The European residential battery market has grown significantly during the energy crisis, but in France it has remained relatively small. Nevertheless, battery manufacturers expect higher demand due to rising electricity prices.
According to SolarPower Europe, the number of battery energy storage systems (BESS) in residential buildings across Europe increased from 650,000 installations in 2021 to more than one million in 2022. This is a sharp increase, largely due to the increase in energy prices since the beginning of 2021. war in Ukraine. According to the Solar Energy Industry Group, the number of households with batteries combined with a solar cell is expected to triple in Europe to 3.5 million by 2026.
Market growth is driven by five countries – Germany, Italy, Austria, Great Britain and Switzerland – but France is still lagging behind.
“Compared to other countries where we are present, France is still a niche market,” said Lars Brinkmeyer, international sales manager at German battery maker Kostal, in an interview. pv-lehti France.
French market research company LCP Delta reports that around 566,000 homes in France will have a solar power system by the end of 2022, with a capacity of around 2 GW. Of these systems, only 1,000 were equipped with home batteries with an average power of 4 kW. By comparison, Germany installed 220,000 new household batteries in 2022 with a combined capacity of 1.2 GW / 1.9 GWh, according to data from Aachen University.
“In France, electricity prices, which are around 0.20 euros/kWh, are still lower than in other European countries,” said Arthur Jouannic, France director of LCP Delta. pv-lehti France. “Furthermore, the government has limited the increase in regulated electricity prices to four percent in 2022, which has limited the effects of the energy crisis on individuals.”
In addition, the current prices of solar plus battery systems must be correlated with the lack of incentives. Business installers offer consumers up to €30,000 ($32,570) for a 6 kW solar power system with a battery.
“Because the price of electricity remains low, the return on investment of such a purchase is eight, 10, even 12 years,” Jouannic said. “Furthermore, interest rates are high, which makes leasing offers unattractive.”
It seems that these high prices do not include a sensible purchase. Only the wealthiest households that want to participate in the energy transition seek to equip themselves.
However, Kostal has sensed a change in the market in recent months.
“This winter, when the French government mentioned possible blackouts, we saw an increase in consumer interest in these types of systems,” Brinkmeyer said.
Kostal also plans to introduce a new generation of household inverters, whose powers vary from 3 kW to 20 kW. They are scalable and configurable with or without batteries.
“If demand in France picks up, installers can easily add batteries to existing solar systems,” Brinkmeyer added.
In April, Enphase brought a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery storage solution to the French market. With the expected rise in electricity prices, the US-based group aims to promote storage solutions for installers and private individuals.
“In France, only five out of a hundred solar installations are equipped with a battery,” said Maâty Bouanane, Enphase’s French sales manager, in an interview pv-lehti France in March and stated that in Germany this proportion is 80 percent. “So the French market is in its infancy, but now is the right time to let installers get to know these technologies, which are very easy to use.”
Installers must complete certification training provided by Enphase to be qualified to install the battery.
On the other hand, the residential heat pump market in France is growing significantly. In 2022, approximately 550,000 heat pumps were sold, of which 346,700 were air/water heat pumps. This increase is due to the implementation of the RE2020 directive on January 1, 2022, according to which the total consumption of primary energy (including heating, domestic hot water, electricity for lighting and equipment) remains below 100 kWh/m² per year.
“The heat pump market in France is mature, with a very wide range of distributors and government incentives through direct subsidies and tax credits to encourage individuals to equip themselves,” said Jouannic.
LCP Delta expects more than one million heat pump installations per year.
“It seems that developers are favoring photovoltaic solar heat pumps in new buildings because the carbon intensity of electricity in France is not high,” said LCP Delta. “In the second phase, however, we expect the heat pump market for private homes to be a growth vector for rooftop solar power, as this connection is a logical continuation.”