Get those battery chargers ready. Your home could be battery operated in the not-too-distant future. At least that’s the word from Ravi Manghani of GTM Research.
According to Manghani, this might be especially true if you live in California, New York, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Vermont, Arizona or a growing roster of other states and municipalities experimenting with revamping their electrical grids for the 21st century.
You might not even know your lights are being kept on by the same chemical process that powers your smartphone, since the batteries could be tucked into what looks like a neighborhood junction box, or behind a fence in a substation. But now, thanks to efforts by startups and the utility companies they sell to (and sometimes battle), you might get one right inside your home.
The rise of these home batteries isn’t just a product of our collective obsession with new tech. Their adoption is being driven by a powerful need, says Manghani. Without batteries and other means of energy storage, the ability of utility companies to deliver power could eventually be threatened.
“This is not a long-term theoretical issue that might happen—this is now,” says Marc Romito, director of customer technology at Arizona Public Service, the state’s largest electric utility.
Last week, real-estate developer Mandalay Homes announced a plan to build up to 4,000 ultra energy-efficient homes—including 2,900 in Prescott, AZ—that will feature eight kilowatt-hour batteries from German maker Sonnen. It could eventually be the biggest home energy-storage project in the U.S., says Blake Richetta, senior vice president at Sonnen.
While the Mandalay Homes project is still in the blueprint stage, with only one test home built so far, this kind of radical, battery-enabled rethink of the grid is already happening in Vermont. In partnership with Tesla Energy, Green Mountain Power is offering 2,000 of its customers the opportunity to have a Tesla Powerwall in their home for $15 a month.
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