by Emma Foehringer Merchant
September 13, 2018

Clean energy technologies have challenged U.S. utility planning for years. Recent numbers suggest residential energy storage growth may be the latest disruption to watch. 

According to a new analysis from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, the residential storage market grew tenfold from Q2 2017 to Q2 2018. Consumers are increasingly investing in storage for grid resilience, the economic benefits of self-consumption, and grid services.

John Farrell, director of energy democracy at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), says those types of numbers and the benefits of residential storage are a sign that utility control of the grid is shifting to empower consumers. Behind-the-meter storage systems have the capacity to give users more control over their own production and power usage.

“As the flow of power on the grid has shifted [from] one-way to two-way, so has the power to shape the electric grid’s future,” he wrote in a recent ILSR report on solar-plus-storage. 

"What storage does is really just amplify the ability of the customers to get most, or all, of their electricity from their own generation, which just gives them really an unprecedented amount of leverage in their relationship with the utility," Farrell added in an interview.