Solar power is taking off in a big way as more and more Americans turn to renewable energy sources. However, the tech isn’t without its flaws. One of the main problems is that solar panels only generate power at certain times, and those times aren’t always in line with the needs of homeowners. Some states, such as California and Arizona, see an abundance of solar energy produced during the day, but that production falls off in the evening when power usage is at its highest. This can be a problem for both consumers and utility companies alike. That doesn’t mean there aren’t solutions to this problem. There are consumers who rely on such solutions every day to power their smartphones. We’re talking about batteries, of course.
The Wall Street Journal reported a rise in a number of start-ups supplying solar-powered batteries to utility companies and homeowners. These batteries have the possibility of saving consumers money in the long term, though “for the overwhelming majority of homeowners, the payback on a solar power system with battery storage could take decades.”
That’s not to say that solar-powered batteries are without benefits. The most obvious use for them would be to function as generators in the event that your power goes out thanks to a disaster or other disruption in service. During the fallout from Irma, Fast Company reported on the benefits of such batteries.
“We didn’t have full power — we couldn’t have the whole house running — but we cut it down to the bare minimum, like air conditioning, refrigeration, internet, that sort of thing,” said Andy Green, of Orlando, Florida, who had a Telsa Powerwall battery installed in his home.
Beyond those practical benefits, the WSJ cited the “American” appeal of such batteries, despite the fact that Europe is heavily embracing such technologies, by discussing the fact that these promote independence and decreases people’s reliance on the grid.
While these batteries still have a long way to go, there are some developments that are embracing them. Mandalay Homes has announced a plan to build 4,000 energy-efficient homes that will feature 8 kilowatt-hour batteries from battery make Sonnen. It is clear that these technologies have a long way to go, but they are becoming more and more common.