The news of the merger of American Tesla with American SolarCity caused a sensation in the industry. This means that the US “solar battery” market will grow substantially in the future. Soaring to three times the previous year.
GTM Research (hereinafter referred to as GTM), a US clean energy research and consulting company, said that in the first quarter of 2016 (January to March), the installed capacity of energy storage in the United States was 18.3MW, a 127% increase year-on-year, a significant increase.
One area where the growth is particularly significant is the “Behind-the-Meter”-the storage battery installed behind the electricity consumer’s meter. This kind of storage battery is mainly installed in parallel with decentralized photovoltaic power generation equipment, and the surplus power of photovoltaic power generation on the power consumer side is stored for their own consumption, rather than sold to the grid.
The opposite concept of “Behind-the-Meter” is “Front of the Meter”, which mainly refers to the storage battery installed on the power supply side such as power company. GTM said that the installed capacity of the Frontof the Meter side has doubled year-on-year, while Behind-the-Meter has expanded more than three times the same period last year.
The state of Hawaii, which has the highest penetration rate of photovoltaic power generation in the United States, abolished the previous net metering electricity price system that purchased surplus electricity at a unit price that is basically equivalent to the ordinary electricity price in October 2015. It was the first state in the United States to put an end to the net measurement system. The state’s decentralized power sources will continue to be connected to the grid in the future, but will begin to implement two programs different from the net metering system.
That is, (1) “Customer Grid-Supply” and (2) “Customer Self Supply” are both institutional designs that promote self-consumption.
The consumer supply grid is somewhat similar to the net metering system. When there is surplus electricity, the power company purchases it at a price lower than the unit price of ordinary electricity. In addition, when the remaining power for a month exceeds the power purchased from the power company, the power company does not purchase the excess power.
For example, a household on the island of Oahu purchased 350kWh of electricity in August, while the remaining electricity was 750kWh. The power company will purchase the same 350kWh as the purchased electricity at a price of 15.07 cents at most, and the other 400kWh (750-350) will not be purchased. In other words, there will be 60.28 US dollars (450kWh×15.07 cents) of electricity flowing to the grid for free.
Since the purchase price of surplus power is low, and the surplus power may not be fully purchased, even if the system capacity is expanded and the power generation is increased, it will only increase the system installation cost. A large power company in Hawaii reminded families planning to install photovoltaic power generation systems that “large capacity (system) may not be cost-effective.”
Consumer self-powered is a grid-connected system of photovoltaic power generation systems that do not transmit power to the grid. Even if there is surplus power, the power company will not buy it. Therefore, it is necessary to install a lithium-ion battery or other storage battery to store the surplus power and use it after the evening.
When choosing this option, regions with a high penetration rate of photovoltaic power generation can enjoy the preferential treatment of priority certification of electric power companies such as system integration applications.
These two schemes reduce the amount of electricity flowing back to the grid to a minimum by promoting “self-production and self-consumption”, which can promote more households to introduce distributed power sources. And, unlike a completely off-grid (standalone) system, by connecting to the power system, when the photovoltaic power generation system is not generating power, or when the battery is empty, the power supplied by the grid can be used. Therefore, in order to compensate the power company’s fixed funding for the grid, participants in these two programs are required to pay a minimum monthly fee of $25.
At present, it is called “Sunrun BrightBox” in Hawaii, The price per kWh for a zero down payment monthly rent on Oahu is 19 cents, which is far lower than the unit price of the electric power company, which can be said to be an unconventional price.