The government of Germany, a global leader in the production of solar energy, will consider establishing a subsidy program for power storage on May 1. The move could stimulate the growth of this industry in the same way it did for the establishment of solar power in the country. Although Germany receives less sunshine than any part of the United States (including Alaska), it has become one of the largest producers of solar energy, thanks in large part to subsidies that allow business and residential customers to afford the new technology until it becomes established. And with that growth in solar, which includes customers supplying surplus electrical power back to the nation’s power grid, comes concerns over the volatility of all that distributed generation causing the grid to behave erratically. The solution is believed to be in increased power storage, which would smooth the release of surplus power into the grid. Increased storage would also allow consumers to use more solar power and less non-renewable generated electricity.
According to Eric Wesoff of The Energy Collective, the initial battery systems will be lead-acid technology, which might give way to lithium-ion or other emerging battery formulations as prices fall.
Should the subsidy work, the combination of generated and stored renewable electric power could significantly increase the nation’s independence from non-renewable forms of power generation, such as coal and oil. Renewable energy advocates and businesses invested in new power generation and use technologies will be watching Germany’s subsidy program carefully to determine the viability of this next step in the advancement of solar power.