a combination of growing volumes of PV capacity and falling feed-in tariffs would spur the predicted growth.

The body highlighted that German PV generation peaked at around 15GW on 11 May 2014, briefly pushing prices into the negative.

“Balancing supply with demand in the grid presents operators with a significant challenge and leads to market price fluctuations. That is where storage solutions come into play,” said Tobias Rothacher, renewable energies manager at GTAI.

“Many solar installations will have paid for themselves in the next couple of years and some will soon reach the end of their 20-year feed-in tariff contract,” added Rothacher.

With modern and cheaper battery technology now available, GTAI said PV owners were able to store excess power during the day instead of feeding it into the grid at low prices and buying it back at night when it is more expensive, helping reduce grid fluctuations. And with feed-in tariffs set to fall this summer, GTAI said storage would make increasing economic sense.

“A number of factors are coming together that will lead to a boom in PV energy storage solutions in Germany,” Rothacher said.

Storage will be a major topic at this year’s Intersolar Europe taking place in Munich this week.

Some of the highlights of Intersolar Europe, including storage-related events, are previewed in this month’s issue of Solar Business Focus, here.

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