And if Tesla’s gigafactory ultimately pays off, storing clean electricity could become ridiculously affordable.
We’re not quite there yet. Prices are falling. Not quickly enough for some, while others have managed to make solar storage work.
Case in point is 71-year-old Cassina Tarsia.
She wanted an affordable way to store clean electricity from her solar panels in order to charge her cell phone and wheelchair during blackouts. Tarsia explains, “I think about what will happen in a big earthquake and what happened in Japan with the tsunami.” She adds, “I wanted to be prepared.”
Why Use Solar Batteries Instead of Net Metering?
Normally, one would simply use net metering as virtual storage for solar energy. But Tarsia wanted 24/7, uninterrupted power for emergencies. So she invested in a $5,000 microgrid just to be safe.
About the size of a small suitcase, this special battery not only provides her with secure electricity for her wheelchair. It also stores enough power to charge her electric vehicle and run all of the major appliances within her home (at night and during blackouts).
Now, $5000 isn’t cheap. Especially when you consider that enrolling in net metering provides you with free (and profitable) virtual storage for your solar panels’ clean electricity. But for Tarsia, it’s a small price to pay for the added security.
And she’s not alone.
Solar Power Storage on the Rise across the Country
Nationwide spending on microgrid projects exceeded $4 billion last year. And by 2020, the solar storage industry could approach $20 billion. Helping to drive this trend are:
- Emergency services that need round-the-clock power (hospitals, certain city services, etc.).
- Remote homes and businesses that are too far from the utility grid to make net metering feasible.
- Senior and disabled citizens like Tarsia who need uninterrupted power – no matter what.
And this trend will only grow faster as America’s energy infrastructure continues to crumble. Why rely on centralized utility networks when solar storage allows for truly distributed energy generation – devoid of blackouts?
And don’t forget, $5,000 is what you’d pay for residential solar storage today. As battery technology continues to improve, you can expect prices to plummet – especially with Tesla taking the lead.
When this happens, renewable energy will be truly democratized. Those who want to can continue relying on the utility network. But when you can create, store, and share your own clean electricity, the entire utility grid model will likely become obsolete.
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