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British solar power surge. Batteries becoming cheaper

FT 23rd May 2017 On May 10, the UK reached a fresh high for the amount of electricity generated by solar. Early on that Wednesday afternoon, solar output hit 8.5 gigawatts, according to Electric Insights, a website that tracks
Britain’s power.

At its peak, the green energy source was supplying more than 22 per cent of the 38GW being handled by the national grid, as solar for some hours exceeded the steady output from the UK’s fleet of nuclear power stations. The growing contribution of green energy to grids — particularly wind and solar — brings with it the problem of managing the
unpredictability and intermittency of these supplies.

Storage is still a very small part of the energy industry but it is developing quickly both at the domestic level — where homeowners can use batteries in tandem with solar panels on their roofs — and on a much larger scale, with the development of battery parks aimed at smoothing supplies to the grid. The popularity of storage systems to capture the electricity generated by domestic solar panels is helped by a generous subsidy in Germany that helps homeowners meet the initial costs of buying a battery, which is also true of other countries.

While costs of batteries are coming down, Mr Wilkinson acknowledges that in most cases “incentives are required” to expand the market for battery storage to help balance the grid. “Costs have come down dramatically but there is still a long way to go before they are going to be truly embedded everywhere in the grid and we’ll see huge volumes of them,” Mr Wilkinson says. Meanwhile, growth in the electric vehicle market has helped lower costs and improve the design of lithium-ion batteries. A battery pack that can be used in an electric vehicle has fallen from $1,000 per kilowatt hour in 2010 to $273 per kWh last year, according to BNEF, which is forecasting a further 73 per cent fall in costs by 2030.


May 24, 2017 - Posted by | renewable, UK

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