In a diverse panel moderated by FurtherAfrica’s founder Fabio Scala, panellists Seydou Kane, Managing Director of Eaton Electricity SA, Kevin Robinson of African Solar Industry Association and Professor Ahmed Zobaa from Brunel University have discoursed about the rise of battery storage solutions as part of a more diverse energy mix in Africa, a trend which is gaining momentum due to a drop in storage prices in recent years (driven not only by a growing market but also due to the increasing demand of electric vehicles [EVs]).
Professor Ahmed Zobaa highlighted that major players in Asia, Europe and the US are all scaling up the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries to capitalise on this growing demand for EVs. According to Professor Zobaa, battery-pack costs have come down from US$1,000 per kWh in 2010 to less than US$230 per kWh in 2016.
Another great aspect lending much promise to this new trend on cleaner, more affordable energy is the fact that residential and commercial usages of battery storage solutions to achieve self-sufficiency in power generation is gaining ground and is an attractive opportunity for customers looking to become independent from sometimes unreliable and often times expensive power utilities.
Kevin Robinson corroborates the view that customers’ motivations for this change are not only financial, but also a clear sign that energy self-sufficiency is an appealing prospect, especially in the African market, rife with opportunity and growth potential. In larger scales, Mr. Robinson has argued that countries may also greatly benefit from incorporating energy storage solutions into the energy mix, as not only does it signify a more decentralised approach towards power generation as well as less dependence on energy imports, along with a clearer path to achieving environmental and net-zero emissions goals.
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A few Challenges remain, however, mainly due to age-old notions over the price and financial feasibility of battery storage solutions. Over time, however, the panellists all agreed that this perception tends to be more aligned with reality very soon, as prices continue to fall and performance and energy efficiency improves. Outdated regulatory policies and a lack of standardisation are some of the other issues to be addressed, so that BESS (battery energy storage solutions) may become a go-to short/medium term solution for fast response time and high-power demand.
You may still check out this and many other insightful panels by taking part in The Power & Electricity, Solar & The Water Show Africa 2020 virtual event by clicking here.