April 22, 2019 Read More →

Research shows solar plus storage now competitive with even more natural gas generation

PV Magazine:

Solar plus storage has begun displacing new natural gas peaking units in Arizona, and 8minuteenergy Renewables CEO Tom Buttgenbach has said his firm can build solar plus storage at a lower price than gas peakers “anywhere in the country today.”

A new study shows that solar plus storage (S+S) also outcompetes new “mid-merit” gas units in four of five grid service areas across the nation in a scenario where current rates of compensation for grid services hold steady over 30 years. S+S also costs less than these gas units in a number of other cases studied. The study was published by battery maker Fluence, a joint venture of Siemens and AES.

Mid-merit or “load-following” units operate at an average capacity factor of about 15% to 45%, mid-way between peaker and “baseload” fossil-fired or nuclear units.

The analysis used generation data from 435 U.S. natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) units to develop six “clusters” of NGCCs grouped partly by their capacity factor (i.e., percent utilization).

The authors expect that “Even as the ITC phases out through 2023, reductions in S+S costs will improve the combined technologies’ economics over NGCC plants.” They cite a Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables forecast of “6% and 8% annual reductions in all-in cost for front-of-the-meter solar PV and energy storage, respectively, between 2018 and 2022.”

More: Solar+storage can outcompete “mid-merit” gas units, not just peakers

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