If you have been following along with the rise of home batteries, solar power and electric vehicles you might have, by now, thought to yourself, ‘Exactly how green is all this?’.
Obviously, in comparison to burning tonnes of heavy fuels the ‘renewable revolution’ is a great alternative. But, what about the millions of silicon cells, lithium batteries that have been produced, used and then discarded?
Well, it looks like we may have the answer, for at least one of these questions anyway. According to a report conducted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, around one-third of all lithium batteries produced for electric vehicles will be recycled.
I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, there aren’t many options for a retired, high voltage lithium ion battery. However, there is one option for discarded batteries that seems to be a perfect fit, powering your home alongside solar energy.
The report has given an estimate that by 2025 there will have been 29-gigawatt hours of used electric batteries intended for electric vehicles, like the Tesla Model S through to X.
So, if you do the simple math that means there will be 10-gigawatt hours set aside for recycling. To put this into perspective 10-gigawatt hours is enough to power roughly 1.65 million homes or replace around 10 fossil fuel plants.
Well, isn’t that nifty?
For now, the cost to recycle such batteries is rather high given that there isn’t a huge demand for electric vehicles (not until Tesla and other competitors release their affordable models), let alone batteries that have been in use for 8-10 years already.
However as the report suggest, by 2025 production will be in full swing and there will be plenty of lithium to go around, it’ll be just like the 20th century.
On a serious note, as battery recycling ramps up, the cost of doing so will significantly drop. This could help drop battery prices even further, however, by 2025 the cost of homes batteries should be a fraction of today’s expense.
Before you rush down to the comment section to tell us that recycled batteries would be worthless and your thinking something like,'If they can’t power a car, how could they power your home?', give us a second.
Bloomberg estimates that recycled batteries will actually possess around 70% of their original capacity and efficiency. That isn’t enough to power a car, which goes through countless cycles, alongside the grid and solar power it would be enough to help power your home.
Here’s the kicker.
Researchers predict that used batteries will cost as little as $49 per kWh in the future.
On top of that, it will simply be more sustainable in the long run which is sort of what this whole green tech thing is about. Well, that and independence from energy providers, slashed expenses and having a secure energy resource regardless of your finances.
But I mean, imagine getting a 10kWh battery system capable of powering your home through the night for a slick price of $490.00?
Pretty cool, huh.
For anyone who is reading this and thinking, ‘Well, why should I purchase battery storage now when I can wait and pay pennies on the dollar’, consider this.
Well, first of all, these are second-hand batteries with a high rate of failure and reduced efficiency as mentioned above. But, more importantly, if you were to purchase a system now, it will cost you around $7500 and would save you over $700 a year.
If you consider that you could either purchase a battery now, and in ten years own it, or pay electricity bills and wait another decade before reconsidering… the choice is obvious.
But, for all those millennials that will start settling down around 2025, we envy your $500 recycled battery systems. Unfortunately for us, it’s more economical to get started earlier rather than later.