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Companies That Are Dedicated to Improving Energy Storage

It’s really BIG! Companies like Tesla Motors and Alevoto are making investments of over $6 Billion on Giga-factories that range from 3.5 million square feet to 10-million and 3.5 million-square feet. These facilities are now under construction and provide a testimony to the tremendous commitment being made to move energy storage into the mainstream.

Tesla Giga-factory

After winning a tough 5-state competition, Nevada will soon be home to the world’s first 10-million-square-foot lithium-ion battery production Giga-factory. Tesla Motors is building a $5 billion facility that will double the world’s supply of lithium–ion batteries by 2020. Li-ion batteries have been used in electronics for many years. Over the past few years the demand for Li-ion batteries for use in electric vehicles and for storage of PV solar and other renewable energy sources has grown dramatically. There appears to be no end in sight. In fact, the market for grid-tied PV solar with storage is expected to grow from its current level of 90 MW to 900 MW in the next 4 years (a ten-fold increase). That’s enough energy storage to provide for over 400,000 homes.

In response to such incredible demand the energy storage industry leaders have been investing heavily in people, technology and research as well as on improving their production capabilities. Consequently there have been many recent breakthroughs and developments to improve existing technologies and/or create new cost-effective means for solar and other renewable energies to be stored. Many successful and internationally prominent companies including Tesla Motors, Panasonic, Alevo, AES, Enphase and Sunpower have moved energy storage to the top of their priorities.

The economy of scale that comes with Tesla’s massive project is expected to reduce the cost of batteries by 30 percent within the next 2-3 years and by 50 percent by 2020. Along with providing the state of Nevada 6,500 well-paid, high-technology jobs and millions of tax dollars. Tesla’s Giga-factory project is well under-way and recent updates point to an expectation of production beginning in late 2016, several months ahead of schedule. Tesla plans to mass produce lithium-ion batteries for both their electric vehicles and for stationary batteries to provide energy storage for grid-tied PV systems and other renewable energies. At its peak, Tesla’s Giga-factory is expected to produce 50 gigawatt-hours (Gwh) of storage per year. 35 Gwh for Tesla Electric vehicles and 15 Gwh for stationary storage nits that can be used with renewable energy sources. This massive project takes a major step toward solving both solar’s biggest obstacles, cost and the intermittent nature of Mother Nature.

Alevo Giga-Factory

Alevo is another energy storage company that has made a huge commitment toward improving the prospects for renewable energy with storage. After more than 10 years and nearly $1 Billion in research Alevo, like Tesla, is investing in their own really big Giga-factory to produce lithium-ion batteries. Alevo recently purchased a 3.5 million-square-foot former cigarette plant in North Carolina to produce their GridBank batteries. This battery is a larger commercial and utility scale version of the lithium-ion battery. Testing has shown that Alevo has developed a battery that drastically reduces the degrading effects of the many charging cycles that a battery must endure. Alevo batteries have been tested following charging and recharging for over 40,000 cycles, including occasional overcharge and deep discharges, with no signs of the internal resistance that normally occurs with other battery types. North Carolina also gets thousands of good-paying jobs and millions of tax dollars.

With progressive activity like that of Tesla and Alevo and of many others in the energy storage industry it won’t be long before renewable energy storage is a mainstream reality on both the small and large scale.

Believe It, or Not! It costs less to go solar in New York than it does in Arizona.

No doubt, there are several states, primarily in the southern and western United States that get considerably more sunshine than does western upstate New York.  Unfortunately for the residents in many of those states partisan politics has fought hard to minimize the incentives their states provide for investing in alternatives like solar in favor of maintaining the status quo of power control by the coal and natural gas industries.  So, while there is more sunshine in places like Arizona and there are large numbers of the population who are ready and willing to join the move to clean energy, many are hindered by the still significant up-front financial investment required to go solar.  

Indeed, thanks to subsidies enjoyed by the powers that be within the previously mentioned status quo and the fact that there is currently little to no accountability for the environmental or health consequences involved with energy production, it is still cheaper for consumers, even in many of those sun-rich states, to use fossil fuels to power their energy needs. For many, despite how much sun their area gets, the unequal distribution of subsidies and favoritism toward fossil fuel energy sources makes the decision to go solar, more of a financial one than one of true preference.  

This is not the case in New York.  Those who live in western New York have access to some of the best incentives for going solar in the country thanks to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), NY state personal tax credits, U.S. Investment Tax Credits (ITC) and to local property and sales tax exemptions. It may not be as sunny in western New York as in the south and west but according to the National Renewal Energy Laboratory analysis there is more than enough solar falling on the western New York region to power all its electricity requirements.  

The U.S. ITC covers up to 30 percent of the cost for installing a PV solar system is available to all eligible American home and commercial business property owners, through 2016.  Additionally, there are several states that offer a state tax credit.  Both New York and Arizona are among those states. However, New York offers a maximum tax credit of $5,000 while Arizona’s maximum is only $1,000.  When considering the tax credits alone, a New York consumer’s investment in a 5 kW solar PV system is about $8,100. In Arizona, the same system costs $11,600.  

It doesn’t stop there though; New York's leadership team has helped create a vision and has had foresight enough to understand the importance of building a sustainable clean energy industry. They are accomplishing this by proactively motivating its citizens to opt-in to a safer, cleaner and more reliable energy future.  

The NY-Sun is a rebate program launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2012 as part of New York’s commitment to protect the environment and lower energy costs for all New Yorkers.   In April 2014, New York increased its commitment to expand the deployment of solar throughout the state and to transform New York’s solar industry to a sustainable and soon-to-be subsidy-free and self-sufficient industry to almost $1 Billion.  Thanks to NY-Sun, NYSERDA is currently offering upstate New Yorkers an additional rebate of 90 cents per watt, upfront.  Arizona’s biggest utility, APS, is offering zero.  

In our 5 kW PV solar system cost comparison; NYSERDA provides New Yorkers with an additional rebate incentive of $4,500 (5,000 watts x $.90 per watt = $4,500); APS customers get zilch, (5,000 watts X zero = zilch). The bottom line is that concerned citizens in Jamestown, New York who decide to take responsibility for their part in providing a healthier future for their families and friends by going solar will have a final investment of only $3,600 for that 5 KW PV solar system. Citizens in Phoenix that have the same values will have to pay almost $12,000. 

That $8,000 savings for New Yorkers makes up for a lot of sunshine. Believe It!

If you’re interested in finding out more about how you can add storage to your solar system contact YellowLite today.

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