Monday, December 28, 2009


Considering how much effort has been invested in branding the Hudson Valley as the Solar Tech Capital, the mere idea that energy storage batteries for car usage could now be installed in our homes is terrific news!

According to an article in the NYTimes Technology section this week, Panasonic has developed such a product. The com
pany claims it will launch a massive Lithium-Ion battery capable of powering a home for up to a week.

The piece goes on to say: If home batteries like this one become commonplace, renewable sources of energy like rooftop solar and residential wind turbines could finally take off. If affordable storage is achieved on the home-level, there might be less need for grid-scale storage, which is pricier and harder to accomplish.

Panasonic just became a majority investor in Sanyo. This bolsters their ability to manufacture the batteries on a grand scale. Their goal is to become the dominant provider early on in the race to provide home batteries. This makes sense even though I sound like I'm shilling for a Japanese company. You know that bothers me.

The other companies competing with Panasonic in this field would be: A123Systems, Johnson Controls-Saft,and Valence Technologies.

In addition to saving energy costs, I like the idea of the monitoring system they claim to be working on. This would let you gage what your TV and fridge use while running. However, you know the first generation of batteries will be costly. Remember the first iPhones were over $400 each? Lets hope the industry cuts those costs quickly.

If there was ever a time to push for a new occupant at the Kingston Industrial Park, this is it. Has anyone called any of these battery Companies yet? If Kingston doesn't want to pursue this type of industry, perhaps another location in Ulster County. Now who do I know on the Legislature?

Note: A123 Systems Selected for Award Negotiations for $250M Grant from U.S. Department of Energy to Build Advanced Battery Production Facilities in the United States


Anonymous said...

This may have a small niche but no way it can go mainstream, I've already seen estimates that there is not enough Lithium in the world to make enough batteries if we went all electric cars. And a lot of the existing supplies come from South American sources.

Duracell now offers DISPOSABLE Lithium Ion AA sized batteries, which is wasteful. Not all that Green is it?

Anonymous said...

We're still on the grid, but I would rather use something like this instead of a generator in case there is an ice storm. Central Hudson isn't all that reliable in winter.

Anonymous said...

Remember...the oil companies are in charge, which is to say, the Cheneys, Bushes, Ashcrofts and bin Ladens of the world.

Anonymous said...

3:10...stay on the grid, but cut your power bill by selling solar/wind power back to the grid,while keeping your Panasonic backup battery constantly charged up for ice storm outages.

Anonymous said...

Hate to beak it to you, but I've heard that being totally disconnected from the grid is not as easy as it sounds.

First: It costs almost $100,000 to be totally solar independent.
Second: Most homes do not have enough roof surface area pointing in the correct direction for the amount of solar panels you need to generate enough power.
Finally: The normal solar array that most people today can afford (around $30,000)only reduces your monthly electric bill by $75.00 to $100.00 a month. My monthly summer electric bill is $200.00, and that's relatively small compared to larger homes.

Anonymous said...

To 6:51: From what I've discovered, there is the option of leasing solar panels. Some companies in California are actually offering "lease-to-own" options. Granted some areas are ahead of us a bit on the Solar Energy front, but there's no reason a local company cant dive into the same financial incentive for home-owners in the Hudson Valley as they do.