What is the future for solar?

What is the future for solar?

There are bright, sunny days ahead for solar.  The adoption rate for grid tied solar has been staggering since the year 2010 (see picture below).  But with higher adoption rates, the electric utilities have all but stopped offering incentives.  And cogeneration agreements and net metering relationships are becoming very one-sided in favor of the utility.  So why am I bullish on the future for solar?

The answer is the falling prices of lithium batteries, especially lithium iron phosphate (LFP or LiFePO4).  10 years ago, there wasn't much support in the industry at all for lithium battery storage.  And they were at least 10x more expensive than a comparable lead acid battery.  But all of that has changed.  Lithium battery prices are falling dramatically and that is good news for grid tied systems as well as off grid.

Two of the weaknesses of grid tied systems is that they are still dependent on the utility power grid to operate safely and you most likely cannot sell your excess power to the utility for what you will have to buy it back for.  Batteries, specifically lithium batteries, will solve both of those issues.  By switching to battery power when the grid goes down, you can safely use that power you have generated while everyone else is in the dark and not risk hurting a lineman that is working to restore grid power to your neighborhood.  And the excess solar power that you generate during the day can be stored in batteries instead of sold for pennies to the utility.  That stored power can then be used at night when you would normally be forced to purchase power from the utility.

Off grid solar has been enjoying the switchover from lead acid dominance to a lithium future for years.  Now, grid tied systems are starting to see the light, too.

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