More solar and less surplus power cheaper than battery storage

Reducing surplus electricity and increasing solar construction may be more cost effective than adding battery storage, claims a report from MS Solar Pathways.

The Solar Potential Analysis (SPA) report finds that installing more capacity and not using it all the time would be considerably less expensive than installing long-term or seasonal storage, with the paper focusing on the American state of Minnesota.

It notes storage would still play a significant part of a high renewables future because it expands the dispatch capabilities of wind and solar assets and can smooth out intermittency but shows overbuilding solar power facilities is a preferential option.

The report found the state could achieve its 10% solar goal at costs comparable to the cost of natural gas generation.

Specifically, it found the cost for 10% solar by 2025 ranged from $33/MWh (£25) to $66/MWh (£50).

Josh Quinnell, Senior Research Engineer at the Center for Energy and Environment and a contributor to the report, said: “It is cheaper to overbuild solar than it is to add enough storage to avoid curtailment. That is not to discount storage.

“Storage is still important. We don’t have all the answers but certainly the results challenge traditional thinking.”

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