Electricity is a necessity that we will never be able to live without. It can even be argued that if it weren’t for electricity, we wouldn’t be enjoying our current progress. However, the ever rising demand for energy to power homes and establishments coupled with the dwindling supply of fossil fuels have resulted in the increased electricity costs. Now it seems more and more people feel that the sources we use for our electricity generation is as important as the price.
A secondary technological advancement that is needed to be able to truly realize the benefits of renewable energy sources is the ability to store it effectively.
Energy storage solutions will let you store excess/off-peak electricity from either your solar arrays or utility provider. If you still get electricity from your utility provider then you’ll theoretically see a decrease in your monthly billing since off-peak electricity rates are lower. On the other hand, those who have completely gone off the grid (or get power from both a utility provider and their own solar arrays) will have more power to use in case of emergencies if they do opted to integrate energy storage technology into their homes/establishments.
Daimler’s Stationary Energy Storage Plants
One company that has recently announced an energy storage solution that would prove useful to homeowners, businesses, and utility providers alike is Daimler. The German carmaker, through its wholly owned subsidiary Deutsche ACCUmotive, has long been at work on what it calls its “stationary energy storage plants”. These are energy storage solutions similar to Tesla Motor’s Powerwall that use Mercedes Benz lithium ion batteries which Deutsche ACCUmotive also makes. Unlike the Powerwall though, the stationary energy storage plants only come in 2.5 KWH and 5.9 KWH configurations for residential and industrial applications respectively. The company already has a working industrial-scale configuration operated by its partner companies, GETEC Energie AG and The Mobility House.
The Tesla Connection
Although it kept the announcement of the stationary energy storage plants as low key as possible, it is highly possible that Daimler is hoping to compete with Tesla in the near future. Both companies closely mirror each other but Daimler has an advantage over Tesla in terms of experience. Its subsidiary, Deutsche ACCUmotive has been making the lithium ion batteries for Mercedes Benz’s hybrid EVs while Tesla Motors still has only 2 projects (the Roadster and Model S) that implemented the battery technology it will use for the Powerwall. As of now, Daimler has its focus on the German market and although it has been considering the possibility, entering the US is still not in its immediate plans.
How Will Energy Storage Solutions Affect Our Future
The need for energy storage technology will continue to grow as countries transition to renewable energy sources from traditional power plants that use fossil fuels or nuclear energy. Stationary energy storage plants will help stabilize the power grids of the future from energy fluctuations and malfunctions. Daimler recognizes that it is in a position to provide a highly efficient and cost-competitive energy storage solution through the lithium ion batteries that Deutsche ACCUmotive makes. By entering it this early, the highly regarded German carmaker is hoping that it will help in stimulating the energy storage market’s growth by influencing policy makers to ease up on regulations for the use of energy storage solutions.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.