The role of electrical energy storage (EES) is becoming more important as Switzerland moves towards higher penetrations of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. This is mentioned in the Swiss energy strategy 2050. This storage technology is important to support the development of unpredictable renewable production of energy and to match with future consumer demand of energy. The role of home batteries to store electricity is strategical for this objective.
Energy Electrical storage solution for Swiss homes are based on mature electrochemical technologies. These battery installations are mostly combined with photovoltaic solutions. The market is in an early adoption phase, facing important challenges with exceptionally low electricity prices and expensive batteries. This does make the return on investment for electrical energy storage not very attractive. However, the ecological sensitivity and the investment capabilities of Swiss consumers can be considered as a positive basis for growth.
This thesis has reviewed eight different market drivers to make electric energy storage a success. This does include the evolution of Photovoltaic solar panels, battery cost reduction, increase of the energy prices, development of electric vehicle, real estate development, shared energy usage, government support measures and smart home management solutions. Different scenarios have been calculated to assess how these drivers could influence electrical energy storage to a mass-market product. Price of electricity and batteries with the penetration of PV do represent the most important market triggers for EES.
- Too high price of electricity; the current low energy retail price discourages any investments to optimise usage of energy. This energy price situation could change in the next 5 to 10 years and therefore influence the adoption of storage batteries.
- Price of electrical energy storage installation; the current high price of batteries makes any business case for consumer challenging. Investments with a return of invest over 10 years are not satisfactory for consumer adoption. Future tendencies do show that prices of batteries shall reduce from 30% to 50% until 2020.
- Evolution of Photovoltaic solar panels; Sales development of Photovoltaic installations are in direct relationship with the success of storage batteries, as they would be sold in combination. Current installation figures of photovoltaic panels are showing a positive trend thanks to improved efficiency and government support.
This analysis does describe how the market could or should change to make electrical energy storage attractive. It is nevertheless possible to influence slightly the penetration of EES with government support for the investment for storage solution. These subsidies could also be given with a combined solution for Photovoltaic solar pans. Financing solution with operating or finance lease shall be offered to future customer to lower the high investment barrier.
Electrical energy storage does have the potential to become a mass-market product in Switzerland. Depending of the energy and battery price development, we could expect an import growth in the next 5 or 10 years. The Swiss market characteristics with high income, ecological sensitivity and multiple cultural diversity could be used as a test market for Europe.