By Vera Eckert
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's power grid industry is set to expand big battery capacity to 517 megawatts (MW) in 2020, 14% more than last year's 453 MW, which already overshot expectations by 19%, data from German advisory groups 3EC and Team Consult showed.
Big batteries help power stations and industrial energy consumers optimise their production and supply flows and avoid shortfalls in emergencies, which are becoming more likely as green power output is weather-driven.
Team Consult has been tracking the industry's progress for a number of years, noting that component prices are falling while the transition to renewable power generation and the arrival of electric cars are driving demand for grid stabilisation.
"The energy storage industry's growth course continues," it said. "The majority of companies see a positive market environment in 2020 and expects higher sales."
Turnover in the energy storage industry overall could grow by 9% to 6 billion euros this year, just short of a 10% year-on-year increase to 5.5 billion euros in 2019, it said.
The data from the Berlin-based group was presented to coincide with an annual storage industry show in Duesseldorf this week, which was cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.
The 2019 total consisted of 3.6 billion euros derived from batteries in applications such as capturing renewable electricity on grids and in households, converting it into hydrogen, storing it as heat, or absorbing and re-releasing surplus loads from car batteries.
The remaining 1.8 billion euros of total sales came from pumped storage plants, which still account for the bulk of existing capacity.
They store and release water to drive power turbines on demand.
Team Consult predicted further sales and employment growth in the battery sector as well as in export markets, provided the domestic market continues to demonstrate a good test case.
On home storage power batteries, accounting for 950 million euros of sales within the 6 billion total, Team Consult said that there were now 182,000 units, up from 125,000 counted last year.
The combined capacity of these home batteries could reach 930 MW this year after 680 MW in 2019 and 440 MW in 2018, Team Consult said.
They are mostly owned by rooftop solar generators, typically families with detached houses. This market's total size is estimated at 1.7 million, offering great potential for growth.
(Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)