How people power their lives is evolving rapidly and solar power is at the very center of the revolution. In fact, solar was a very early player in the shift toward personal energy generation. We were the first to offer consumers a genuine choice of where, how and what kind of (green) electricity they could buy.
Today, people’s consumption patterns are also evolving. The proliferation of new technologies, like electric cars or liberal work-from-home programs, are completely changing decades of predictable supply and demand patterns.
Amidst all this change, solar cannot stand alone. New, complimentary technologies and rate programs are being developed and those people who are willing to get involved will soon have even more visibility and control over their personal energy consumption.
So, as we continue designing the future of energy, we would like to offer a peak behind our technology curtain. While we can’t share everything in detail, here are three major development trends you will see from the solar industry in the coming years.
1. Next generation systems will be smarter and more interactive: We refer to this approach as “smart solar” and these systems will include things like intelligent inverters, demand mitigation devices, and high efficiency AC systems—all networked and accessible to the homeowner online or through a smart phone. The idea is to empower homeowners to keep as much solar-generated energy inside the home, rather than sending excess electrons back into the utility grid.
2. Those who engage with their personal energy use will save big: Utilities want your help to manage electrical demand. The more customers can keep bursts of short-term, excessive energy consumption to a minimum, the more the utilities are prepared to reward those efforts. The tools described above, as part of the “smart solar” ecosystem, will enable customers to tap directly into the savings potential of these demand-based rate plans.
3. Energy storage will bring the promise of solar full circle: Batteries and other new energy storage technologies extend the benefits of a rooftop solar throughout a full 24-hour day. Once people can use their excess solar electricity after the sun goes down, the utility grid can be relegated exclusively to back-up duty. Innovation is happening very quickly in this category and while we’re not quite there yet, battery capacity and cost is getting within a few years of being truly competitive.
There are many more technologies in development that I couldn't possibly begin to outline in the context of this short blog. After all, there’s more investment resources flowing into renewable energy than ever before.
The most important takeaway is that solar is here to stay. Thanks to solar, people will soon have many more options for what kind of energy they buy and from where they buy it. As such, solar stands as a shining example of our free market at work and perfectly demonstrates how disruptive technology can spur innovation.
If you're interested in learning more about making the switch to solar energy, you can download our exclusive solar whitepaper. We invite you to download the whitepaper, and if you're interested, request a custom solar quote from one of our solar experts today.