The next big thing is residential solar is energy storage – and here are a few products that are set to hit the market reasonably soon.
In June, Hanwha SolarOne announced a partnership to develop a complete solar power and energy storage system for the residential market; Kyocera said it will incorporate lithium-ion batteries into energy storage for home solar power systems, and Panasonic Corporation also announced its own lithium-ion battery system for residential applications. Other manufacturers are eyeing this potentially massive market too.
As with any new technology, initially these battery systems will be expensive – but as we saw with solar panels, prices can drop dramatically and quickly.
The evolution and uptake of battery technologies such as LiFePO4 (lithium iron phosphate) is picking up pace as prices drop, to the point these batteries are already being trialed by some pioneering off-gridders in Australia.
So it seems that the prospect of cheap battery storage systems is something else those installing solar panels now can look forward to in the future to help further rein in electricity bills – or perhaps even wave bye-bye to the mains grid altogether.