Exploring energy storage part 1: The rapidly changing world of renewable energy storage

Throughout the world, solar power is driving huge gains in the adoption of renewable energy. At Lightsource bp, we’re building new solar plants all over the United States and the world.

The good news is that the sun generates more electricity than we can use during the day, and we can store the excess electricity so we can use it later. That’s why storage is so important.

Storage lets us use solar any time we want. Green hydrogen, which is a long-duration storage, lets us use it anywhere we want. It’s what I call PV Plus.

That’s where I come in.

As Lightsource bp’s global head of integrated PV solutions, I am building out #storage solutions to integrate with our solar projects around the world. My job is to develop the technologies available to ensure we include the ability to integrate storage in all of our projects, and deliver our current storage plans to meet our 25GW by 2025 goal. What makes that so interesting is that our projects exist in different energy markets around the world with unique factors.

That means tracking the developments in various types of storage technologies, whether it’s lithium-ion batteries – the dominant technology now – or green hydrogen, sodium-ion or other emerging types of storage.

All of these options are essential if we are going to #decarbonize our power grid. Also, the more we experience extreme weather events, such as the major heat wave that hit California in September, storage makes the grid more resilient.

Adding this needed storage is an engineering problem, and we have the science to solve it. Right now, the focus is almost exclusively on #lithium-ion batteries, which are in great demand for electric vehicles and utility-level storage, but there are other options that need to be developed. I will write more about that in a future article.

Progress is all around us. Recently, the U.S. Energy Information Agency reported that battery storage capacity will rise from 9.1 GW by the end of 2022, before doubling in 2023 to 19 GW and hitting 28.4 GW in 2024.

That’s why I’m excited about my upcoming series of articles on solar and storage.

I’ll explore multiple topics and answer frequently asked questions, including: Is storage really green? How does it help the renewable industry? How can we overcome supply chain concerns? I’ll also explain how the various elements of technology fit together.

We’re at the beginning of a major revolution in storage backed by a wave of federal investment included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill from last year and this year’s Inflation Reduction Act.

For example, there is more than $9.5 billion in the infrastructure bill for green hydrogen alone. This kind of investment will take storage technologies from the drawing board to the electrical grid. I’m excited by the future and what we will explore together.

Sara Kayal first published this article on LinkedIn in on January 3, 2023. To leave a comment or question, please view the original post here.

About the author:

Sara has over a decade of international engineering and operational experience in high tech industries active in the Solar PV industry since 2008 working across US, Europe and APAC prior to joining Lightsource. She joins Lightsource bp from Shell, where she was the Head of Global Technology and Engineering, Sara’s expertise includes managing external development and execution partners such as owner’s engineering and technical advisors to support development, execution and commissioning of PV power plants with and without storage components; in addition, supporting internal teams such as BD and origination teams to optimize the technical/commercial solutions, Sara is based in the San Francisco, heading up the technical integration of PV plants with storage systems, including various types of battery storage and supporting bp’s green hydrogen efforts where appropriate. Read Sara’s leadership story here.

Energy Solutions: Adding Storage

At Lightsource bp, our flexible, intelligent utility scale battery storage solutions enable us to further our mission to deliver affordable, sustainable solar power to businesses and communities around the world.