Going off the grid may be good for the environment. It may also be good for the individual. This is because it can allow someone to live where they want without having to worry about being connected to a grid or external source for power.
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With work going remote because of Covid, and some corporations offering their employees the ability for it to remain this way, as Mark Benioff the CEO of Salesforce said, “You’re really starting to see some very low attendance numbers in offices because employees are so productive at home. They can do their job at home. They can be successful from anywhere. The companies and our customers are successful. It’s incredible, but the way they’re being successful has completely changed.”
As a result, someone who used to live in a major metropolitan area may now be able to move to a remote location where there may not be any power. This is feasible thanks to solar panels and a battery storage wall to allow a home to be self-sustaining.
How does this work? A home will have solar panels on the roof or a part of the property that gets sunlight generating power which is stored in a battery storage pack in the home. The power that is generated from the panels and stored in the batteries then can fully power the home including at times when clouds hide the sunlight or at night.
This means one never has to rely on an external power source all the while emitting zero emissions. This could be beneficial even for individuals who choose to remain in metropolitan areas since these areas still experience power outages from natural disasters. With solar panels and battery storage walls, individuals can now not have to worry about a fallen tree knocking the power out in their neighborhood for the next week while saving on their electricity bill and benefiting the environment.
Individuals who opt to install solar panels and battery storage walls may also be able to receive monetary compensation or subsidies from their state for generating power to the grid. This is known in the U.S. as net metering.
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The question of subsidies to encourage people to use solar power is hotly debated in Europe, where, after many years of application (over 10 years in several European countries, including Germany, France, Spain and Italy), many see the technology as having matured and no longer in need of subsidies to help it gain market shares.
Still, consideration should be given to some form of net metering, to turn it into a standard feature all future homes should have since this would reduce environmental pollution that creates the conditions for natural disasters in the first place, while reducing time, energy, and money to restore power settings after natural disasters.
Moreover, off-the-grid power systems can provide power for community resources like hospitals set in remote locations so people can enjoy more of earth’s beauty while safety is ensured.
Recently, because of natural disasters across the U.S. and more people moving to remote locations because of Covid, companies that sell and install the services have received record numbers of orders and quotes for these products and services. This comes after wildfires in California, deep freezes across Texas, and hurricanes up the east coast. Going forward, Goldman Sachs predicts the market for home energy storage will hit $1 billion for the first time in 2022.
On Wednesday, the Biden administration announced it plans to produce half of the nation’s electricity from the sun by 2050 as part of its effort to combat climate change. Solar energy provided less than 4 percent of the country’s electricity last year, and the administration’s target of 45 percent would represent a huge leap and will most likely take a fundamental reshaping of the energy industry.
The outlook in Europe is equally positive. According to an industry association, SolarPowerEurope, the market has become increasingly receptive, and the amount of solar power installed across Europe is rising steadily.
In 2019, large-scale solar power plants easily outcompeted both industrial and wholesale electricity prices in southern and northern Europe in basically any interest rate environment. It then increased notably in 2020. EU member states installed 18.2 GW in 2020 – that’s an 11% improvement over the 16.2 GW deployed in the previous year. This makes 2020 the second-best year ever for solar in the EU, only topped by 2011, when 21.4 GW was installed. This is with Germany leading the way followed by the Netherlands. Even Poland notoriously known for being a coal country, not only exceeded the annually installed solar GW-scale for the first time, it is also expected to have jumped directly to the second floor in 2020, adding 2.2 GW This positive solar development follows on the previous year’s scoop, when Poland’s PV market grew almost four-fold to 972 MW.
With both Europe and the U.S. aggressively increasing their solar usage, the expectation is that this would greatly contribute to reducing carbon emissions world wide. Both places starting with Europe have offered substantial incentives to go solar with the U.S. now jumping on-board. This only increases the chances of the world getting to a net-zero world which both locations need to get to rapidly. From forest fires and floods ravaging Europe this past summer along with all the natural disasters in the U.S. caused by climate change, the increased usage of solar is appearing to be more than ever a viable solution. You may check out Nexamp to get an idea of how it works.
But a note of caution needs to be added. While the storage batteries are able to perform their energy storage function they are still very costly to produce. Moreover, and this is a matter of concern, batteries have a negative impact on the environment both when they are built and when they have reached end-of-life and must be disposed of. Not until these technological issues are settled will solar power fully deliver on its promise.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com. — In the Featured Photo: Installing Solar Panels. Featured Photo Credit: Science in HD