By 2025, the renewable energy market will be a $1.5 trillion industry worldwide. That’s a major leap from where the market was in 2019 when the solar and wind markets generated $18.7 and $14 billion in respective investments. Market demand and climate awareness are driving the industry forward at the speed of light.
How is the industry keeping pace with demand? The key to providing renewable, reliable energy is in the battery. The two biggest renewables (solar and wind) are intermittent; they can only be captured under certain conditions. Energy consumption, on the other hand, can happen any time. Power has to be stored for when it’s needed. Without batteries, residential solar panels use net metering to sell excess power to their utility company. This way, the power still gets used when it’s needed. However, utility owners dislike this policy because it allows homeowners to freeload on the company’s infrastructure. As net metering is phased out, residential solar won’t be financially viable without a power storage system.
The problem? Lithium-ion batteries aren’t up to the task. Invented in 1912, lithium-ion batteries have changed little over the past century, but they fuel everything from electric vehicles to smartphones. Their sustainability problems make them a poor choice in a green future. Lithium-ion batteries quickly lose storage capacity, their production is water intensive and can leach toxic chemicals into the water supply, and recycling the materials is difficult and costly while improper disposal leads to soil contamination. By 2025, more than 25% of all behind-the-meter solar systems will need a battery.
So what alternatives are available? Enter vanadium-flow batteries. With over 25 years of useful life and full functionality after recycling, vanadium-flow batteries are the environmentally-conscious choice for storing energy. Investing in a greener future requires reevaluation of traditional battery technology.
Last Updated on February 10, 2021.