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!

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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