Energy Storage Technology ‘SHINES’ Bright On Solar

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It’s a fact that in just 90 minutes enough sunlight strikes the earth to provide the entire planet's energy needs for one year. Harnessing this amount of energy will require more research, design and innovation, but with the ability to store just a fraction of this power, we could revolutionize the energy industry. This is exactly the mission that the Department of Energy’s new Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV (SHINES) is undertaking.

 This program is devoting $18 million to six separate projects that will specifically focus on developing greater energy storage systems. These projects, part of the DOE’s SunShot Initiative, will help in cementing solar as the world’s energy source of choice for power generation. Manufacturing batteries with greater storage capacity will allow consumers to use solar power at night or in snowy conditions while maintaining its reliability and affordability.

Storing solar-generated electricity is “the missing puzzle piece,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch yesterday during a call about the announcement with DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson. “Solar with storage can provide critical power during local or national emergencies," Resch said. “It can ease congestion on America’s strained and aging electric grid by locating systems near electric demand. It gives Americans control of their home energy flow, while allowing grid operators the chance to dispatch energy when needed.”

With today’s technology, we anticipate that solar power will provide more than 3.5 percent of electricity in the U.S. by 2020, up from about 1 percent of energy consumption today in the U.S. With innovation and increased market-share, our industry will add hundreds of thousands of jobs, further lower the cost of solar electricity and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Cost effective and efficient solar storage technology is imperative if we as a nation are going to derive the lion’s share of our energy from the sun. SEIA is excited about the DOE’s commitment to make this happen.

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