The next big boom in the solar industry could be that of energy storage, if one watches the investment practices of major corporations and wealthy individuals. According to a CleanTechnica report, big money investors such as Bill Gates and Vinod Khosla, as well as companies like Citi, are upping their shares of solar energy storage firms. Khosla, for example, is investing in Varentec, a US company that is developing smart technology to  link storage devices and renewables, and lead to what he describes as “cost-effective, intelligent, decentralized power grid solutions.” This only makes sense. The solar industry has seen rapid improvement in solar panel efficiency, and systems have shown that when solar is delivered via a direct current system (such as Nextek’s) there is much less power loss than in traditional AC systems. The missing link has been energy storage, which would allow solar to be used when the sun’s rays are not available, and to become a greater part of the smart grid through distributed generation—feeding power to additional users on an as needed basis.

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