A major shift in the way that we produce and store energy has begun. Electric vehicles and solar-powered homes are changing the way we produce and store electricity.
Although both solar power generation and EV (electric vehicle) production remain very small parts of their respective industries, they are both experiencing rapid growth. In fact, it would be a safe bet to expect these two emerging industries to be common-place in the next 10 to 20 years. It won’t be strange to see solar-powered homes with EVs parked in driveways everywhere you look.
These two emerging technologies represent a changing paradigm in how we will generate and store energy.
First of all, residential solar power represents a truly massive transformation in the way that electricity is produced. For the first time ever, the general population can now produce the power that they need. The monopoly on energy production is beginning to erode. We are witnessing the democratization of energy production.
A glaring problem so far with solar power is the obvious fact that we only have access to it during prime daylight hours. This is where electric vehicles can play a part. EVs contain battery packs large enough to store significant amounts of energy. The average American household uses about 30 kilowatt hours of electricity every day. Many EVs contain 30kWh battery packs and larger EVs like the Tesla Model S boasts 65kWh or 85kWh battery packs. This represents more than a day’s amount of emergency energy, if needed.
Electric vehicles are actually fairly grid-friendly. They draw energy from the grid when general usage is minimal (at night) and can supply energy to the grid when general demand is high (during the day). EVs can be seen as a stepping stone to fully self-reliant, battery backed-up solar PV systems.
Eventually it will be common-place to see solar panel systems sold along with back up batteries. For many, it still makes more financial sense to stay connected to the grid and benefit from net metering. However, it won’t be long before the average homeowner can both produce and store enough power to no longer require any from their local utility.
So what are the implications of the mainstream use of solar panels and electric vehicles-as-batteries? Well, the eventual elimination of an antiquated energy system and a significant leap towards a green energy society. This represents a major win for our economy and our environment.
A full transition to EV use and solar power production can supply most of our total energy consumption in American by sector (sectors include residential, commercial, transportation, and industrial). Industrial energy sources will unfortunately still come from fossil fuels in the near term.
The bottom line is that solar power and battery technologies have the capability (and are starting to) change the way the world is powered. We can all look forward to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.