US utilities seeking new peak power sources are turning to integrated solar parks with battery storage systems that save energy for later use, offsetting their dependence on conventional fossil fuel generators, often at lower prices.
This trend is most evident in Hawaii and the western United States, where the multiplication of energy purchase agreements (PPAs) with solar storage reflects a mature class of maximum-power assets with competitive prices, according to a review by S & P Global Market Intelligence .
While project configurations and contract conditions vary, the prices of large-scale solar plants along with the large lithium-ion batteries, which generally offer four hours of energy storage, have fallen by $ 30 / MWh and $ 40 / MWh in several agreements and recent contracts that are being negotiated. .
The hiring activity for what a project developer like AES Corp. has called “PV peakers” has taken off in the southwestern US, both for PPA and for projects owned by electric companies.
In 2018, aggregators from the California community Monterey Bay Community Power and S ilicon Valley Clean Energy announced agreements with the developers of two large photovoltaic plants integrated with battery storage in Kern and Kings counties, at prices that were revealed in a public meeting that should not exceed $ 40 / MWh.
“These types of agreements are repeatable (…) even though people told me that storage was not yet profitable,” Monterey Bay Community Power president Tom Habashi said in an interview. He added that projects at competitive prices help reduce the public agency’s exposure to costly peak short-term energy purchases, and the energy storage component represents less than $ 10 / MWh of the total contract price.