The solar panel industry is growing as many businesses and homeowners are buying them to install on their rooftops. There are new startups coming on the scene with the sole purpose of creating products and services relevant to energy storage technology. When creating your own energy storage, you can create and store energy during the daytime sunlight hours and bank it for nighttime use. If you have more energy than you can use, you can send it back to the grid and get paid for it.
Smart Energy Systems
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There are several companies jumping into this solar industry. One of them is PROSOL Invest Deutschland, which presented its lithium-ion battery system in a U.S. solar trade event in San Francisco this year. The unique feature of this system is that it includes a wireless communication device that controls up to three home appliances. The communication control panel has the capability of interfacing with appliances that are connected via a Z-Wave plug. A small touch screen displays current solar energy production as well as how much is being consumed. So far the company has sold more than 1,200 systems in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The CEO of PROSOL is referring to it as a smart system rather than a backup power system, because of its flexibility and added functions.
Many solar manufacturers are marketing solar panels that can be paired with the electrical grid, but due to costly components they are still out of the reach of most homeowners. Batteries are very expensive, so in order to provide an incentive certain governments, such as Germany, are offering rebates and low interest loans to offset a portion of the initial cost and installation of the energy storage systems. Japan began an energy storage rebate plan following the Fukushima nuclear leak in 2011 and California is investigating adding energy storage to wind and solar energy generation.
Hopefully the prices will become attractive and more homeowners can enjoy the savings and flexibility of creating and storing their own energy.