Like other products to be borne out of Silicon Valley, the announcement of Tesla’s new Powerwall battery elicited its fair share of hyperbole. That said, it shone an Elon Musk-powered spotlight on the emerging market for home energy storage systems, which can help make sustainable energy products like wind and solar more accessible. But like Tesla’s line of automobiles, the new home battery is likely to appeal only to a small-but-growing niche of eco-friendly homeowners.
What was missing from conversations about residential batteries was this — the U.S. energy storage systems market is already thriving. Looking ahead to 2016, industrial and commercial energy storage systems will continue to power the marketplace (as it has for decades).
Just how big is the U.S. market for battery energy storage system? According to a Guardian report in October 2015, “The US energy storage market is growing particularly fast, and batteries are the star players. The country installed 40.7 megawatts of energy storage projects in homes, businesses and utilities in the second quarter of this year, nine times more than the same quarter last year.”
Not only that, but investors expect the total amount of energy storage in the country to reach 240 gigawatts in the next 15 years. Plus, that doesn’t even include the market for electric car batteries. So even if we discount vehicular batteries, worldwide sales of storage systems that use lithium ion batteries is expected to jump from $2 billion in 2015 to $6 billion by 2020.
Although a growing number of homeowners are looking into home batteries, either as a back up generator or energy storage, but industrial demand is larger by several orders of magnitude. These storage batteries provide crucial power to the telecommunications industry via stand by generator installations, ensuring a continuity of services at all times. And as the telecommunications industry plays a larger role in our home and work lives, that reliance on stationary batteries will only continue to grow.