BloombergNEF has predicted that at least 50,000 California homes will install storage systems this year.
That figure would quadruple the total from 2019. The forecast came on the heels of a year of record-breaking growth for home solar storage in the U.S, due to the increased need for blackout protection and utility rate hedging.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has likely delayed home storage installations statewide, the demand forces are still there. Bloomberg cited California’s catastrophic power shutdowns in 2019 and the adoption of “time of use” utilities pricing as key motivators for the increased demand.
As the forecast pointed out, more than a million California homes already had solar panels when the year began. That number is projected to grow dramatically going forward: As of January 1, the state requires new home construction to be equipped with solar. Regardless of the COVID-19 situation, home construction will continue and the solar mandate will translate to about 100,000 new solar installations each year. The financial and energy resilience advantages of storage, combined with a California rebate program and federal investment tax credit, will likely persuade many of these home buyers to add a battery.
With solar storage on the verge of going mainstream in California homes, the following companies are among the most active in the industry: NeoVolta, Tesla, Generac and SunPower.
NeoVolta, which recently began trading and is around $2.85 per share, is the only pure-play energy storage company on this list. This San Diego based manufacturer’s NV14 system has a capacity of 14.4 kWh and lithium iron phosphate chemistry, which is safer, cleaner and longer-lasting than ordinary lithium-ion battery chemistries. The NV14’s capacity is expandable to 24.0 kWh with the optional NV24 add-on – without the expense of a second inverter. The company recently announced that the state of California approved its 24 kWh product for a consumer rebate of up to $6,000.
Tesla, whose stock is trading around $1,403 a share and has more than doubled in the last 120 days, continues to put resources into energy storage. Tesla’s flagship product in-home energy storage is the lithium-ion-based Powerwall 2, which delivers 13.5 kWh of storage capacity.
Generac, whose stock is trading around $166 per share, is a recent entrant into the energy storage market via their acquisition of PIKA Energy in April of 2019. The company has been in the backup power business since 1959, starting with gas-fueled generators for homes and RVs. In the fall of 2019, the Wisconsin-based company unveiled its 8.6 kWh PWRcell solar storage technology, which can be configured up to 17.1 kWh.
SunPower, trading around $11.92 per share, has been a solar innovator in Silicon Valley since 1985. In September 2019, SunPower introduced the all-in-one Equinox Storage, which is designed to integrate with SunPower solar panels. The Equinox delivers up to 13 kWh of storage capacity, has a 10-year warranty and is rated for indoor and outdoor use.
Photo: Tesla’s Solar Roof web page