With phenomena like Brexit & Pokemania it’s easy to ignore the shift happening in global energy networks which mean important benefits for us all. The majority of a homeowners’ electricity demand can now be provided by solar thanks to steps forward in performance, lifetime & cost.
Lithium batteries are 90% cheaper than in 1990 and last longer than 10 years! Welcome to the store-age!
Storage technology has developed so much that in 2015, over a third (41%) of all solar systems installed by German homeowners were tied with battery storage. As noted by analysts at Greentech Media “The future of Germany’s energy storage market is bright, and the solar market will surely benefit as storage prices decline.” The UK will follow Germany’s lead.
Storage cuts the electricity bill
Solar with storage can dramatically reduce a homeowner’s dependence on their supplier for their electricity. We all know that solar panels on your roof generate clean energy; however until recently there has not been a way to guarantee that homeowners can use that energy. A range of new storage devices mean this is no longer the case – a storage device in the home makes the clean energy available whenever you need it- no more timing the washing machine to run during daylight hours.
Most importantly for homeowners, storage means they can consume more of the solar energy generated by their panels. The experience of the UK’s first Tesla Powerwall customer illustrates this well.
After installing the much-hyped battery, the homeowner used a whopping 80% of the electricity generated by the panels on their roof during the last week of April 2016. Previously, the same family – who are not usually at home in the day so demand most electricity in the evening and on weekends – used around 20% of all the solar electricity their panels generated. (This varies from one home to the next depending on a variety of factors such as the size of the storage device.)
This diagram shows the sweet spot of the perfect solar and storage marriage. Combining solar and storage reduces the amount of electricity required from a supply company, which translates to hefty savings.
So why is a storage revolution happening now? There are two main reasons: solar and storage prices have hit a tipping point and storage device lifetimes are much longer, so they don’t need replacing as often. Your mobile phone battery might be good for 2 years. The latest good quality lithium batteries for use with solar panels are now warrantied for 10 years.
It’s widely known that the cost of solar PV has fallen dramatically. In fact, earlier this year Oxford University researchers asserted that costs are dropping so fast that solar will continue to decline at 10% per year. This means an average sized 3kWp system costs as little as £5000.
Storage prices have also plummeted by 90% since 1990, and consequently there are now a plethora of new storage devices to choose from. Since the launch of Tesla’s Powerwall last year, a range of storage devices for homes have hit the market from companies like LG, Enphase, Sonnen, SunAmp and Powervault. Consumers have choice, and professional installers select the right product for each householders needs.
Tesla is also not the only vehicle manufacturer in the market to launch a battery device for homeowners; Mercedes, BMW and Nissan are launching batteries for the home which can be charged during the day by solar panels on the roof, ready to offload to an electric vehicle in the evening. With this choice, it’s getting easier for homeowners to find a device that’s right for them.
What’s right for your home?
You could consider:
• What’s my budget?
• If I look at when I use electricity, could I use more of the solar power from my solar roof system if I get an energy storage device?
• How important is it for me to become energy independent i.e. less reliant on my electricity supplier?
Storage in 2016
Analysts IHS predict that the global energy storage market will double this year as homes, businesses and utilities adopt energy storage. “Energy storage is set to grow as fast as solar photovoltaic energy has in recent years,” according to Marianne Boust, an IHS principal analyst.
If these predictions ring true, you could find yourself shopping for a storage system much sooner than you thought.
7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption
Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.
This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?
Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.
New Technologies to Watch
These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:
- Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
- Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
- New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
- Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
- Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
- The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
- Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.
Making the Investment
All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.
Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis
Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.
Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?”
Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.
Tip #1: Focus & Determination
Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.
Tip #2: Minimize Spending
One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!
Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal
You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.
Investing in Clean Energy
One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.
With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.
The Future of Green Biz
As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.
Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.
In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!