In the near future, energy storage will be modular, and you’ll be able to order or rent energy storage modules when your electricity needs increase, if you have guests, for example.

You’ll likely pair the battery storage with solar PV or other forms of renewable energy, allowing you to store solar produced during the day for release at night, says Keith Cronin, instructor, along with Christopher Lord, of HeatSpring’s Solar Executive MBA Training course.

Smart Homes will Match Demand with Supply

You may have a smart home that allows you to control loads such as appliances or lights individually, creating opportunities for tailoring your demand to the capacity of your solar and storage system. You’ll be able to call your service provider and order another battery for your rack of batteries if you have guests and increased electricity demand.

“You could turn things on and off to match a specific load. That will translate to systems designed and sized right. This saves money and is smarter,” Cronin says.

Part of what’s driving this energy revolution is the booming demand for energy storage, paired with solar, says Cronin.

Explosion of Interest in Energy Storage

“In the last year, we’ve seen an explosion of interest in microgrids and distributed storage,” he says. One of the factors driving the interest is changes in net metering laws.

In Hawaii, for example, net metering was eliminated in 2015. The state has a goal of supplying electricity with 100% renewables, and part of its plan to meet that goal is to provide homeowners with solar and storage. In fact, distributed solar is an important strategy for Hawaiian Electric, representing the biggest portion of its progress in meeting the 100% renewables standards.

Time-of-Use Rates Offer Savings Opportunities

In addition, as utilities attempt to flatten their demand curves, storage will play a critical role, allowing customers to shave their peak energy usage. They would do this by storing energy during peak hours for release during off-peak hours. Some utilities provide incentives for this with time-of-use rates, says Cronin. For example, Southern California Edison (SCE) now has three residential rates under its time-of-use plan, 19, 24 and 42 cents/kWh, with the highest rate for on-peak hours.

Other reasons for the uptick in demand for energy storage are wildfires, along with public safety power shut offs, which aim to prevent utility equipment from sparking fires. In the fall, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)  implemented a number of these shut offs in its territory.

During a recent trip to Santa Rosa during a fire that blacked out the area, Cronin got a feel for the demand for storage.

Looking into the Eyes of People Enduring Blackouts

“People are looking for backup,” he says. “The blackout was very disruptive, especially for people with health related issues. Demand for backup systems outstripped supply because so many people wanted storage and generators.”

The blackouts spark emotion in people that drives them to take action quickly.

“I was up there for three months, got a feel for the people and saw the looks in their eyes,” he says.

With the fires, power shutoffs, new time-of-use rates and changes in net metering laws, demand for storage will continue to boom.

“A lot of companies are coming into the industry,  2020 will be a monster year for storage,” says Cronin.

How to Learn More

Get expert help formulating a plan to accelerate your future by joining Chris Lord and Keith Cronin in the Solar Executive MBA Training course. You’ll meet like-minded people and get direct access to the experts during the 6-week instructor led session. Chris and Keith will be in the course answering questions on the discussion board, reviewing and providing feedback on the required project work and hosting a weekly conference call. After the session ends you’ll continue to have access to the course materials for a full year. Enroll Today!

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