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Today’s Top Solar Developers Have Become Storage Developers Too

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Photo Credit: Cypress Creek Renewables

All this talk of solar-plus-storage is converting into action.

by Julian Spector

June 13, 2017

The solar industry is no longer just talking about pairing energy storage with solar generation.

An increasing number of solar-plus-storage projects have been cropping up around the country, as lithium-ion prices drop lower and customers get more comfortable with storage technology. The AES plant in Kauai set a record low price in January, only to be beaten by Tucson Electric Power's sub-4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour PPA announced in May -- proving this technology isn't just for islands and remote microgrids any more.

For the large developers in particular, storage makes the solar product more appealing to a utility by giving the power plant flexibility and mitigating its effects on grid operations. On the islands of Hawaii, storage has already become necessary for adding major solar capacity; on the mainland, its value increases along with renewable penetration.

To get a handle on just how extensive the interest in storage-backed solar is, I got a list of the 10 largest utility-scale solar developers from my colleagues at GTM Research, and tracked down the storage status of each one.

Seven of the top 10 solar developers have incorporated storage into their business strategy, and have either deployed storage alongside PV or are pursuing hybrid installations. The remaining three did not comment on how storage fits into their plans.

"This is well beyond one developer -- this is really a trend we're seeing in the industry," said Colin Smith, a solar markets analyst at GTM Research. "Solar-plus-storage has become a forced differentiator in the industry."

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/todays-top-solar-developers-have-become-storage-developers-too

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