Solar energy and energy storage have always been natural partners for homeowners and businesses who want to produce their own energy. But the energy storage side of the equation has never made economic sense, partly because batteries are expensive and partly because residential and commercial solar owners can export electricity to the grid under net metering.
What’s changing right now is that battery costs are coming down rapidly and net metering is coming under pressure as utilities try to fight off growing residential and commercial solar installations. That creates an opening for solar and battery storage to become a booming market as companies create the technology that allows people to produce and consume more of their energy on-site. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR), SolarEdge(NASDAQ:SEDG), and Sunrun (NASDAQ:RUN) are the four companies to watch as the industry grows.
Tesla’s Powerwall is probably the most well-known battery for residential solar systems, making the company a leader in the market. The Powerwall combines an inverter with a 13.5 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery and controls for your energy system. It will connect to a solar system as well as Tesla vehicles, charging when you want it to and providing backup power for the home.
Also, don’t forget about Tesla’s scalable Powerpack battery system. It’s one of the leading products in commercial and utility scale energy storage. The company just completed a 129 megawatt-hour (MWh) energy storage system in South Australia, the biggest lithium-ion battery storage system in the world.
What Tesla can do is sell energy storage systems through SolarCity and through other installers. That makes it a solar battery storage powerhouse with a number of ways to grow in energy long-term.