In the past few weeks, there’s been a battery of new studies on batteries. Not the kind in your cellphone, but a much more revolutionary make – the kind that is already powering many cars, and that might someday help power your home.
A recent study in Energy Policy, for instance, found that the cost of batteries for home systems (to store the energy collected by rooftop solar panels) is starting to decline – although even with these systems, it probably won’t be economically optimal for most people to ditch the grid entirely. Another report by the Rocky Mountain Institute similarly found that within 10 to 15 years in some places, the most economical choice for home energy could be a solar plus battery system, meaning that there could be a great deal of “load defection” from the traditional electricity grid.
Finally, a new study in Nature Climate Change documented that there has been a steep decline in the cost of lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles like Teslas – 14 percent per year plunge since 2007.
All of which is being hailed as pretty revolutionary. “Solar-plus-batteries is set to begin a dramatic transformation of human civilization,” wrote Bloomberg commentator Noah Smith recently, commenting not only on the declining price of batteries for electric vehicles, but also the potential for more batteries in homes.
But there’s a need for caution. People with home battery systems paired with solar panels certainly exist, but are quite rare for the moment. One problem is that right now, there just aren’t many ways to make a home energy storage system investment pay off.
So why do some analysts nonetheless think that solar plus battery systems could become quite prevalent in homes, and maybe sooner than we think?
Read more: Washington Post