Panasonic: ‘Eventually solar-plus-storage will be like air conditioning or HVAC’ but for now it’s an ’emotional sale’

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pv magazine interviewed Panasonic as part of our series of profiles on the recent surge of new storage companies and new storage products.

All data points suggest we’re on the cusp of massive growth in energy storage.

  • The total energy storage market is expected to grow to $546 billion in annual revenue by 2035, according to a report released by Lux Research.
  • The California residential battery market is going to explode this year, according to BNEF, which expects 50,000 residential battery systems to be installed his year — up from the 19,000 California homes that had batteries in 2019.
  • There are several gigawatts worth of large-scale energy storage on utility integrated resource plans. The energy storage market is expected to surge tenfold from 2018 to 2023, rising to $5 billion annually, according to Wood Mackenzie.

Panasonic’s EverVolt residential battery went into production this year, after some time in beta testing.

The residential energy system comes in two sizes: 11.4 kilowatt-hours and 17.1 kilowatt-hours, depending on how many of the 55-pound battery packs are incorporated into the field-serviceable housing. These systems are intended for indoor usage.

The units are available in DC-coupled or AC-coupled versions and so can be retrofitted to an existing solar system if the situation demands.

When it comes to a system that combines solar and storage, Panasonic is one of the few vendors that builds both the silicon solar cells (based on Panasonic’s HIT technology) as well as the NMC batteries.

When asked about the seeming commodification of energy storage products, Daniel Glaser, senior sales engineer at Panasonic told pv magazine,  “Brand is powerful — after a house and a car, a PV/storage system worth tens of thousands of dollars is one of the larger purchases a family will make.”

So — factors such as Panasonic’s longevity as a company or its ten-year warranty might be the reasons for purchasing a system, suggested Glaser, rather than some technical spec.

Glaser said that “eventually solar-plus-storage will be like air conditioning or HVAC” — but for now it’s an “emotional sale” in light of utility shut-offs and the threat of global warming.

Some of the energy storage companies we’ve covered recently:

  • We covered Yotta Energy’s distributed batteries mounted under modules last week.
  • SolPad gave pv magazine an update on its distributed storage and solar product.
  • KiloVault’s 7.5-kW-hr wall-mount energy storage unit for residential and commercial applications is based on a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery chemistry. The 7.5 kw-hr unit sells for $4,995 at the Alternative Energy Store and weighs 207 pounds.
  • Kore Power’s 110 kw-hr rack-mounted battery system is intended for front-of-the-meter, multi-megawatt application. The 18-employee company’s management has roots in mining as well as a partnership with DFD, a supplier of anode, cathode and electrolyte materials to customers such as CATL, BYD, Tesla and Panasonic.
  • NeoVolta’s 24 kw-hr residential storage entry, according to the CEO, has met the Tesla price, while giving better performance — he quoted the company’s 8.4 kW unit at $18,500 fully installed.