Well, my family and I got through another big northeastern storm without any damage or power outage. But we were lucky. More than 100,000 in Massachusetts alone are still without power, and some may not have electricity for days.
Storms like the blizzard Nemo and Hurricane Sandy are taking their toll on people’s energy-dependent psyches. More and more who can afford it purchase generators, and still others contemplate using solar photovoltaic panels to power their homes if needed.
The problem with solar, though, is that unless you have batteries to store the energy generated, the system is tied to the electric grid to sell back the power you’re not using to the utility, and your whole system will shut down along with the power to prevent dangerous backfeeding on the power lines.
We’re seeing energy storage systems that work with solar, wind and generators such as RoseWater’s Energy Storage Hub and NewPower’s Emergency Back-up Power System, though at $30,000 to $45,000, the prices are steep. This is something for businesses or very upscale homes.
Systems like these can store several hours of backup energy produced by the solar system or generator, powering most of the circuits in your building, much like a straight generator hook up.
Efficiency Becomes More Vital
Even with all of this redundant storage, there is still a need for greater energy efficiency inside a home or business. If certain circuits are powered in your home or business for emergency backup, and you only have so much energy stored in batteries, energy conservation becomes even more vital.
That’s why it’s wise to sell these systems along with an energy management system within a home or business, so lights or other devices can be powered down if battery storage levels are low. That’s what happens in this off-the-grid home that relies on solar storage and control systems.
The moral: Don’t stop just by selling a cool power storage system that will allow people to use energy when the power is out. Sell efficiency inside a home or business as well, and they will get even more out of these systems. That can include building management systems, home control, energy monitoring, lighting control, occupancy sensing, plug control so devices can be turned off, motorized window and shade control, A/V rack control and monitoring through IP-addressable power conditioning systems. The list goes on and on.
There is a blizzard of efficiency opportunities for the extreme weather many climatologists expect us to experience with greater and greater frequency. Power storage and solar systems are perfect entry points to these. Don’t stop at them.