Solar’s Next Boom: Energy Storage

Unleashing the solar power industry has helped added jobs to the American economy at 10 times the national average. The energy storage wave will do the same.

JuiceBox Energy recently inaugurated a storage installation class for its 8.6 kWh system (pictured at left), job-training Northern Californian installers on lithium-ion batteries, multiple PV configurations and a “hands-on” site design. Earlier that month, Juicebox installed its first solar battery system in a California home, financed through the property-assessed-clean-energy program (PACE).

With the energy storage industry about to take off on Main Street and Wall Street, people noticed. “The energy system of the future integrates batteries into the residential solar markets, and it’s exciting to see this new JuiceBox Energy Storage System leading the way” CALSEIA president Brad Heavner said after JuiceBox CEO Neil Macguire announced the benchmark at a CALSEIA meeting.

Pull back from Juicebox’s local microcosm, and you find the broader macroeconomics hard at work. In the same May, American panel efficiency champ SunPower deepened its partnership with storage upstart Stem, who together announced that their behind-the-meter battery systems were available for commercial customers. “It’s a market pull,” SunPower general manager Ivo Steklac explained, according to CleanTechnica. “Our customers are asking for these solutions.”

Stem CEO John Carrington said that the growth rate of these solutions, and therefore his company, currently installing 10 megawatts of batteries across 140 sites, is “remarkable.” It’s also worth noting that Tesla Energy, powerfully outshining both Stem and Juicebox on the news cycle’s radar, sold out of $800 million in Powerwalls shortly after announcing them, over $600 million of which went to utilities. Powerwall runs toward $400 while Juicebox hovers closer to $1000, but their respective price tags mean little compared to the number of jobs their mere existence promises. More and more people are going to have to learn to install these storage solutions, whether they come from Stem or anyone, as they unlearn skill sets from a 20th-century energy model that no longer exists.

“We are rapidly building the JuiceBox certified installer network,” sales VP Greg Maguire said — reminding that June and September classes are already scheduled.

You and everyone else paying attention, Greg.

This article appeared at Solar Energy