By Jeff McMahon
Five years. That’s how soon batteries can be expected to sprout all over the electric grid as utilities and homeowners drop in on a wave of falling prices, a Duke Energy executive said in Chicago Thursday.
“There’s going to be a lot of excitement around batteries in the next five years. And I would say that the country will get blanketed with projects,” said Spencer Hanes, a managing director of business development with the Charlotte, North Carolina-based utility.
“With the way that the cost curves are coming down it’s a big opportunity for all of us to deliver what customers want.”
What customers want, it seems, is solar-plus-storage. They want it enough that homeowners are propping up the battery business even before it can make them money, said Adam Gerza, chief operating officer of the solar software firm Energy Toolbase.
“The momentums and drivers behind actual installed solar-storage projects are things like backup power and energy independence, and there’s a little bit of a screw-my-utility kind of attitude,” Gerza said, sitting alongside Hanes on a panel Thursday at Solar Power Midwest in Chicago.