Battery storage is touted as being the next big energy revolution after efficient solar arrived around a decade ago. If this is anything like last time, in which global solar capacity skyrocketed from 4.1 GW in 2003 to 141 GW 2013, then we will be in for a ride.
Battery storage has gained a lot of attention in the past year, partly due to the increase in efficiency, cost being on the cusp of affordability and credit given to the Powerwall.
Unfortunately, the verdict is out as to whether battery storage will actually save you money at the current price point. Luckily, the price of battery storage is dropping at a cool ~20% year on year, meaning that we are edging ever closer to a clean utopian society.
Well maybe not, but it will mean that battery storage will help thousands save extra on their power bills, or become completely independent from the grid. This could also open the floodgates of the newly coined sharing economy, as electricity becomes a decentralised commodity.
Despite its many critics, consumers are flocking to the new technology, regardless of whether it will produce a sizeable return on investment or not. This may seem naive, but the industry is in need of an increase in desirability.
To put it one way, sometimes it is the cheaper option to use public transport but years of marketing have trained us to purchase flashy and often unnecessary vehicles. On the other, most prospective solar owners would most likely hire a data scientist to calculate down to the penny how much they will save over a 10 year period.
So when exactly will the scales tip? Well, it is a difficult thing to predict given that it is up to the companies who own the technology, however, Stefan Jarnason, the CEO of Solar Analytics predicts that by the end of 2016 installations will jump tenfold in comparison to 2015 figures.
For a sense of scale, around 4000 units were estimated to have been installed last year, Stefan believes that number will be closer to 40,000 in 6 months to 12 months time. This is a big jump and given how the economics of scale work, it will only be up from there.
The market shows this as well, as companies release more models and variations to keep up with the demand to be able to service everyone's unique situations. For example, one of the biggest issues was battery size, LG Chem has just released its RESU 48V and 400V battery.
This behemoth will have a run time of around ten hours, more or less the night time in its entirety. While in the past costs would be out of range for most people, we are edging closer to systems that incorporate batteries of this size being an affordable option.
If you consider that most families won’t use 9.8kWh a night, there is a chance that many will experience perpetual charge, in that their energy production will outperform their consumption.
This is an interesting concept, as it means energy will become abundant rather than scarce. Something only made possible by the arrival of affordable batteries in the coming months.