The home energy storage revolution is upon us. SunRun, a national full service solar power installer and financier, announced the first installation of their BrightBox product. BrightBox is a solar energy storage solution, utilizing a Tesla PowerWall, for your home that includes a solar system and solar battery. This is exciting because it adds to the list of big name installers and manufacturers of home battery systems that have begun installations – and continues the evolution of our power grid.
It seems as if battery systems are coming out of the woodwork as a result of the sexy image that Elon Musk and Tesla have nurtured over the last couple of years. We’ve seen volume on the floor of the Gigafactory. We saw Australia get their first PowerWall January. Shortly after that first install an advertisement for 15 positions in sales and operations popped up. The UK followed in early February. Later in February, we saw continued growth in volume going into Germany. In April, Tesla alerted the first US PowerWall customers that installations would begin in June. In South Africa, the PowerWalls are being networked with the nation power grid, so their charging can be scheduled in order to have a full charge before the utility’s scheduled power cuts.
Hawaii is a special place though. Their average cost of electricity is $.33/kWh – more than triple the US average of $.10/kwh. And supporting residential storage is going to be a political necessity if the utilities will be building their own .
From here on out, it will be of greater importance to see another group of market arrivals – manufacturers like Mercedes, Sonnen and yesterday Nissan. Mercedes home systems were launched in 2015. Sonnen outsold Tesla 2600-2500 in the first quarter in Germany. Just yesterday, Nissan announced it is coming to market with a vehicle to grid system (we know Tesla has been testing at least since 2007 and now we see SolarCity expanding its home energy systems, so fingers are crossed).
Kyle Bronstein, of Florida Renewable Energy, built the below system, a 10kW SolarWorld Solar System feeding a 60kWh Rolls Battery Bank, managed by 2 SMA Sunny Islands. Kyle said, “For this system the financial benefit is the homeowner not having to run his house off of a generator. He lives on an island where there isn’t a grid. Last year this system was $100,000 or more – today I was able to charge him only $56,000.”
All of this residential work is being complimented by a large scale commercial roll out as well. We saw the largest battery storage deal ever in late 2015 – a 1GWh LG Chem project announcement. Of course the Hawaii project above and a recent Connecticut announcement show SolarCity getting busy. We add this to the quickly ramping battery storage of cars that will soon be able to be tapped – and the game has changed.
Professional challengers, customer acceptance, falling prices (see great chart below) and Tesla ramping up means the home energy storage market is healthy.