Four years in the making, and following one of the largest field tests ever undertaken in Europe, Tenesol has launched a new energy storage system it believes represents the next generation of solar.
Whereas residential producers typically feed the electricity they produce into the grid and buy it back at a rate set by the utility company, minus any government-sponsored feed in tariff, the lithium-ion Sun Smart+ batteries store solar energy to be used on demand. Any excess is fed into the grid.
The system can be retrofitted to residential and small commercial systems and accommodate production of up to 5kWp for more than 20 years, returning 97% of energy stored for two years. Tenesol said savings may be high as 9.5 cents for each kWh, or about 25% of a typical FiT for small-scale rooftop production.
Though Tenesol did not give the pricing assumptions behind the figure, it is apparent the recent decline of FiTs has made the economics of self-consumption more attractive. In a recent product launch media statement the company said “several leading associations from France and Germany” began designing energy storage systems four years ago, part of a bet the solar industry long-term will move away from government incentives and feed-in-tariffs to self-consumption. Managing director Benoit Rolland said such a shift will make the industry more stable and the technology more cost-effective.
German branch general manager Engin Yaman said “the industry as a whole has come to the conclusion that the best way to move ahead with solar is to have companies, industries and indeed households consume the energy they produce themselves.”
“Second generation [solar] will be all about decentralised systems that allow for self-consumption,” he said.
The €9 million project has now delivered a working system that can be mass produced. It is available to buy in certain international markets. For more information visit the company website.