Battery storage capacity is growing by the day, and some say we’re going to see a 50-fold boom within a decade. With this much growth in the energy storage industry, prices will fall drastically. This means going off the grid will likely be cost-competitive with traditional grid connectivity within ten years.
The Rising Cost of Grid Electricity
Most of the United States have experienced large increases in electricity rates, especially in the last six years. The price increased by 3.1% from 2013 to 2014 alone--the steepest jump since 2008.
Why are electricity prices rising? There are a lot of reasons, actually. Most power companies purchase their electricity from wholesale markets, which are rising on a national level. But requirements to seek renewable energy sources has pushed power companies to rework their infrastructure, milking their customers for revenue, while pushing for demand-side efficiency.
The electricity industry must also invest in more advanced systems in the coming years, working to update an infrastructure that was built before the rise of the internet. The cost of this rebuild, along with the price of expanding renewable generating capacity, will inevitably fall on the shoulders of the grid-connected customer. Green-thinking states like California, who has set goals to greatly increase electricity generated from renewable power sources, have already announced the intention to hike electricity rates to fund these new projects.
Grid-Connected Solar Customers Paying the Price
Solar power is growing faster than any other energy sources, with the price of a typical solar panel dropping by 63% in the past five years. The fall in prices is bringing in a lot of new solar customers, with panels showing up on residential roofs all over the country. But most solar homes are still on the grid -- their homes need electricity when their panels aren’t generating any power, specifically, after dark. Still connected to the grid, solar customers are forced to deal with money-sucking power companies.
This is getting especially complicated in California, who has historically paid solar homeowners for the excess, unused energy they feed into the grid. Lately, power companies in California are arguing that solar users aren’t doing their part in paying for grid maintenance. They are still connected, after all. The fight could get ugly. That’s why some solar customers are getting out, and breaking free from the grid entirely.
The Freedom of Solar Energy Storage
Solar customers who have enjoyed the partial independence of producing their own energy during daylight hours have still been missing something: a home battery, and with it, the ability to store energy during the day to use at night. With energy storage systems like home batteries, solar customers no longer need to rely on the grid at night, when they often need power the most. This is where things really get good.
Using solar panels has been a great way to tap into a clean, renewable energy source. But home batteries revolutionize the entire solar industry. Energy storage lets homeowners take advantage of blackout protection, and the freedom of living off the grid, without having to sacrifice their lifestyle. Home batteries store energy during the day, when most customers aren’t even using the power generated by their solar photovoltaics. Energy storage owners come home to a home battery charged full of energy, ready for whatever evening has in store.
Here at Swell, we couldn’t be more excited to watch energy storage power us into the future.