Take a step into storage
Since we launched Energy Storage Networks (energystoragenetworks.com) last summer, I’ve had the opportunity to attend two energy storage-specific conferences—Energy Storage North America in San Diego last August, and just recently Energy Storage Association’s 28th Conference and Expo in Boston.
It’s been interesting to step into a “new” industry. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that covering energy storage is more familiar than I assumed. Back in 2010 when we started Solar
Power World, I felt like I was diving into something completely unknown. I remember asking my manger at the time if he had gone to the library and checked out books to learn about solar. He
laughed. “No. You just kind of learn,” he said. Looking back, I guess somehow I did.
But this time, instead of diving forward, it feels more like stepping sideways. At the conference, I sat in some energy storage 101 sessions and was surprised by how much I already knew about the “duck curve,” the variable nature of solar and the need for reliable, affordable energy. I can’t tell you how many photos of solar panels I saw—even more than wind—in presentations or in
sponsored videos and slideshows playing on hall screens. Many exhibitor names were also familiar to me, such as NEXTracker, Sungrow and SMA.
Even Energy Storage Association’s CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman reminded me of SEIA’s CEO Abby Ross Hopper. They even know each other! Both worked in Maryland energy under Governor Martin O’Malley, both started in their new positions last year and both are strong, experienced, smart women. I have the utmost faith in their working together to benefit both industries.
Right now, solar+storage only makes up about 10% of the overall storage market. But that number will only increase. Are you ready?
My advice is to take a step into learning about storage now. Even if you’re not ready to add storage services to your business, it’s valuable to know what’s happening in the market and where it’s expected to go. Understanding the big picture of how solar and storage both play into the overall energy market will help you look for opportunities to participate.
There are many ways to take a step into learning about storage, even a small one. I suppose you could go to the library, but it’s more convenient to read the articles in our Energy Storage Supplement this month. You might be picking up this issue at Intersolar, where you can explore ees North America, colocated with the show. This fall, Energy Storage International will also be co-located with SPI. I encourage you to walk the show floor to check out the exciting things storage exhibitors have to offer. Ask them questions. You can also attend an education session and ask those speakers questions too! Take advantage of the opportunities you have to learn about energy storage. You’ll find it will make more sense and be more valuable than you thought.