Lithium-ion batteries are here to stay. Use cases are growing every day. Cell pricing continues to decline and manufacturing is ramping up to meet global demand. At the same time, battery energy density continues to improve, and manufacturers are developing more cost‑effective packaging to reduce installation costs. And, finally, though current fire safety concerns are serious, they can be addressed with proper equipment selection, planning and engineering.
Any discussion about the future of lithium-ion technology typically starts with cost. In 2010, lithium battery pack pricing was around $1,200 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for large-scale storage configurations. As of early 2020, pack pricing was less than $160/kWh and continuing to decline.
The past and forward pricing curve for lithium-ion batteries — similar to the historic curve seen in the photovoltaic (PV) solar industry — has dropped rapidly and consistently over the past 10 years. Assuming a forward pricing curve for lithium-ion consistent with historic PV panel pricing, it is conceivable that lithium‑ion pack prices could fall below $100/KWh by 2024 and under $70/KWh by 2030. Unless there are breakthroughs in mining, the 2030 price point is approaching the cost of raw materials and will be driven predominately by demand for electric vehicles (EVs) as they become more predominant over internal combustion vehicles.