Off the Grid

ThinkProgress is reporting that HSBC (the evil bank, I know, redundant) estimates that in Germany, it will soon be cheaper to buy a home based solar power system with batteries than to pay for electricity from the power companies:

HSBC took a look at the situation in Germany, and concluded that power generation units with a capacity of 10 megawatts or less will make up 50 percent of the country’s power by 2025 — up from 30 percent now. “The process of re-localisation of power production appears unstoppable,” HSBC says in its paper.

“Initially we expect that this will be small-scale in the form of household-based battery storage of solar-generated power, and, further ahead, large-scale conversion of hydro-power to green gas for storage in the gas network.”

Curiously, they kind of come to the same conclusion for the US, although it’s mentioned more in passing at the end of the article:

Here in America, Tesla thinks the costs of battery storage could fall to $100 per kilowatt-hour by the end of the decade. As John Aziz pointed out at The Week, that would drop the combined cost of a home solar array and a home battery to $17,000 over the system’s 20-year lifespan — well below the $26,000 the average U.S. household currently spends on electricity from the grid.

A couple of important points not to miss here:  Germany is already at 30 percent.  US is at more like 1%.  Even so, if it becomes cheaper, a lot of people will do it.

This would be a dream come true for a lot of people.  As always, check your assumptions:

  • The processes for manufacturing, installing, using, and end of life disposal of solar plus batteries is actually less costly in terms of whatever matters to you.  That is, environmental costs, carbon emissions, water usage, etc.
  • The TP article shows the HSBC assumptions on costs.  It looks pretty conservative to me:hsbc-battery-parity
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