Solar-plus-storage, a soon-to-be billion-dollar market in the United States, lacks pure-play vendors. Instead, a large swath of the vendor landscape is made up of existing solar companies allied with energy storage firms, balancing each other's strengths in the marketplace.

"Solar companies have a head start in terms of customer acquisition strategies that energy storage companies can take advantage of through such partnerships," said Ravi Manghani, GTM Research Senior Energy Storage Analyst, during a presentation at Solar Power International.

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Source: The Future of Solar-Plus-Storage in the U.S.

According to the latest report from GTM Research, The Future of Solar-Plus-Storage in the U.S., four of the nation's top ten residential PV installers currently offer solar plus storage. These four companies, including top installer SolarCity and fifth-ranked NRG Home Solar, installed 38 percent of all U.S. PV in the first three quarters of 2014, according to the latest U.S. PV Leaderboard data. In fact, SolarCity leads solar-plus-storage deployments, with more than 200 Self-Generation Incentive Program applications in the state of California.

Solar module vendors are also entering the solar-plus-storage space. Through the first three quarters of the year, eight of the top twenty module vendors in the U.S. residential market were active in the solar-plus-storage space, according to the Future of Solar-Plus-Storage report and the U.S. PV Leaderboard. Some of these module vendors, like Panasonic, LG and BYD, have existing or in-development energy storage capabilities.

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Source: The Future of Solar-Plus-Storage in the U.S.

In addition to solar and storage companies partnering, several other channels are emerging for solar-plus-storage adoption, including through automakers, homebuilders and corporate end users. In early stages of market growth, Manghani expects many more such partnerships, as vendors and developers look for organizational level channels, and not individual customers, to ramp up sales.

The GTM Research report forecasts the nation to install 318 cumulative megawatts of behind-the-meter solar-plus-storage capacity through 2018. By that time, GTM Research predicts that more than one in ten commercial PV customers will pair their installations with storage.

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