Is energy storage a hype or not? At our Energy Storage UK 2013 conference in London even some speakers said it is. What did we learn? Energy storage is a (too) broad area in terms of technologies (from batteries to fly-wheels, to smart (energy) devices to Power-to-gas). And even if you focus on the storage of electricity, there are solutions to store/transform the electricity into gas (methane) and hot water, making the range of options even broader. In between all these technology discussions, self-consumption and self-sufficiency, smart energy management and all kinds of ICT-solutions pop up as strongly related issues.
It is still very difficult to make up a uniform business case, even per market segment. The industry is very focused on payback times and costs per kWh.
From other industries, we learn that marketing and branding can be far more important. The discussion about added values of electricity storage still has to take off. The telephone revolution learned us that we are now willing to pay >$60/month for cell phone services, while we paid less than $30 in the past for landline services. Why are youngsters willing to pay 5 times much more for a ‘fixie bike’, with no speeds, brakes and front suspension than for a bike that does have these items? Apparently, the added values of cell phones justify this without any protest and the ‘fixie bikes are much ‘cooler’.. We need to find the added values of solar energy with a storage solution, position it as a luxury item that improves your social status, rather than focusing only on payback times!
What benefits would you stress are most important for solar + storage? Where should our focus be on?