Friday, November 13, 2015

Energy Central

I have recently discovered Energy Central as a collector of news that might concern me for innovation in residential energy conservation. I have had free access to their Professional writings for thirty days, ending today. I must choose whether to spend $297 per year for this access. And, I choose, no. As a veteran of the commercial nuclear power industry, I am strongly opposed to all operation of commercial nuclear power plants, and was dismayed to find Energy Central uncritical of nuclear. That is enough reason to walk.

I did find something interesting today, for my quest of solar for all , off-grid, serving disaster preparedness, a small DC system for DC LED lighting and charging of personal electronics. Attribution is to

Follow the Energy Central link, and subscribe if you will. If not already a Energy Central Professional subscriber, I believe you, too, will be offered a free trial. Know that Sunverge innovation is in Australia.
Sunverge Is On A Mission To Marry Solar Power And Energy Storage
At the Energy Storage North America conference in San Diego last month, the floor was packed with vendors.

Nov. 12 -
    At the Energy Storage North America conference in San Diego last month, the floor was packed with vendors. One of them was Sunverge, and they were interesting because they were focused not only on the issue of on-premise storage, but specifically how to combine solar power and storage together. Sunverge currently manages 5.3 megawatt-hours (MWh) of distributed storage, combined with 1.9 MW of solar.
    This solar/storage hybrid is a theme that is getting a lot more play around the world these days, as regulatory environments change for solar while the costs of both solar and storage continue to decline (having entered later in the game, storage costs have a lot further to go, but they are following a similar trajectory to that of solar).
    That regulatory environment will likely be a critical driver of storage adoption rates. As solar penetration rates increase, rules related to solar feed-in tariffs or net metering will continue to change. Countries such as Germany are reducing feed-in tariffs that once paid individuals a handsome price for all of the power produced on a rooftop. Now, with the delta between the price paid for electricity from the grid and the price received for exporting surplus solar power to the grid, it starts to make more sense to store energy on site, for deferred consumption at a later time when the solar panels are not producing.
    In Australia, for example, it is estimated that buying power from the grid can be three to times more expensive than the value of locally generated solar power exported to the grid. With those kind of economics, storage and self-consumption (what Rocky Mountain Institute refers to as 'load defection') makes economic sense.
    Meanwhile, in the U.S., Hawaii's Public Utility Commission recently enacted an order eliminating the net metering option (under which the solar producer is credited the retail rate for each kilowatt-hour of surplus exported to the grid). With the new ruling, the exported solar is valued at approximately half the retail rate. This change hurts the economics of solar energy, but boosts the potential value of storage, since one can effectively double the value of every kilowatt-hour of solar power stored and consumed on site (compared with selling it back into the grid).
    Of course the economics ultimately depend upon a variety of factors, including costs of installed systems, retail rates, and the amount of energy that can be stored. But the trends are moving in favor of ever more solar and storage combinations, especially at the residential and SME ( Small and Medium Enterprises) level, which is where Sunverge has staked its claim.

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