Going completely off the grid would likely be ideal for many residential solar customers. This dream has been hampered in the past though by limited battery technology, as well as high costs. Net metering programs have been put into place to help alleviate the issues associated with not having a battery backup, but they only go so far, and still force customers to rely on the utility company. Recently though, advances in battery technology have brought us much closer to the realization of affordably going off the grid.
Andalay Solar is looking to make this a reality as soon as possible. Through a collaboration with Highpower International, Inc., a developer, manufacturer, and marketer of lithium rechargeable batteries, Andalay is launching a pilot project that will provide technologically advanced energy storage systems for its customers. The goal is to enhance system performance while keeping the cost reasonably affordable and viable.
The system is designed to help customers avoid and reduce utility grid fees by either going completely off-grid, or employing a hybrid system. Highpower’s energy storage system has six 2.4 KWh lithium-ion battery modules and an output inverter that allows for a powerful energy load capacity and expandability. For the hybrid system, when combined with Andalay’s integrated solar system, energy will be generated both by the solar system as well as by the utility grid. With both energy inputs, the energy output to the home is expected to be enough to sustain household and electronic appliances, as well as all power outlets.
“Energy storage has become an important focus of the solar industry and will be an essential component of system design and installation,” said Steven Chan, CEO of Andalay Solar. “This pilot project in solar energy storage is an example of Andalay’s determination to stay at the leading edge of the market to build upon our patented technology, while maintaining a principal focus on our customers’ solar energy needs, cost-savings, and return on investment.”
“We are excited to collaborate with Andalay Solar,” commented Bryan Bai, Vice President of Sales at Highpower International. “Andalay Solar’s extensive technical know-how, first-hand experiences and understanding about the demand from end customers in the solar market is ideal for commercializing our advanced storage solution with enhanced functionalities and performance, while keeping costs affordable to a wide range of market needs in North America.”