Battery storage paired with residential rooftop solar arrays are not a thing of the distant future. It’s happening now and companies like SunPower and SolarCity are already selling package systems.
SolarCity partnered with Tesla to manufacture a lithium-ion battery storage system. In a pilot program, SolarCity is offering the battery setup to California customers for $1,500 down and $15 a month on a 10-year lease agreement.
Currently, the pilot system is only set up to work as a battery backup in case power goes out.
However, SolarCity is working to integrate rooftop solar arrays, battery storage and an advanced home energy management system to work together so system owners could use their smartphones and tablets to monitor energy generation and consumption and dispatch stored power at the most cost-effective times.
As most major US utility companies, in their concern over self-preservation, try in vane to squash net metering programs and slow the growth of the solar industry, NRG is innovating and evolving.
NRG is not a cute little clean energy startup out to save the world. It’s the largest power generator in the country. In addition to directly serving electricity customers coast to coast, NRG is a major electricity wholesaler, providing power to other utility companies for a price.
The solar leasing model, which is widely believed to have made rooftop solar installations more mainstream and which is frequently credited for the meteoric rise in residential solar installations, could be losing market share.
GTM Research released a report earlier this week announcing that the leasing model is peaking this year.
Currently, about 68 percent of Americans who install rooftop solar panels on their homes or businesses lease them or sign a power purchase agreement with a third-party owner.
Sunrun, a solar leasing company, has issued numerous reports over the years indicating that the model, which doesn’t require much and sometimes any money at all upfront, has opened solar up to the middle class. The middle class, as a result of third-party-owned solar, now dominates the demographics of households that install solar systems.
There has been a lot of discussion lately about when solar will be more affordable than grid power. What if someone with deep pockets, big ambitions and the appropriate supply line just committed to making it happen? What would happen then?
We’re about to find out.