FRANKFURT, March 14 (Reuters) - Sales of batteries to store solar electricity at home could jump by 26% in Germany this year as more households opt for cheaper and renewable energy supplies, industry association BVES said on Thursday.

German households have 3.7 million rooftop solar photovoltaic systems installed that produce power at home, data from national solar association BSW showed last month, highlighting that the potential market size is growing.

"The trend to self sufficiency and to safeguarding supply is driving the installation of energy storage systems in buildings and private households," said BVES, presenting an industry-commissioned study undertaken by advisory group 3Energie Consulting.(3EC)

The consultancy forecast sales of electricity batteries at 4.8 billion euros ($5.25 billion) in 2024, up from 3.8 billion 2023, which exceeded 2022's number by 124%.

Before residential batteries were available to store home-produced energy, electricity from photovoltaic panels went exclusively to the grid.

But now more families, typically in detached homes, are buying batteries as they become cheaper with economies of scale.

BSW put battery ownership at 1.2 million in January 2024, and 3EC said it was possible that 2.0 million will be reached in the full year 2024.

Homeowners' desire to become independent from centralised suppliers is also driving sales as well as the availability of heat pumps and electric cars that can be powered with home-produced electricity.

Home storage also includes heat and hydrogen applications, where 3EC also forecasts growth, but noted that tight availability of labour supply to install the hardware was a problem in all storage areas.

Leading home battery vendors in Germany include sonnen, owned by Shell, Solarwatt, E3/DC, Senec, LG Chem and Tesla. ($1 = 0.9144 euros) (Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Jane Merriman)