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Here Comes theSolarSun Energy and Residential Energy Storage

The harnessing and storage of solar energy is still in its infant stage, making this the prime time to explore opportunities.

By Lance McCoy

In West Virginia and across the country,

the transition to a renewable-based energy economy is at hand. According to Richard Sassoon, the Global Climate and Energy Project director at Stanford University, more solar energy reaches Earth’s surface in one year than will ever be obtained from all of the non-renewable resources of coal, oil, natural gas and mined uranium combined. While the sun does not always shine, electrical energy demand is continuous, and the limitless potential of solar energy will be realized once the pairing of energy production with energy storage has been perfected. Energy storage also holds the opportunity for great economic growth, as its market is expected to grow from $500 million today to around $12 billion in 2023. In the states neighboring West Virginia, the availability of this electric energy resource is much the same as that in the Mountain State, but these states have made moves to increase their solar capacity, which has enabled them to create jobs and expand

their economy. The opportunity to increase West Virginia’s solar capacity exists, and some of the state’s solar energy developers are poised to take advantage of this opportunity in order to grow residential solar energy and energy storage.

The Power Grid In order to understand the process and benefits of storing solar energy, one must first understand the power grid and the flow of energy from the grid to consumers. The energy that flows through electrical outlets to power consumers’ homes and businesses comes from a power generating station operated by the local electric utility company. The turbines in a traditional power generating station can ExEdge be turned by water that is diverted from Solar technology a river or from steam that is produced isn’t new. It’s by burning coal. The network of wires, been around substations and transformers that distrib- since the 7th utes electricity from generating stations Century B.C., when the sun’s to homes and businesses is known as heat was used the power grid. with glass Increased consumer demand for elec- and mirrors to tricity has produced the need for a more light fires. effective grid known as a smart grid. Source: The controls and automation of the www1.eere. evolving smart grid are digital technol- energy. gov/solar/ ogy that allows for two-way communi- pdfs/solar_ cation between the utility company and timeline.pdf its customers. This technology—both on the demand side, like the consumer’s home, and on the response side, like the energy generator—will work with the power grid to respond to consumers’ rapidly changing electric energy demands.

spring 2014


West Virginia Executive - Spring 2014  

West Virginia's premier business publication

West Virginia Executive - Spring 2014  

West Virginia's premier business publication