The New Year is upon us and so are residential batteries. By combining solar and advanced battery technology such as lithium ion with smart software, a residential energy management system can analyze and optimize a homeowner’s energy usage by balancing consumption of stored and renewable energy required to power a home while also reducing energy demand.
Advanced Battery Storage Technology For Homeowners
Storage batteries make it possible for homeowners to use stored solar energy during peak times when utility rates are at their highest, resulting in lower bills, or financial gain by selling their excess energy back to the utility. In light of all the changes imposed by utilities and regulatory agencies, this transformational storage technology provides consumers more choices and control in their efforts to save money and to help our environment by using renewable energy.
Another key benefit of battery storage is that it can help make a solar homeowner as close to being energy independent as possible and can minimize the effects on their energy bills of ever changing utility company rules, regulations and billing rates. Even without a solar power system, a residential battery can make sense for the homeowner by providing the capacity to store less expensive electricity for use during the peak periods.
The New Paradigm
No question that this new energy paradigm is a win-win for consumers as well as for its utilities and our environment. By investing in solar power coupled with energy storage and management systems, homeowners can help support the nation’s conservation efforts and reduce the impact of energy disruptions such as “brownout” or “blackout.”
It’s big business that is getting bigger. On a national scale, the U.S. energy storage industry includes hundreds of companies and thousands of American workers building commercial energy storage systems with substantial growth on the horizon. The market research firm IHS Markit projects that the energy storage market is set to expand from an initial base of only 0.34 GW installed in 2012 and 2013 to an annual installation size of six GW in 2017 and more than 40 GW by 2022.
Dollar-wise, an IMS Research report expects the market for storing power from solar panels – which was less than $200 million in 2012 – will catapult to $19 billion by 2017. New government programs, such as a push at the federal level to extend renewable energy subsidies, are projected to help fuel the increase.
Over The Next Decade
No wonder the industry is growing at a rapid pace. According to IHS Markit, over the next decade, lithium ion batteries will become the mainstream energy storage technology, with more than 80 percent of global energy storage installations including it by 2025. This year alone, the global energy storage market is expected to double, from 1.4 GWh added in 2015 to 2.9 GWh. Half of all energy storage installations will occur behind the meter, meaning in homes and businesses, driven by self-consumption and back-up needs.
The U.S. Department of Energy is on board. The growth and advancement of storage batteries is a priority of the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The agency recently announced $37 million in funding for 16 innovative projects as part of a new program paving the way for technologies that overcome the limitations of current battery and fuel cell products.
This is only the beginning and low costs, durability and efficiency will continue to drive the industry well into the future. Even as the debate over use of fossil fuels vs. renewables to generate electric power continues unabated, an emerging collaboration that combines solar power with advanced storage battery technology brings to the forefront a new energy paradigm that is gaining significant attention as a way to supplement the electric grid, reduce global warming, and protect our environment.
About the author: Jim Petersen is CEO of PetersenDean, which he founded in 1984. Fremont, CA-based PetersenDean is a full-service, privately-held roofing and solar company specializing in new residential and commercial construction.