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US BESS installations ‘surged’ in 2023 with 96% increase in cumulative capacity, ACP says

US annual and cumulative clean power capacity growth, as featured in the new report. Image: ACP

The operating capacity of battery storage in the US grew by 7.9GW last year, bringing the country’s total cumulative installed base to 17GW by the end of 2023.

The figures have been released by the American Clean Power Association (ACP) trade group, which published its annual report on statistics and trends in the solar PV, energy storage and wind industries earlier this month.

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The country’s energy storage sector connected 95% more storage to the grid in terms of power capacity in 2023 than the 4GW ACP reported as having been brought online in 2022 in its previous Annual Market Report.

In more precise terms, and with megawatt-hour numbers included, there were 7,881MW of new storage installations and 20,609MWh of new storage capacity deployed in the year.  

The cumulative output and capacity of battery storage installed in the US have reached 17,027MW and 45,588MWh, respectively. That meant an 86% increase in cumulative installed capacity in megawatts (power) and an increase of 83% in cumulative installed capacity in megawatt-hours (energy).

Second successive record year

Meanwhile, the levelised cost of a 4-hour duration battery energy storage facility participating in energy markets in the US was found to be in a range between US$126 – US$177/MWh. In 2015, the levelised cost of such a battery energy storage system (BESS) would have been between US$347 and US$739/MWh, albeit not many systems of that duration were being installed in the US nine years ago.

The average levelised cost of a solar-plus-storage installation was US$81/MWh to US$153/MWh. In an article for Premium, published last week, various industry figures commented on the falling prices of BESS and the impact they will have.

As reported by our colleagues over at PV Tech last week, ACP’s report also highlighted that 2023 was a big year for renewable energy, with 33.8GW of new installations, 20GW of which was solar PV. Wind and solar PV, in fact, accounted for 77% of new utility-scale power additions, far outpacing natural gas, of which 8,999MW – or 20% of the total – was deployed last year.

One challenging aspect of solar PV development however is the continuation of delays to new projects, with utility-scale solar accounting for 70% of the more than 60GW of clean power capacity that had been delayed as of the end of 2023. Of that figure, 38GW were projects that missed original COD deadlines during last year with the rest held over from previous years.

Battery storage was not immune from delays, but it was the least affected of the three technologies, accounting for just 12% of the delayed total. This is perhaps due to solar PV also being subjected during the last couple of years to international trade issues over the import of modules from abroad, mainly China.

In all, it was a second successive record year for the US battery storage industry, with 2022 seeing an 80% increase in megawatts and a 93% increase in megawatt-hours in cumulative installations from 2021, ACP said.

ACP CEO Jason Grummet said 2023 had been a “banner year” for solar and for energy storage, also noting the growth in clean energy manufacturing investment that the US has enjoyed since the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

While only two manufacturers in the nascent battery storage manufacturing sector supplied modules or packs to the industry in 2023, ACP expects to see 20 new facilities come online by 2030.

Most of those will support battery cell as well as module manufacturing, the trade group said. In August last year, ACP said that there had already been US$270 billion investment committed to clean energy in downstream projects and manufacturing since the IRA’s passing.’ publisher Solar Media will host the 6th Energy Storage Summit USA this week, 19-20 March 2024 in Austin, Texas. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

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