Residential solar energy is a growing trend across the United States, with usage increasing about 20% annually for the past 15 years. In an increase of over 40% from the previous year, an estimated 32,800 facilities took advantage of commercial solar energy in 2013. Residential solar power systems are getting less expensive, too. The cost of solar panels today is about half of what it was in 2008, and has dropped approximately 100 times over since 1977. Currently, an estimated 2,206 companies in the United States offer installation of residential solar systems.
But even with all this growth and increasing value, residents with solar energy are still relying on the utility companies for power at night, due to the lack of a constant energy storage option. That drawback might be changing sooner than expected.
Aquion Energy, Inc., has just announced that they have signed an agreement to supply a one megawatt-hour battery to Hawaiian estate Bakken Hale, as part of an off-grid solar photovoltaic micro-grid. The battery is expected to charge from residential solar panels all day, drawing energy from the sun, then discharge power for use at night. The utilization of this system allows Bakken Hale to operate exclusively on solar power.
The Aquion battery setup could revolutionize residential solar power systems.
“I want to demonstrate that using a solar and battery-powered micro-grid is our best solution now. This installation will enable us to meet our around-the-clock power needs with solar generation and will reduce our fossil fuel usage by 97 percent. We were drawn to Aquion’s battery products because they are non-toxic, environmentally friendly and long-lasting,” Earl Bakken, founder of Medtronic, Inc. and owner of Bakken Hale told SolarServer.
With cost-effective energy storage entering the mainstream, solar energy technology could be changed forever. No longer will people have to depend on utility companies for nighttime electricity. Outdated systems of providing energy will fall by the wayside, ushering humanity into a brighter, greener, solar-powered future.