Watt’s Next in Renewable Energy? Storage

bigstock-Solar-Panels-3594592Two big articles in the Wall Street Journal this week highlight the next big opportunity in renewable energy: energy storage. Proponents of big utilities, coal- and natural gas-fired power plants, and other grid power solutions have been saying for years “… your stuff is all when and good until the sun goes down/wind stops blowing.” Simply put, the shortcoming of solar is night, and for wind, it’s calm, windless skies.

In a previous lifetime, I was fortunate to be on the leading edge of renewables in developing a mobile solar solution for businesses. There, two older technologies were married (silica-based solar panels – virtually unchanged since their invention in the mid-20th century and only about 15-20% efficient; and humongous lead acid batteries, the mere name of which makes clean energy folks shiver.) The batteries weighed a ton apiece. We were aware, along with many in the industry, that a new battery technology could change the way power is harvested and released. (In a closer view, upgrades in Inverter technologies are also important).

Southern states are ideal for solar, and as we learned financing both mobile and fixed solar solutions, California is a leader (see article).  And with climate change increasing the scale and frequency of large storms, “emergency power” is going to become a significant product category, as seen in this piece in Greentech Media.

We believe that small business loans are ideal for renewable technologies, and welcome conversations about financing solutions.

As for the future, this article suggests we keep an eye on Tesla capitalizing on their storage acumen by building a multi-Billion plant (in the US – fantastic!), leveraging ideas in a similar strategy to what Apple did in music, and then telecom.

~Norris Lozano, CEO of BusinessUS, a national small business lender interested in financing renewable energy projects.

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