Solar panels and Batteries system
The second residential solar revolution has begun – home battery energy storage. Affordable solar + storage has arrived on our doorstep and Energy Matters Australia is ready to welcome it!
A Change On The Horizon
While the option to buy home energy storage has been possible for a number of years, prices of deep cycle batteries and other components required have been high, the equipment cumbersome and required a degree of knowledge to operate and maintain. This has meant residential energy storage has been largely confined to off-grid applications and storage enthusiasts up until now.
The rapid drop in prices and evolution of lithium-ion batteries and associated technology is changing all that. The new generation of solar energy storage is cheaper to buy, more cost-effective, streamlined and better looking.
Plug and play, set-and-forget solar battery power for homes such as Tesla Powerwall, sonnenBatterie Eco and Enphase AC Battery will become an increasingly common sight in solar households and smart homes around Australia.
A Bit Of Battery History
Lead-acid based deep cycle battery technology has been around for over 100 years, but in the 1970’s British chemist Stan Whittingham and his Stanford University colleagues discovered a way to make an electrode that could store lithium ions within layers of titanium sulfide – and in a way that a battery could be rechargeable.
However, the batteries also had a tendency to vent (basically, explode). Even if this didn’t occur, the batteries would rapidly break down.
In 1980, John Bannister Goodenough found a cobalt-oxide cathode to be more stable and able to store twice to three times the energy of any other rechargeable room-temperature battery. As a result, smaller batteries could be made.
Today, while lithium-ion battery technology has evolved, the lithium-cobalt-oxide cathode remains a crucial component in most of these batteries.
It’s for this reason Goodenough has been hailed an energy storage super-hero. It didn’t make him a particularly famous or rich one though – he’s reportedly never received a cent of royalties for his efforts. True to his super-hero status and even at the age of 92, Mr. Goodenough is continuing to work in the field.
Advantages Of Lithium-ion Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries power all sorts of devices – power tools, notebook computers, tablets, cell phones and electric cars. They have some distinct advantages over wet-cell lead acid batteries, such as you’d find in your car.
- Higher energy density
- Lower self-discharge
- Lower maintenance
- No “memory effect”
- Increased cycle life