U.S. energy storage deployment nearly doubled in 2018 as the nation installed 350.5 MW, 777 MWh — over 80% more than was deployed in 2017 in terms of megawatt-hours, according to a new report.
Behind-the-meter (BTM) storage accounted for 53% of the total deployment in megawatts while front-of-the-meter (FTM) installations accounted for 47%, according to the U.S. Energy Storage Monitor 2018 Year-in-Review. FTM installations often had durations of four hours or more.
Report authors from Wood Mackenzie and the Energy Storage Association expect the storage market to double in 2019, deploying 1,681 MWh. By 2024, they expect annual deployments to exceed 4.4 GW.
The record year for storage in 2018 reflects the increasing competitiveness of batteries and enhanced utility familiarity with the new technology.
Growth in FTM storage was especially pronounced in the fourth quarter, when the U.S. deployed 352 MWh of batteries. Many of those installations were used for capacity, the authors wrote, and had durations of more than four hours.
As in recent years, California led the nation for storage deployments as its utilities aim to meet the state's ambitious energy storage mandates. Texas, New York and Hawaii also were hotspots for growth, the authors said.
Battery storage growth came despite more modest price reductions in lithium-ion technologies than researchers originally anticipated. While they had originally forecasted a 14% decline in battery prices, supply shortages meant overall price declines were only estimated at about 6%.
"2018 was also marked by battery supply shortages, as manufacturers committed capacity to the South Korean market to take advantage of incentives," the authors wrote in a release. "Consequently, U.S. storage system price declines slowed in 2018, with some products even seeing slight price increases."
Analysts expect those supply shortages to abate after the first half of this year as manufacturers bring new battery factories online. That will help drive growth in U.S. battery storage that could reach more than 4 GW of annual additions by the next decade.