Energy storage is one of the most efficient ways to maximize energy usage. With renewable energy systems, you sometimes run the risk of leaving yourself short on energy supplies. Since renewable energy relies heavily on weather conditions, it can be difficult to maximize your energy output. In particularly tough times, this may even cause you to lose energy completely.
This is where energy storage comes in. Storing your excess energy allows your solar system to become even more efficient and effective. Whether you’re getting your energy from renewables or not, being equipped with excess energy in times of need will be beneficial.
Energy storage technology has improved rapidly in recent times and so too have the incentives. At high demand times when energy is needed the most, energy storage could get you out of a tight spot. Here are some of the top energy storage companies to look out for if you’re considering installing an energy storage system alongside your solar panels:
Sonnen uses lithium iron phosphate battery technology. This means Sonnen provides one of the safest, longest lasting, and most reliable batteries on the market. Developed in Germany, this energy storage system comprises an energy manager, inverter, power measurement technology, and software to control the system. The product has sensors to detect power outages in real time, automatically switching you over to battery power in the event of an outage.
Aquion Energy have come up with a unique energy storage system based on saltwater batteries. The battery is environmentally safe, using low cost manufacturing techniques. The battery is suitable for small residential power users, as well as demanding commercial energy storage users. The batteries are also non-toxic, non-flammable, and chemically stable, unlike some of the more popular lithium ion batteries. The batteries are extremely reliable and do not require any maintenance at all.
Sunverge’s battery system provides 7.7kWh to 19.4 kWh of energy storage and includes a smartphone app so consumers can view their stored energy. Sunverge system costs vary from $8,000 to $20,000 depending on the customer’s system size requirements. Sunverge is an up-and-coming battery storage system with the potential to make a significant market impact in the near future.
Tesla is changing the way batteries are used in both home and utility environments. The Tesla Powerwall uses lithium ion battery technology and has several different energy storage properties. Lithium ion batteries are regarded as superior due to their high energy storage capacity and their ability to charge much faster than traditional energy storage batteries. Lithium ion batteries also have a longer lifespan than lead acid batteries and can be discharged down to 80% without damaging the system itself.
Pellion is an MIT start up claiming to be the new innovator in energy storage technology. Although the company only has a short history with the energy industry, they have already penetrated the market with a series of breakthroughs involving materials, chemistry, and battery cell design using magnesium ion. Pellion Technologies claims that the advantage of magnesium is a higher energy storage density than competitors. The capacity of magnesium is 1,000 watt hours per liter - which is 5 times the watt hours per liter compared to lithium ion. Although Pellion Technology’s systems are only in the prototype stage, once they reach commercial production, their technology could be a game changer for the industry.
Nissan offers rechargeable battery solutions that hold 4.2kWh of energy. The company’s xStorage began in the UK when they created a sustainable battery provider by using old battery cells. The company claims that xStorage is able to control when grid energy is used, in order to reduce consumption during peak hours. This helps consumers to reduce their electricity cost.
Mercedes-Benz, in collaboration with Vivint Solar, is developing an energy storage system that can hold a maximum of 20 kWh, covering any household energy needs. This system is set to compete with Tesla’s Powerwall lithium ion energy storage system in terms of both efficiency and price. Vivint Solar’s system is designed as backup power, for use in the event of a power outage, but it can also be used to minimize energy costs. During the day, generated solar energy is stored in the battery and then, at peak nighttime hours, the excess solar energy, stored earlier, is used — covering those times when electricity rates are generally higher.
Seeo is a Californian startup that is working on a solid-state battery technology. They have developed a new generation of lithium ion battery that is based on nano-structured non-flammable polymer electrolytes. This new type of battery is called DryLyte — it is unique in the sense that energy density performance in a solid state is optimized. This allows for a safer, more reliable, and longer-lasting technology than most existing lithium ion batteries on the market today. Currently, the company is looking into electric vehicles and grid energy storage markets as potential avenues to make their mark in the renewable energy industry.
By Kasey Liu