Mar 3, 2021 - Energy & Environment

U.S. saw huge boom in new battery storage at end of 2020

Reproduced from Wood Mackenzie report; Chart: Axios Visuals
Reproduced from Wood Mackenzie report; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. additions of energy storage capacity shattered their previous records in the fourth quarter of 2020, per new data from the consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

Why it matters: It signals the growing mainstreaming of technologies that help integrate more renewables onto power grids, provide backup energy and other benefits.

By the numbers: 2,156 megawatt-hours came online in the final three months of the year, which is 182% higher than the prior quarter, according to the analysis released with the U.S. Energy Storage Association.

California is the largest market by far.

The big picture: Check out the chart above, which shows that the bulk of the growth came from "front-of-the-meter" systems — that is, storage that's used directly on the power grid.

The balance is residential systems and commercial and industrial applications.

The intrigue: Consumer concerns about grid reliability are increasingly driving sales of residential backup power systems, including batteries.

  • "[T]he ability of solar-plus-storage to provide backup is increasingly driving sales even in markets without additional incentives, particularly states that suffer from regular power outages," Wood Mackenzie analyst Chloe Holden.
  • "We expect an uptick in home battery sales in Texas in the aftermath of February’s devastating outages," Holden said in a statement alongside the data.
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