How Solar Panels Power the Future

Solar power’s growth trajectory is pushing upwards in 2018. Solar represented 55% of new electricity capacity added in Q1 2018, and installations in the U.S. grew +13% vs year ago.  This is the 10th consecutive quarter with at least 2 GW added to the grid and the second quarter where solar had the most significant share of new capacity. Forecasts remain positive with 28 U.S. states expected to 100+ MW solar markets by 2020, and most of those generating more than 1 GW of operating solar.

The gains in solar power capacity reflect an increased urgency to find sustainable energy solutions as global climate change and depletion of non-renewable sources continues. Why solar? Because the sun continuously produces 173,000 terawatts – more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use.

Innovations in solar panel application point toward a solar-powered future.

1. Net-Zero Schools

Net-zero schools use efficiency technologies and generate power on-site to produce as much energy as is consumed from the electrical grid. Net-zero schools represent 37% of non-residential net-zero building activity and are popping up across the nation, from San Francisco, CA to Arlington, VA. Discovery Elementary in Arlington was built with 1,700 solar panels generating 500 kilowatts. If all buildings in the district followed suit, energy savings would total about $6 million annually.

2. Project Sunroof from Google

Google is helping homeowners in the U.S., U.K. and Germany estimate their house’s solar potential. The online tool evaluates roof area, shape and angle and weather information including sun positioning. This data, needed by installers, is quickly delivered and can reassure potential buyers about their home’s ability to rely on solar. Ikea offers a similar service with Solarcentury and Tesla has a Solar Roof Calculator available.

3. Vanadium Redox Batteries

VRBs are leading the flow battery market as an energy storage solution. The future value of solar power is dependent on the availability of storage. Lasting up to 15,000 cycles and with a reusable electrolyte, vanadium batteries are gaining acceptance globally for scalable, long-duration solar storage.

As the transition to solar power continues, StorEn’s development of vanadium redox batteries for residential and industrial applications is moving forward. Click here to learn more about StorEn’s innovative solution. If you’re interested in being part of the solution, find out how you can invest here.


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How a Solar Home Withstands Natural Disasters

When high winds and torrential rains knock out the grid, or heavy snows bring down power lines and blow transformers, you often turn to the simplest power storage device – a flashlight – to light your way in a powerless house. You may be grateful for the small beam of illumination, but the flashlight doesn’t preserve the food in your refrigerator, power your water heater or your stove.

A solar home is more resilient during natural disasters, especially when supported with energy storage.

What Makes a Solar Home Resilient During Natural Disasters?

The design of solar power systems provides advantages during tumultuous weather events:

  1. No moving parts mean less breakage, and solar panels are built to withstand harsh conditions. Here’s how:
    • Panels and racks can be designed to survive winds exceeding 200 miles per hour.
    • Many panels are certified to hold up to 1-inch hailstones flying at more than 50 miles per hour.
    • Testing by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) shows panels and mounting systems are fire retardant.
    • Tilted panels can easily shed snow blankets, but even flatter panel configurations have been able to hold up to five feet of snow.
  1. Solar power systems continue generating electricity, even with minimal visible light.
    • The system may be less productive with storm cloud cover and rains but will continue to pull power from available light.
  1. No oversight, fuel or management required.
    • Unlike other power sources used during natural disasters, like gas or diesel generators, a solar power system can operate without any human intervention or external fuel source.

Your solar home may not be operating at 100% during power outages, but it will produce more energy than traditional power providers.

Adding energy storage to your home solar power system’s gives you independence from the grid, insulating your home from power losses due to natural disasters.

How Energy Storage Increases Your Solar Home’s Performance During Natural Disasters

Batteries using advanced technology to store solar energy became available several years ago. These solar batteries can be configured to use excess energy generated during the day as a backup during storms. If the power goes out, the battery starts up. And the battery will recharge as solar panels capture more energy.

While many current energy storage options are lithium-based, vanadium flow batteries from StorEn are emerging as a safer, longer-lasting solution. StorEn’s THERMASTABLE™ geothermal design provides greater efficiency than other batteries (+6% in round-trip efficiency) but also offers more durability during harsh conditions. Adding StoreEn’s vanadium flow storage to your solar home delivers a resilient, responsive power supply during storms.

You’ll be able to have some control during uncontrollable events and power your home with uninterrupted clean energy. Invest in StorEnTech today.

Here’s to the Future of Next Generation Battery Storage Units

The power of partnership is accelerating StorEn’s development of the next generation of battery storage units. Our partners have expertise in the key areas needed to accelerate global sales and distribution of StorEn’s vanadium batteries.

Multicom Resources and Freedom Energy – Our Partners for Manufacturing and Distribution

November 2017 marked the start of StorEn’s agreement with Australia-based vanadium mine developer Multicom Resources Pty Ltd. This agreement establishes a vertically integrated supply chain for low-cost manufacturing, sale, and distribution of StorEn proprietary vanadium flow batteries.

The Multicom project is one of the largest vanadium deposits globally. With a well-defined drilled resource, the project is rapidly progressing through key milestones related to feasibility studies and environmental and permitting approvals.

Connected to the mine development Multicom, through its subsidiary Freedom Energy, is actively progressing discussions with Queensland local government officials regarding the establishment of an assembly and distribution factory for StorEn batteries in North Queensland.

Vanadium Pentoxide will be trucked from the mine to the distribution facility and converted to electrolyte. Flat packed StorEn units will be shipped to the factory where they will be assembled and distributed domestically within Australia and exported to the Asia Pacific region. By 2025, it is envisaged that 70,000 units per year will be assembled and distributed from Queensland.  

In addition to the North Queensland facility, Freedom Energy is also progressing discussions with partners in mainland Asia who will act as agents to establish a strong sales pipeline for StorEn batteries in this region. These agents will also investigate secondary sites on the mainland for satellite distribution centres.

What Partnerships Mean for StorEn’s Success

The StorEn research and development team brings a 20-year shared history of working together. We have demonstrated success in the battery industry, with patents for fuel cells, cogeneration and energy storage. Our new stack embedding StorEn’s innovative patent-pending technology was recently shipped to the Environment Park for validation.

When the Queensland mine becomes operational, our partnership with mine developer Multicom means we will have an exclusive source of vanadium for the next 10 years under controlled pricing. Low cost stable pricing will maintain the competitive advantage of StorEn batteries. Both of our companies have the option to acquire equity interest in the other, making our work together mutually beneficial.

StorEn’s technical expertise with vanadium flow batteries united with the world class vanadium deposit being developed by Multicom creates a strong foundation for success. In addition, estimated demand by the internal American market, coupled with the sales pipeline being established by Freedom Energy in the Asia Pacific region is setting the company up for significant success.

Join us on our journey to success. 

Invest in StorEn Tech today.  


How Batteries Reduce Carbon Footprint

After three promising years in which global carbon emissions barely increased, 2017 marked a +2% uptick and record-high industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, according to the Global Carbon Project. Predictions for 2018 aren’t fully set, but with +3-4% production-fueled gains anticipated this year in global GDP, it’s likely we’ll see continued increases in global emissions. Here’s how batteries reduce carbon footprint: 

Many countries have generated GDP growth while reducing carbon emissions over the past decade, including much of Europe, the U.K. and the United States. The reduced carbon footprints in these 22 countries have been linked to increased use of natural gas, solar and wind to generate electricity and investment in energy efficiency across industries.  Unfortunately, emission improvement in countries accounting for 20% of emissions won’t offset the expected increases in emissions from China and India.

As companies face continued pressure from consumers, employees, and shareholders to reduce carbon footprints, the search for reliable solutions has gained momentum. Researchers, students and start-up firms continue to create technologies and products to improve energy efficiency.  With the global use of solar power growing, maximizing this renewable energy’s use by finding ways to store it is a key industry initiative. Recent developments in battery structure and composition offer promising indicators that batteries can reduce carbon footprint.

Batteries are big business, with an IMS research report predicting demand for solar storage batteries would tally up to $19 billion in 2017. Most storage batteries currently in use are lithium-ion, a type shown to be problematic for carbon emissions. Materials and electricity used in production, the coal-powered electricity used to charge it, a relatively short lifespan, and complexities of recycling undermine the carbon footprint of lithium-ion batteries.

Here’s why this is important: Only about 5% of metal is recovered. When we look towards the future, we need to mine fresh lithium to sustain manufacturing of new lithium batteries. Driving EV’s that need lithium batteries is not only not sustainable but dangerous. 

Flow batteries have emerged as a low carbon footprint solution for solar storage, with vanadium options leading the charge. These batteries produce an electrical current through an exchange of negatively and positively charged liquid, using non-explosive, non-flammable electrolytes. Vanadium batteries reduce long-term energy costs through extended lifespans, up to 25 years, without any degradation in capacity. Size versatility allows vanadium batteries to have a broad use, from small systems to large utilities.

Flow batteries reduce carbon footprint by:

  • storing renewable energies for less load on current electrical grids
  • using relatively low amounts of energy during battery production
  • lasting longer, reducing energy costs associated with replacement

A full-scale effort is needed to drive global emission declines. Examining all facets of manufacturing, energy-production, and consumer use is key to finding new opportunities for improvement. Batteries are one more step forward in our efforts to reduce carbon footprint.

Invest in StorEn tech today.

Top Reasons Why You Should Use Solar-Powered Batteries

If you’ve recently installed a solar power system in your home or business, or are considering solar power options, then some of the questions you’ve faced include, ‘should I include a solar-powered battery, and if so, why?’  Here are a few reasons why you should use solar-powered batteries:

  1. Solar-powered batteries maximize access to your solar power.
  • During peak sun times, your solar power system will make more energy than you need. A battery lets you keep any excess energy for use when it’s overcast and in the evening.
  1. Solar-powered batteries provide a clean power back-up plan.
  • When the power goes out, you can draw stored energy not only from your solar power system but also from your battery.
  • Unlike gas generators, solar-powered batteries deliver energy without greenhouse emissions.
  1. Solar-powered batteries help control utility costs.
  • The power grid is usually busiest between 4 pm and 10 pm and utility companies may charge higher rates based on these use times. Batteries can be used during peak times to avoid using higher-priced energy.
  • And if needed, batteries can charge from the grid overnight when rates are usually cheapest.
  1. Solar-powered batteries are reliable and safe.
  • Initially, solar-powered batteries were susceptible to shifts in temperature, losing functionality in very cold or very hot weather. But the development of lithium and vanadium flow batteries for solar power systems now allows use across temperatures ranging from below zero to desert heat.
  • The structure of these newer batteries, particularly the vanadium flow options, eliminates risks associated with lead-based or lithium-ion batteries. Lithium is performing badly in charging and discharging at below freezing. Our batteries have a built-in system to keep temperatures within an ideal range. But lithium ion is required to be installed in a temperature controlled environment.
  1. Solar-powered batteries are lasting, making them cost-effective.
  • Batteries can lose the ability to charge and recharge, requiring a new battery or additional batteries to get needed capacity. But battery storage capabilities have improved, with new developments helping batteries deliver up to 100% of their capacity over time. Lithium batteries still suffer from fast decay and loss in capacity over time (e.g., your mobile phone). The good news is that vanadium flow, a type of rechargeable flow battery, does not decay. 
  • Technological advancements in structure and design have extended battery life to up to 25 years. While this statement is true for vanadium flow vanadium flow, lithium suffers from decay. The life of lithium can be in excess of 10 years but with a big loss in capacity. Vanadium can last for 25 years with no loss in capacity. 

When you commit to clean, solar energy, don’t miss out on the benefits of solar-powered batteries. Rest a little easier, and manage your energy expenses knowing you’ll have access to power whenever you need it – at night, during storms, and for all the years ahead.

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