An 8.6 kWh lithium-ion solar energy storage system for residential and commercial use has been launched by JuiceBox Energy. It is designed to work with grid-tied or off-grid solar systems. It features a system controller so the battery can be used as back-up power to a grid, thus enabling peak shifting and demand charge reduction. Notice these capabilities go beyond mere storage.
In other words, battery technology can be smart and interactive in addition to storing electricity. The system has a battery based inverter, and management system for charging and discharging. Diagnostics are part of the design, too, to monitor the system for potential faults. JuiceBox will be available in the fourth quarter of 2014, with greater volume production beginning in 2015.
“Energy storage is the critical technology that allows unrestrained solar growth enabling a clean energy future and a more resilient grid,” explained Neil Maguire, CEO of JuiceBox. JuiceBox is taking advance orders, but it isn’t clear yet what the price is.
It was reported in 2013 that solar power storage systems do qualify for the Federal Residential Energy Tax Credit. This kind of incentive is important because solar energy generally appears to be regarded as primarily about solar panels, but storage could become more common.
One thing that is nearly taken for granted with these new technologies is that they will be used for data collection that then can be constantly analyzed to improve those systems, “Another important innovation on the technology side will be “turning solar inverters into what we call ‘smart’ inverters. California is once again taking a lead in pushing grid-interactive functions into the inverters that connect solar PV systems to the grid. We want to get those features out into the field in every inverter possible, as soon as possible,” said Carlson.
Big data refers to the trend that is currently emerging and changing industry, but one could say there is also little data. Homeowners and business owners can measure and analyze their own data streams. It seems only reasonable to wonder if there aren’t greater opportunities for innovation embedded in these future data. It won’t be long before solar power storage systems are in the hands of people who will be sharing information on blogs and in online communities.
Surely this user information will add value somewhere and somehow to the solar energy sector, and for homeowners to optimize their energy efficiency. There has been too much focus on the cost of solar energy, and not enough on the fact that in the long run, such an investment can save money. Intelligent solar energy systems should help consumer awareness expand.
Image Credit: JuiceBox Solar
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