In 2016, more solar generating capacity was installed than any other fuel source. Because of the low cost of solar-generated electricity, installations of both utilities and customer owned rooftop systems (residential and commercial), are growing rapidly. Unfortunately, changes to net metering and revised electric rates (such as demand charges) are making battery storage systems more compelling for “behind the meter” (BTM) applications that are not owned by utilities.
However, BTM solar and storage systems are still expensive and complicated. Inverters, charge controllers and battery subsystems are generally not factory-integrated. The software necessary to operate these components in a way that maximizes the economic benefits for homeowners requires knowledge of local electric rates, battery charge-discharge-longevity characteristics and instantaneous home electric usage — not to mention customer energy use preferences. And National Electric Code limitations on “plug-in” power sources must be considered for safe installations.
Nevertheless, the demand for an affordable plug and play home solar and storage system is almost unlimited. My special guest on this week’s Energy Show is Chris Estes, co-founder and CEO of Solpad. Their first product, Solpad, combines a high-capacity battery pack, inverter, solar panel and software all in one easy to use portable package. To find out more about the plug and play potential of Solpad, please Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World.