Residential Solar Generation and Energy Storage Market Heats Up

Solar company Sunrun and energy storage firm Outback pilot residential renewable energy storage systems.
Published: Fri 14 Nov 2014

Solar power company Sunrun and energy storage provider Outback have joined to carry out a pilot project which involves providing energy storage for a few of the 30,000 Sunrun solar power customers.

Only last week, we wrote about Micro inverter innovator Enphase Energy which announced its entrance in the commercial and home energy storage market. [Engerati-Enphase Enters Solar Space With A Battery Storage and Energy Management System.] Add to this Juicebox’s solar energy storage system which is already taking advanced orders. [Engerati – JuiceBox’s Solar Energy Storage System Gives Customers More Control.]

Added value for home solar

Weather-resistant batteries and inverters will be tested with some home solar systems. If the pilot proves to be successful, it may pave the way for further growth in the residential energy storage market.

“OutBack’s energy storage-backed systems have earned longstanding confidence from our customers, such as the residential solar company, Sunrun. We know our dependable reputation and high quality products will translate into peace of mind and added value for their home solar customers,” explains Harvey Wilkinson, general manager of OutBack Power.

"Recent developments in utility and government incentive policies have encouraged our partners to look to smart, hybrid systems with energy storage capabilities as the next logical step in expanding their offerings to consumers," adds Wilkinson.

“It is now more affordable than ever for consumers to run their homes with clean power, and we strongly believe that the next evolution of solar as a service for our customers is home solar paired with energy storage," said Sunrun's chief operating officer, Paul Winnowski. "With OutBack Power, we will further our commitment to providing customized and affordable home solar that allows customers to be a part of the solution for building a clean, modern grid that provides power when it is needed the most."

Its head office located in Arlington, Washington, Outback Power is a private company which was founded 13 years ago by three engineers. In the beginning, they focused on making electric products suitable for those consumers living in remote areas. The company also focuses on manufacturing off-grid and grid-tied inverters with battery backup, as well as batteries and charge controllers.

Sunrun, the largest dedicated residential solar company in the US, is a pioneer in solar leasing. Their customers rent the solar power systems from them and customers enjoy lower energy bills in exchange for hosting the solar panels. The company was founded in 2007.

Based on results of the pilot, Sunrun plans to offer consumers additional options for when and how they use the solar power from their Sunrun solar system. With energy storage, homeowners who have rooftop solar are able to enjoy clean power during the day and tap stored solar energy to power their homes at night or during rainy or cloudy days when their solar system may be producing less electricity. The program builds upon Sunrun's commitment to providing consumers with clean, less expensive renewable energy customized for their home and lifestyle and OutBack Power's leadership in reliable, off-grid technology.

Energy storage market growing fast

The energy storage market is estimated to reach US$50 billion by 2020. It is therefore obvious why energy storage for residential and commercial renewable energy will more than likely track with the development of solar and wind power. The US currently only generates about 1% of its electricity from solar power, but that amount is expected to grow significantly and it seems as if energy storage will grow along with it, even if it is at a slower rate.

Home and commercial power generation and energy storage is gaining interest amongst residential consumers at a rapid rate for a number of reasons- the main ones including lower electricity bills, the development of a smart home for investment purposes, energy independence and environmental concerns.

This is most certainly a market that utilities should be engaging in since opportunities could quickly become a threat to their business if overlooked. [Engerati – Residential Customers – A Critical Segment for Utility Survival Plans.]