All the cool kids in solar town are talking about “Stationary Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Energy Storage Products,” or, as they’re more commonly known, batteries.
In fact, they’ve gotten a lot of attention in their brief history [Tesla started developing the technology in 2012]- at first promising independence from the power grid and, hence, a fully sustainable energy system. Five years later and the potential hasn’t, fully, materialized, for the average consumer. And the costs of energy storage combined with a solar system versus buying electricity off the grid may, or may not, make sense for most people.
Still- there has been a huge surge in sales of energy storage products in the last year. And the increase of energy storage, online, doubled from 2015 to 2016, according to powermag.com. But the growth is in the industrial sector- where utility companies, long-time opponents of renewable energy, are driving the market.
The utility companies are using energy storage products to allow their grids to become “more efficient, more cost effective, more sustainable and more resilient”, says Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of the Energy Storage Association. Though I’m doubtful utility costumers will see any benefit from the utility companies upgrading their systems.
Still, regardless of the application, a healthy growth in the energy storage product market will drive the advancement of its related technologies. And in the long run, everyone may benefit.