While not necessarily a new concept, the idea of “solar suburbs” is looking much more likely to be commonplace in the near future.
A solar suburb is not just a neighborhood in which every home has a solar panel system on its rooftop. It actually refers to a completely new way in which we will generate and use electricity. In addition to residential solar power systems, every homeowner will also have an electric vehicle and a home energy storage system.
This new way in which we will generate and use electricity has the homeowner as the central focus, instead of monopolistic power utilities. It’s all part of the democratization of society. How it will work is fairly simple. Home solar systems generate electricity. That electricity will be used to power household appliances, power electric vehicles, and charge home battery systems. Will there be enough power from solar pv systems to do all of this? Of course. As more homeowners in a given neighborhood go solar, there will be plenty of shared energy to go around.
As many of these suburban dwellers drive their electric cars downtown to work, they are actually taking some of their electricity with them. While they’re working, their plugged in electric cars will help alleviate some of the peak power demand in the city. This is just one of the many benefits of distributed energy.
Admittedly, this solar suburb idea is still a few years away simply due to the economics of the situation. While net-metered solar power systems are now very cost effective, electric vehicles and battery storage systems need some time to come down price wise. The good news is that this reality is on the way. It’s not a matter of if but a question of when.
Tesla’s Gigafactory will help pave the way for the democratization of electricity. Through economies of scale and an overall further reduction in battery prices, home energy storage systems and electric vehicles will become considerably more affordable in a few short years. As their Gigafactory model proves to be successful, other companies will follow suit.
The end result will be a much lower carbon footprint creating a healthier environment and a much more “powerful” middle class. The mantra – power to the people – now has multiple meanings.
Those who have already gone solar are well on their way to becoming a part of our solar powered future.