Historically, thermal concentrating solar plants were the only type of solar power equipped with storage. But as cheaper PV systems became dominant, thermal solar plants fell into disfavor. Now solar PV systems are beginning to integrate storage based on lithium-ion batteries, and this storage isn’t just used to supply power when the sun is down; it is providing grid stabilization services too, which only adds complexity to an already-complicated picture for the future of storage – confounding attempts to model how much storage we’ll need, and of what kind, and when will we need it. Is a large amount of seasonal storage required on a high-RE grid, as some analysts have suggested? Or will other technologies reduce the amount of storage we’ll need? And can we even forecast that need, years or decades in advance? We’ll delve into all those questions and more in this deep dive into combined solar and storage systems.

Geek rating: 7

Guest: Paul Denholm is a member of the Grid Systems Analysis Group in the Strategic Energy Analysis Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He is a leading researcher in grid applications for energy storage and solar energy. He pioneered a variety of research methods for understanding the technical, economic, and environmental benefits and impacts of the large scale deployment of renewable electricity generation.

On the Web: Paul Denholm’s page at NREL

Recording date: December 1 2017

Air date: December 13, 2017


Teaser photo credit: By RudolfSimon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8531033