Residential Energy Storage – The Basics


While utility-scale energy storage is getting talked about quite a bit, we don’t hear as much about Residential Energy Storage. What is it, and how can it help support the grid? Here are the basics! 

  • What Is Residential Energy Storage?

The ability to store energy and release it when you need it is critical to delivering a secure, reliable, modern electricity system. Many existing Energy Storage Systems use lithium-ion technology. If you’re wondering why that sounds familiar, it’s because it is already in use for things like cellphones, power tools, toys, and many other commonly used items.

Energy Storage has been around for a long time.  Off-Grid systems have utilized Lead-Acid batteries for years and are now being replaced in some cases with lithium-ion, lithium-ion, and other chemistries.  Residential Energy Storage has been increasingly popular as we are having issues with grid reliability in several markets.  The power outages in Texas last winter and ongoing public power safety shutoffs in CA during wildfire seasons are a few examples.  Batteries can also offset the price of your electric bill by charging when electricity is less expensive and discharging when more expensive.

The National Fire Protection Association has outlined specific guidelines for Residential Energy Storage saying that after individual units exceed 20kWh it will be treated the same as a commercial installation – or utility-scale solar.

  • How Will it Help The Grid?  

Because grids in many areas are under increased strain, many utilities are taking action to cement grid reliability by investing in utility-scale energy-storage solutions. This means they are installing big batteries next to power plants and transmission lines to reduce costs and improve resilience.

The way Residential Energy Storage could help is by linking the batteries together and dispatching them to deliver grid support services, This could aid utilities in avoiding more costly solutions like building extra grid infrastructure that may only be used occasionally. Several organizations like Swell and Sonnen are leveraging Virtual Power Plants by aggregating residential energy storage systems together.

According to McKinsey & Company, certain states have launched pilot programs that let utilities pay battery-equipped houses for using some of their stored power at times when the system is under strain like during severe weather.

  • The Partnership In The Future

The use of Residential Energy Storage in the U.S. has increased rapidly during the past four years, and growth is expected to continue dramatically in the near future. A Wood Mackenzie study found that it has increased more than 200 percent annually. Due to increased severe weather conditions such as hurricanes, the energy delivery system is seeing worsening bottlenecks, resulting in higher costs and increasing local power outages.

There are now government incentives for installing Residential Energy Storage including solar and storage projects that are eligible for a federal investment tax credit, which can bring the cost of an installed system down. The market is expecting to continue strong residential energy-storage growth into 2023 and beyond.

  • Final Thoughts

Residential Energy Storage is only going to get more attractive to homeowners and more valuable to the grid in the near future. It not only improves the quality of renewable energy power, but protects grid-connected devices, and helps areas with the most grid constraints.

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