Affordable solar-with-battery systems to disrupt the traditional energy market  

A report from the Rocky Mountain Institute in the United States highlights the potential for solar power system with battery backup options as a looming threat to the traditional energy market. The US, like Australia, is a burgeoning solar market and as technology continues to become more affordable and more consumers make the switch to solar power the inevitable market disruption draws nearer.

To date the cost of battery connected solar systems has been a threshold preventing widespread uptake. As technology progresses the grid-connected equipment (solar panels and inverters) have seen rapid price reductions making it a viable proposition with a modest return on investment.

With prices now dropping in the battery market the possibility of grid defection (disconnecting from the grid entirely) becomes a tantalising option. Battery connected solar power systems bring us a step closer to grid parity, the stage at which generating electricity through renewable means is of equal cost or less than drawing from the grid. The report claims, “Because grid parity arrives within the 30-year economic life of typical utility power assets, the days are numbered for traditional utility business models.”

Grid parity presents a number of challenges. Firstly, governments will likely review solar subsidies (this should sound familiar) and possibly remove incentives for potential solar customers. Additionally with increased solar power uptake comes an issue for the electricity utilities as they collect less revenue from energy consumption but maintain their static network maintenance costs (commonly and dramatically referred to as the Death Spiral).

Solar power system with batteries are not a prospect of the future, they are here now. Solar Sunwerx already stocks hybrid inverters capable of charging batteries throughout the day delivering electricity throughout the evening without drawing from the grid. Early adopters are the ones who will benefit the most, while the existing electricity network pivots to a new and fairer system of distributing energy.