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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Why StorEn Tech is for the People

Deciding to invest in cleantech should be an easy ‘yes, here’s my check,’ right? Technologies focused on renewable power generation and storage help the world.  After all, solar homes withstand natural disasters and flow batteries reduce carbon footprint, so who wouldn’t want to support products and services that make the environment better?  In addition, the markets for sustainable energy and environmentally responsible products are some of the fastest-growing opportunities in the world.

But ‘investing,’ (by definition) is focused on making profits over a fairly short period. For venture capitalists (companies or individuals providing money and management support to new businesses) requests for cleantech investment are met with more reluctance than software or information technologies. Why? These industries often have a faster path to market – and to profits — than cleantech, where the development of a physical product requires materials, testing, and time. As a result, venture capital isn’t as readily available for the promising technologies that are needed to assuage climate change.

Broader Group of Stakeholders in Cleantech

With venture capital investment in cleantech down almost 30% in the last few years, a new system has developed to support cleantech initiatives.

1. Incubators                                 

Organizations like Stony Brook University’s Clean Energy Business Incubator program support cleantech startups in several ways. They give entrepreneurs access to labs, mentors, potential investors, and management support. Importantly, start-ups can conduct testing and demonstrations of their technologies, critical phases of development for cleantech solutions. Incubators and accelerators are structured to support the longer time horizon and upfront capital needed for cleantech.

2. Crowdfunding

Raising capital through online funding sites have broadened clean tech’s reach beyond financial institutions and large investors. Start-ups also rely on crowdfunding to develop communities of people who want to support the development of solutions to the Earth’s challenges.

3. Individuals

People interested in sustainability are seeking out organizations that reflect their values. For these contributors, investments in cleantech aren’t just about financial windfalls but are a demonstrable commitment to creating a better world.

StorEn Tech’s Priority: Making Sustainable, Cost-Effective Energy Storage Available to Everyone

StorEn is focused on providing safe, long-lasting, economical energy storage as the world shifts to renewable energy.  And that shift is well underway, as more than 150 countries recently joined together to launch the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation. Renewable energy is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. StorEn is on pace to have a cost-effective storage solution ready to support the change.

We developed our relationship with Stony Brook’s Clean Energy Incubator program and our crowdfunding initiative with StartEngine to accomplish several goals:

  1. To generate awareness of our game-changing energy storage technology
  2. To fully vet (and optimize) the performance of our vanadium flow battery
  3. To have a forum for sharing information about our plans, including our partnership with Multicom Resources supporting manufacturing and distribution
  4. To provide opportunities for individual investors to benefit from both the company’s growth and being part of the team making our world better through sustainable energy storage

StorEn Technologies is dedicated to changing lives. To us, success means having our storage solution widely available. We want to safely supply cost-effective, reliable, long-life renewable energy to everyone. Our efforts will help modernize the energy grid, ensuring you have the power you need every day.

Join our team by investing and be part of the change!

Why Lithium Batteries Catch Fire and What to Do

17 lithium-ion batteries exploded on airplanes in the first six months of 2017. Hewlett-Packard recalled 50,000 lithium-ion batteries due to fire danger. Portland recycling center ecomaine fought two lithium-ion based fires in two weeks, the second taking 40 minutes to extinguish. Australia is considering legislation restricting installation of lithium-ion storage batteries in homes, labeling them fire hazards. Despite standards, regulations, and ongoing development to improve the safety of lithium-ion batteries, they continue to cause trouble. Here’s why lithium batteries catch fire and what to do if you’re faced with an unexpected hazard.

Lithium Batteries – Lightweight and Efficient, But….

Since 1991, lithium-ion batteries have been the standard for power across industries from cell phones and computers to electric vehicles and solar storage. Lithium batteries have been problematic because they:

  • are made from a combustible material
  • can pack a lot of power compared to other batteries. But as part of the alkali metal group on the periodic table, lithium is very combustible. It’s also the least dense metallic element.
  • Have highly reactive components
  • Are structured like all batteries – two electrodes are separated by an electrolyte. In the lithium battery, the electrolyte is a solution of reactive lithium salts and organic solvents. An electrical charge is transferred from a lithium metal cathode through the electrolyte to a carbon anode. And as with most batteries, the process pressurizes the contents.  
  • Are volatile when damaged
  • Have stray ions moving between the electrodes that can create microfibers called dendrites. If a dendrite punctures the thin separators keeping the battery elements separate, an internal short-circuit can spark the lithium. And if a dendrite punctures the external part of the battery, the lithium reacts with water in the air, generating heat and the possibility of fire. The battery can also overheat, creating a thermal runaway and causing an explosion.

Unfortunately, if something goes wrong with lithium batteries, fire is a likely result.

What to do if Lithium Batteries Catch Fire

Battery University offers these guidelines for dealing with a lithium battery fire:

  • Small lithium-ion batteries can be doused with water because they contain little lithium metal. Lithium-metal battery fires can be put out with a Class D fire extinguisher.
  • Larger battery fires are best handled with a foam extinguisher, CO2, ABC dry chemical, powder graphite, copper powder or sodium carbonate.
  • If the fire can’t be extinguished, you’ll need to let it burn in a controlled way, dousing the surrounding area with water to prevent the fire from spreading.
  • If you have a battery pack, each cell may burn on a different timetable when hot, so place the pack outside until completely burned out.

You have a safer choice for home and commercial power storage — redox flow batteries. Leading the industry are vanadium options made with a non-flammable electrolyte solution.

StorEn Tech is committed to safe, reliable long-lasting energy storage. Invest in the future of solar-charged batteries today.

How to Avoid Power BlackOuts

Most of the electricity we use is created on demand. When you flip on a light switch, electricity is generated and sent immediately to power the lightbulb. To meet power needs, independently managed regional balancing authorities control the generation and transmission of electricity within a specific area. When weather or utility equipment breakdowns disrupt transmission, or when demand exceeds the capacity available to generate power, residents and businesses experience an electrical blackout. You may be wondering: Batteries may reduce carbon footprint but is there a way to avoid power blackouts?  

With extreme weather becoming more common and the U.S. utility infrastructure in need of upgrades, power outages seem unavoidable. Blackouts jumped +9% in 2016 and were more widespread, affecting 33% more people, according to the latest Eaton’s U.S. Blackout Tracker.  And among the top 15 U.S. utilities, the most recently reported average downtime was more than two hours, with some outages averaging more than seven hours. Even though these are sobering statistics, it is possible to avoid power blackouts.

Using Renewable Energy with Storage

Transitioning to renewable energy sources like wind, water and solar with storage capabilities is one approach. A panel of researchers, led by Stanford University, recently proposed a plan to shift to 100% renewables and keep the power grid stable by relying on storage to avoid blackouts. Importantly, their research showed strong financial benefits. The cost per unit of energy, including health and climate costs would save 75% of the costs associated with the current energy structure.

Adding Storage Capabilities to the Current Grid

Incorporating storage into the existing electrical grid is a more immediate option for avoiding power blackouts. The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources is requiring utilities to integrate large-scale batteries into their systems by 2020. These batteries can capture energy from the grid, store it during non-peak times, and then deliver it when demand increases.

Creating Micro or Customer Grids

Microgrids are small-scale operations functioning independently from the main grid. Some rely on renewable energy and storage, or storage to hold grid-produced power generated in non-peak times to control their power supply. Microgrids can vary in size, from a neighborhood business district to a single location like an airport or residence.

Vanadium Batteries – Versatile, Safe and Reliable

Ernest Moniz, nuclear physicist and former Secretary of Energy, points to flow batteries as the solution for energy storage.

“Flow batteries is one of the most interesting directions for storage,” Moniz says, “because, roughly speaking, the energy is stored outside the battery rather than inside.”

Vanadium batteries offer several advantages for energy storage, including a longer cycle than lithium ion batteries and longer lifespans than lead acid or lithium ion options, up to 25 years, without any degradation in capacity. Size versatility enables vanadium batteries to be used broadly, from small systems to large utilities.

Power blackouts are becoming more familiar to all of us. But with energy storage options like vanadium batteries from StorEn becoming more widely available, you can keep the lights on.

Invest in StorEn Tech 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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