The state of Hawaii has more solar per roof than any other state. Since Hawaii is an island with no indigenous fossil fuel resources the state is forced to import fuel to power up the electric grid. Fuel costs drove up the price of electric, so Hawaiian homeowners adopted rooftop solar in a big way.
Solar energy production begins around 9AM, peaks at noon then diminishes until sunset. This poses a challenge to the engineers who manage the power grid, and in Hawaii Tesla has stepped forward with large battery banks that store solar during the day and redistribute the power at night.
What happens when 50 million homes all over the United States get rooftop solar in the next 20 years? Where will all that energy find storage? One solution might be to use electric cars as portable batteries during peak daytime solar production from 10AM to 3PM.
By 2030 there will be millions of full electric cars in use across the United States, and most of those vehicles will have a battery capable of storing 200 kilowatts. The average home in Florida uses about 50 kilowatts per day, and most drivers will use less than 25 kilowatts per day to power their commute, so it makes sense to use electric cars to store energy across the grid.
The existing electric companies could change their business model from the current “generate and delivery” dynamic to a more advanced “move energy from solar to cars to homes” model. As a consumer I would not mind paying a small monthly fee to the electric utility if I was able to move energy from my rooftop solar to my car and then back out to the wider energy marketplace.
Imagine an app on your phone that lets you sell the kilowatts stored in your car back to the grid based on demand at that moment in your area. Perhaps your park your car at work in a high energy-demand area, you could program the app to sell 20 kilowatts back to the grid, leaving enough charge in your car battery to get you home.
Of course, most homes and buildings will also have a large battery back-up capacity in house.
As solar goes up on homes and buildings around the globe the cost of electric will eventually drop to peanuts and the large electric companies will no longer be able to stay competitive using coal and natural gas plants that need to be staffed and fueled up.
The power grid will always be there, but the business model will shift over time.
The electric companies will probably have to outsource the technology to make this happen, so there is a billion dollar opportunity for the firm that develops this integrated technology and then sells it to the operators of the power grid.
Director of Sales