As the capacity for the solar battery market in the UK enters a standstill period on the heels of a ruling by the European Court of Justice, storage developers are left wondering what comes next. On the morning of November 15th, the ECJ deemed that the Capacity Market scheme would no longer be granted state aid by the European Commission, rendering it ineffective for the time being. What that means for the long term of energy farming and storage, a growing industry worldwide and especially prevalent in long term business plans in the UK is not quite clear.
While some debate the efficiency of solar panels due to less efficient ‘hot spots’ as the panels increase in temperature, solar and battery storage farms have been met with success in places like West Sussex, and projects are in the works across the UK that would integrate the idea of solar farming and battery storage that the capacity standstill could impact widely. In Llanwern, outside Newport, the Gwent Levels were chosen to house a solar and storage park as the surrounding area’s electricity transmission has a large volume of spare capacity and the land is of little agricultural use. There’s also been a push towards entirely self-sufficient housing and communities.
A Neath housing scheme has recently been given the go-ahead to begin construction using the concept of ‘active buildings,’ buildings with panels integrated into the roofs as well as solar heat collectors fitted on one wall for water heating, with all excess energy being stored for later use or recycled. This community would be the first of its kind in the UK. Further on the industrial edge of the hot topic, the Coalville Amazon centre in Leicestershire is being fitted for an estimated 3.6MW solar array and a Tesla battery, an ambitious undertaking, but one that could revolutionize the operating costs and impact of the centre.
It’s certainly not the only business set to undergo big battery changes: even the Hyundai group has announced that select Hyundai and Kia models are to be released with the introduction of solar roof charging systems (which would not only be fitted to vehicles with electric systems, but would be integrated with hybrid and internal combustion systems alike), and the Van Nuys Airport, in a large display last month, showed off the installation of its first solar rooftop and canopy, leading an astonishing six of its tenants to unveil their plans to do the same.
With solar and wind officially deemed the cheapest source of energy, and given what an essential source of additional power for high demand that solar battery storage is able to provide, where this decision goes is essential to be aware of. A projection by Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimated that the global energy storage market would grow to a steep demand of 942 gigawatts by the year 2040: a demand that could cost a booming £485 billion. Looking at this as an ultimate probability, the logic behind the battery storage market makes plenty of sense, and raises the question: is the capacity standstill helping or hurting the energy market as a whole in halting the storage market scheme?