More evidence emerged this week of the imminent arrival of the solar storage revolution. First was a report by the Deutsche Bank, the latest to predict that solar will become the dominant energy source by 2050, displacing other traditional energy such as fossil fuels.
“Over the next 20 years, we expect the electricity market to double to $US4 trillion and expect the solar industry to increase by a factor of 10. During this timeframe, the solar industry is expected to generate $5 trillion of cumulative revenue,” said the report.
The study sees solar expanding rapidly in developing countries such as India.
“By the year 2050, we expect global solar penetration rates to increase to 30%. We also see solar penetration rates increasing more rapidly in developing economies. India for example has recently announced targets to reach 100GW of solar capacity by 2022.”
The solar storage revolution
But it is affordable solar storage which the bank describes as being at the heart of the revolution. Calling it the “next killer app” because it will help with metering and accessing the grid, the bank states the importance of storage in the rapid expansion of solar power.
“We believe reduction(a) in solar storage costs could act as a significant catalyst for global solar adoption, particularly in high electricity markets such as Europe.”
Reinforcing the was an ABC article last week which quoted CQ University professor Peter Wolfs as saying his team was researching ways for people with solar power to access stored energy during natural disasters. As the recent cyclones in the North have shown, the loss of power is a major problem for those affected by these natural disasters.
However Professor Wolfs said it was possible for those with solar energy to disconnect from the grid during such times, thanks to solar energy and storage.
“You can separate your house. If you actually disconnect your house from the network during a power outage you can form what is called an island and you basically operate off your solar energy and your energy stored in a battery.”
Calling the falling price of the storage battery for electric cars the real “game changer”, he predicted that further drops in price will encourage more homeowners to add a battery component to their solar system.
“…the price of batteries has dropped steadily at about 10 to 15 per cent each year, so in a handful of years, three to four years, you’ll probably find there will be an increasing demand for batteries going into houses.”
So all signs point to a solar storage revolution at the vanguard of solar energy as the dominant power source of the future. The opportunities for Australia, with its wide open spaces and wealth of sunlight, are of course, endless. The chance to become a true renewable energy superpower (as Australia was once described by the Spanish Foreign Minister) may lie in investment in not just solar energy, both domestic and large array, but also in solar battery storage.
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