- Entergy New Orleans has begun construction on a pilot solar-plus-storage project to test the use of a 500 kWh lithium-ion battery to balance the variability of a 1 MW solar array. Entergy will also use the installation to measure whether larger solar efforts will be practical.
- The project’s power will be delivered to Entergy’s system and its cost will be shared across its rate base, with little to no impact on rates, the company said. Veteran renewables builder Blattner Energy will act as engineering, procurement, and construction contractor.
- Entergy’s current resource mix includes natural gas, nuclear power, and some coal. It has not given any indication of how much solar it might consider adding. Besides its concern with solar’s variability, the utility is unsure of the availability of adequate land in urban New Orleans for large solar arrays.
Utility-scale solar is the biggest segment of the U.S. solar market, but this will be New Orleans first utility-scale solar array.
Utility-scale systems were 42% of the 1,361 MW of capacity installed in Q3 2015. The utility solar pipeline at the end of Q3 was 18.7 GW and at least 10 GW are expected to go online in 2016. With power purchase prices typically between $40/MWh and $60/MWh, utility-scale solar is becoming competitive with traditional generation in many markets.
World-wide revenue for advanced utility-scale battery energy storage is forecasted to grow from $231.9 million in 2016 to $3.6 billion by 2025, according to a just-released Navigant Research report. A separate Lux report found the global solar plus storage market will be $8 billion by 2026.
The just-announced DOE Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV (SHINES) program (SHINES) program will invest $18 million in six pilot projects to make solar plus storage more scalable, secure, reliable, and cost-effective.