NREL: US utility-scale energy storage costs grew 11-13% in Q1 2022

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Energy storage costs in the US grew 13% from Q1 2021 to Q1 2022, said the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in a cost benchmarking analysis.

The research laboratory has revealed the results of its ‘U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System and Energy Storage Cost Benchmarks, With Minimum Sustainable Price Analysis: Q1 2022‘ report.

For standalone energy storage, NREL said that the costs benchmark grew 2% year-on-year for residential systems to US$1,503/kWh and 13% for utility-scale to US$446/kWh.

Both figures are modelled market price (MMP) which it uses alongside a new, minimum sustainable price (MSP). MMP is simply the sales price that a developer would charge while MSP is a theoretical construct meant to capture the long-term cost impacts of technological evolution while muting the impact of policy and short-term market fluctuations.

It uses a 5kW/12.5kWh benchmark for residential and a 60MW/240MWh benchmark for utility-scale, clearly modelled along the lines of the California market where four-hour durations have become the norm.

For residential, commercial and utility-scale the MSP is around 10% lower than the MSP. The commercial MMP benchmark in Q1 2022 was US$672/kWh, in between the two other sectors, but a change in methodology between 2021 and 2022 means the years cannot be compared directly, it added.

For solar-plus-storage, the MMP benchmark for residential systems grew 6% year-on-year to US$38,295 while utility-scale costs grew 11% to a benchmark of US$195 million. Commercial was US$1.44 million.

Within solar-plus-storage, the MMP benchmark is 13-15% higher than the MSP for all three segments.

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