Advancements in Solar Energy Storage Technology Are Driving the U.S. Market
A quiet revolution of sorts has been building over the last couple of years. Thanks to a variety of technological advances in everything from battery technology to the way in which solar power systems convert and store the sun’s energy, there is a boom happening in solar energy storage. The United States energy storage market just recorded its best ever quarter and its best ever overall year in 2015.
Energy storage technology seems to be making headway in its effort to catch up with the massive advancement that have been made in sustainable energy generation or conversion technology. A couple of decades ago solar cells were large, clunky, inefficient shadows of what they’ve become recently.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the last two years that solar energy storage seemed to make any real advancements toward catching up.
Everything Old Is New Again
This may seem somewhat counterintuitive to anyone only loosely following the development of the solar power industries. After all, it was only a couple of decades ago that it was almost unthinkable to install a home or small business solar power system without it including banks of batteries. Very few customers wanted to spend the money to get a system that was only usable during daylight hours.
Then came advancement in policy that allowed for net metering. This advancement incentivized a new generation of homeowners to install solar. They did so knowing that not only would they have access to sustainable power during the daylight hours, but that they would be adding any surplus power that they generated to the grid.
Furthermore, they knew they would be compensated for it. This led to a natural decline in the number of systems being installed with any storage capacity. In fact, up until recently the only systems being installed with storage were true off-grid systems far away from grid access.
Utilities and Governments
Changes in the rate structures of many utilities, and the chilling effect of at least one state reversing its net metering policy in favor of their state utility (Nevada) have had somewhat of a chilling effect on the enthusiasm that some feel for installing solar systems that integrated with the grid.
This has made the installation of on-site storage more attractive to many individuals. Further demand for advances in storage is coming from the utilities themselves as they get further invested in sustainable or renewable energy.
Between investment from high-profile sustainability movement figures like Elon Musk and Tesla motors, the rising demand from consumers for some kind of energy storage component to their solar power systems, and the push from utilities themselves to get into solar and other renewables, the rise in the U.S. energy storage market was all but a given.
[Photo via: Pixabay]