Power Companies Now Want To Sell Panasonic Battery Back Up Technology But It Work In OZ
What they are hoping to do is sell “fear” so that when a home is plunged into darkness and fridges or devices get turned off when there is a power shortage, they have a battery backup solution to offer customers who have moved to using solar power.
Electricity-storage batteries are set to be big business and Companies like AU Optronics, Panasonic and LG are leading a charge to cut deals with retailers who sell power or solar systems.
US Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk who started Telsa Motors sees a future in which super batteries change the world, making solar power available at night and turning homes into tiny utilities.
He recently unveiled a line of home and industrial battery packs that sell for up to $7,000 a pack, Panasonic who is set to make an announcement in Australia on Tuesday is partnering with the Company to develop the technology.
The market for electricity storage is very small, especially among homeowners, analysts say. In the US last year only 62 megawatts of storage systems were installed last year at 180 properties, with 99% of the power going to utilities, businesses or government buildings, according to GTM Research.
What is not known is whether the Federal or State Governments in Australia are set to incentivise consumers or business to buy the packs?
In the USA only a small number of States have programs that provide cash grants to help fund electricity storage, but those that do typically offer thousands in cash back, according to the trade group Energy Storage Association. For instance, California rebates up to 60% of the price of a battery system. At the federal level, homeowners who buy batteries to back-up their rooftop solar-panel arrays qualify for investment tax credits worth 30% of the project’s price.
Tesla plans to offer a 7 kilowatt-hour battery pack that can handle many charges and discharges a day. It will cost roughly US $7,000 to buy and install, including special equipment needed to connect to solar panels and the grid.
Even Mr. Musk concedes the battery doesn’t make much economic sense right now for individual homeowners; grid power is still cheaper than solar-battery combinations. But a trend toward sharply higher electricity prices may change that. The cost of traditional grid power is rising, while solar power costs are plunging.
Earlier this month AGL Energy announced it is launching a 6kWh battery storage device into the Australian market, saying it was the first major energy retailer to do so. The Company is partnering with Taiwanese Company AU Optronics.
The initial offering will be for residential and small business, giving consumers more control over managing their energy consumption.
AGL’s ‘Power Advantage’ will include a range of battery storage devices based on lithium-ion technology.
AGL’s Energy Storage Lead, Ed Lynch-Bell, said energy storage was still an emerging technology but was moving very quickly.
“The first device will be capable of storing 6kWh of solar energy and will suit an average family home with 3-4.5kW of solar PV.
“The battery storage device however could be used in a home without solar PV.
“The battery will be the size of a large suitcase and will provide consumers with backup for essential home services such as lighting, refrigeration and communications, a welcome peace of mind for potential disruptions of energy supply.”
The battery packs, made by AU Optics, have a long life and are backed by AGL’s extended warranty, the company said, adding that a range of finance plans would be “make energy storage accessible to all” – with a spokeswoman for AGL telling The Australian Financial Review it would offer outright purchases, leases and pay-as-you-go charges for each kilowatt charged and discharged.
AGL said it had plans to develop a suite of products to cater to a range of home and business sizes and types. The 6kWh device is the first in this range and in the initial phase will be available in limited numbers, it said, adding larger battery sizes will be available later this year.
Battery advocates say electricity storage options will become more attractive once consumers face time-of-use pricing. Some parts of the U.S., including much of California, are expected to roll out such programs in the coming years, charging higher rates for pulling power off the grid at peak times. For instance, running an air conditioner in the afternoon when it is hottest could soon cost more than double what it does at night if the Australian power Companies have their way.
One analyst said “It won’t be the first time a product has gone from being a novelty to an essential item in the home.”