Tuesday
December 12, 2017

Battery-Powered Homes Are Becoming Reality

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Battery-Powered Homes Are Becoming Reality

Your clients may one day live in a battery-powered home, and that’s getting closer to reality for homeowners in New York, California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Vermont, and Arizona. Many municipalities in those states are revamping their electrical grids and turning to batteries to make them more efficient. But the average homeowner likely won’t notice the change. Most plans call for batteries to be tucked into a sort of neighborhood junction box or behind a fence in a substation, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Batteries can harness renewable energy sources and make utility companies less reliant on more expensive forms of electricity when demand runs high. “Without batteries and other means of energy storage, the ability of utility companies to deliver power could eventually be threatened,” according to the Journal. “Solar power, especially, tends to generate electricity only at certain times—and it’s rarely in sync with a home’s needs.”

In the aftermath of recent hurricanes, companies such as Sonnen and Tesla helped keep homes powered using batteries, demonstrating the importance of freeing people from total dependence on the electrical grid during emergencies. They found that battery power worked particularly well when combined with rooftop solar panels. 

Real estate developer Mandalay Homes has announced plans to build up to 4,000 ultra-energy-efficient homes, which will feature 8 kilowatt-hour batteries from German manufacturer Sonnen. The bulk of the homes will be built in Prescott, Ariz. The development could be the largest home energy storage project in the country, Sonnen Senior Vice President Blake Richetta told the Journal.

In Vermont, Tesla Energy and Green Mountain Power have teamed up to offer 2,000 homeowners a Tesla Powerwall for $15 a month. The 13.5 kilowatt-hour batteries, which retail for $5,500, can be used when the electrical grid is strained at maximum capacity, saving utility companies from having to use pricier forms of electricity. Those savings could then be passed on to consumers.

Source: “Your Next Home Could Run on Batteries,” The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 15, 2017) [Log-in required.]