IKEA gets into battery storage
Battery storage is all set to be one of the overriding concerns of the energy industry in the future. The technology is already snowballing and its popularity will only increase as the world continues to transition to a renewable energy future.
The major thing holding renewable energy back in the past has been the fact that it can be a bit flighty. The wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine, and energy networks are built on stability. If the wind suddenly dies we have to activate an emergency fossil fuel power station in order to keep the lights on. This redundancy is vital for the smooth running of our society.
This is the area where battery storage could make a huge difference – redundancy. The technology has now improved to the point where we can seriously consider building massive battery farms which aren’t a waste of money and time.
Tesla is leading the way in this regard with high profile battery farms in California, Hawaii and Australia bringing the technology to the forefront of the public eye. When batteries can be fully integrated into utilities and state enterprises alongside being installed in people’s homes for a reasonable cost then we have a changing market, and others will follow on. When a technology like this becomes commonplace and the big players get involved, the price tends to come down and innovation tends to speed up.
All of this means that it is fantastic news to see IKEA getting into the market. The Swedish company is a worldwide giant with almost unparalleled access to the homes of millions of people around the world. If a company like that can produce a battery system which integrates into the home then it will inevitably be bought by many, many people. This is good news for the earth.
The IKEA batteries will be made by Solarcentury, a British firm, and will be priced competitively to complement the solar tiles which the company already offers. IKEA and Solarcentury estimate that their battery system could save people more than £500 per year – a figure which will surely increase over time as the energy grid is made more efficient.
Hege Saebjornsen, IKEA’s Sustainability Manager for UK and Ireland said in a press release: “We know that our customers want to live more sustainably and together with Solarcentury we will help them to get more value from their solar panels and do just that.”
IKEA doesn’t really have a history of failure when it comes to large projects like this and there is no indication that this will be the exception.
When combined with new initiatives such as the establishment of a National Battery Institute in the UK and the aforementioned successes of Tesla in this field, it is clear the age of the battery has come, and we will all be better off for it.