The Renewable Read | July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Solar Power & Energy Storage – Evolutionary or Revolutionary Combination? 

Combining solar power with energy storage systems is a revolutionary combination that disrupts the traditional power generation value proposition. 

Reliable utility scale solar power arrived in 2013, and several technology approaches and arrangements, such as concentrated solar (CSP) and direct solar heating/cooling, were pursued prior to photovoltaic (PV) panels forming a dominant market share.  

During this time, global PV manufacturing capacity moved from small global production outposts to a concentration within China. Utility scale solar power is now cheaper to build and operate than coal-based power generation assets per recent industry news. The solar power industry technology and production process appears to be in an evolutionary phase; however, solar power had a fatal flaw due to resource availability. The industry was looking for a means to supply reliable power when solar resources were not available. 

Energy storage systems enable solar power providers to overcome the industry’s fatal flaw, but energy storage technology is currently within a revolutionary phase considering the following: 

  • An energy storage technology type or approach has not quite captured a dominant market of the installed asset base:
    • Lithium-ion technology options include 80-plus chemistries, with preferred chemistry configurations continuing to change over time
    • The asset base is still very small versus the anticipated build-out
  • Global production and supply chains are still developing for prospective technologies
  • Production costs have only recently started to decline 

For these reasons, we believe combining current solar power technology with energy storage is the best solution. 

Beecher Carlson has worked with solar power project developers and operators throughout the industry evolution and during this revolutionary phase. Our resources provide advice obtained from actual project experience.  

Does your current broker have these resources available for your use and consultation? 

Mark Mirek serves as a strategic advisor within the energy storage space. He draws upon his seven years of experience with utility scale energy storage systems. Mark currently serves as a voting member on the NFPA 855, the global asset protection standard for energy storage systems, technical committee. Mark is the only insurance broker representative on the committee. 

Mark Mirek has more than 25 years of industry experience in the traditional power, renewable energy, and utilities space. Mark joined the Beecher Carlson Energy practice in 2010 and currently serves as Senior Managing Director. He helped build the energy practice through providing technical thought leadership, critical engineering services, and insurance placement services.