Storage for renewable energy: expect big advances in 2014.

REW.com: “….new energy storage systems are helping grid operators fine-tune their management of wind and solar variability. Energy storage is a natural partner to renewable energy since it evens the peaks and valleys created by wind and solar production on the grid.”
“The rise of energy storage comes with an accompanying focus on microgrids, self-contained entities that can island from the main grid during power outages or can feed the grid special services when connected. Energy storage often is a key element of a microgrid, along with solar energy or combined heat and power.
….The renewables industry for years has discussed the value of pairing solar and energy storage. As we enter 2014, more and more of these projects are coming online. Lux Research estimates this market will grow to $2.8 billion from 2013 to 2018. Japan will lead the way with 381 MW of storage paired with solar, Lux says, as it grapples with high electricity prices and nuclear power concerns.
In Europe, Germany will follow developing about 94 MW of solar-linked storage during the same period, says Lux. The U.S. comes third in the Lux forecast, with about 75 MW.
As governments lend increasing support, the solar/storage market could expand even more rapidly. Lux noted that Germany is offering $67 million in subsidies for solar-tied energy storage, and the U.S. Senate introduced a program to fund $7.5 billion in new storage projects.
In the U.S., a lot of the storage activity is expected to occur in California, where the Public Utilities Commission set a goal to achieve 1.3 GW by 2020.
….Solar City is using storage to drive down the demand charges businesses pay. The company is making this move using Tesla battery technology. The system works by regulating the amount of energy the business buys from the grid during peak periods. It differs from demand response in that the business does not have to curtail its energy use, but instead uses the solar/storage system to offset need for grid power. The system is being rolled out in California, Massachusetts and Connecticut.”