inventions is the art of connecting the dots using seemingly disparate technologies to create life-changing tools. advanced .

This article is not about one life-changing invention. This article connects the dots between three different energy saving technologies that, when brought together, will change the world.

Google introduced the Sunroof project Tesla has announced the creation of the Tesla Powerwall. MIT and Samsung have published information about a solid state electrolyte (SSE) battery. Individually, these are good ideas and innovative pushes, but when the triumvirate converges, be careful. The world will change.

Confluence of energy saving technologies

If all these things were to play out as beautifully as they should, we would see consumer use of oil, coal, and natural gas as sources of energy drastically reduced; maybe even die off altogether.

Here’s the scenario: you own your own home and you’re thinking about green energy, off-grid energy, and frankly, cheap energy. Altruism doesn’t pay the bills. Do you think that solar energy is solar energy,

Your house is a neat two-story house on a quiet street. Not too big, not too small. Let’s say this is the house in the next picture. We might as well, as this will be the house that all the numbers in this article are based on.


It is 1600 sq. ft. the house costs between $300,000 and $400,000. It is located on 3800 sq. ft. a lot of. It consumes about 7400 kWh/year at a cost of about $120 per month.

How do you get rid of the use of expensive electricity generated mainly by burning carbon-based fuels? How to get to that green, self-sufficient, cheaper energy ? Innovation helps you get started.

I want solar power. Where can I start?

In August of this year, Google engineer Carl Elkin publicly announced the Sunroof project. Project Sunroof takes on Google Maps data and help people understand how to install a photovoltaic system Panels (PV) will help them.

The Sunroof project combines data from many sources and turns it into information that anyone can use. Just enter your street address and you will find out:

  1. If solar power is a good idea for you.
  2. How much electricity can the photovoltaic panels on your roof generate.
  3. Which funding plan makes sense for you.
  4. Who in your area can install it.

Data is currently limited to the San Francisco Bay Area in California and the Greater Boston Area in Massachusetts. But you know, Google. Soon they will cover the entire planet.

This is a very big step forward in the transition from oil to solar energy. Anyone can figure out their solar needs and costs in a matter of seconds. Before that, you would need to invite a professional, make an assessment and quote for you. It was a tedious process.

Google Project Sunroof Brief information

The Sunroof Project says you will save up to $32,000 with a solar PV system over the next 20 years at our facility. Pretty impressive for a $19,000 investment. This is a 68.42% return on investment. How are your shares doing?

It used to be tedious trying to figure out the best way to pay for your solar PV system. Is it worth taking a loan? Should I pay directly? Is there another option? The Sunroof project calculates this for you. At a glance, you can see which payment method will work best for you. They also list possible financiers or leasing companies in your area.

Google Project Opportunities to purchase leasing credit in a sunroof

Finding someone to install your solar electrical system used to require detective skills. There weren’t many installers there, and they didn’t advertise very much. The Sunroof project will show you who is dealing with these systems in your area and give you an idea of ​​their level of experience. If you wish, you can also send your contact information to these providers. Then, instead of trying to find them, they will come straight to you.

Google Project Sunroof Installers

The Google Sunroof project makes buying an energy-saving solar electric system almost as easy as ordering a pizza.

You have received solar energy now — where will you store it?

When the installer shows up with a plan and an offer, you can still pull away from the installation. If you want true power independence, you have a battery to store and maintain. Maybe it’s not for you after all. That would be nice, but you just don’t have to care anymore. Your house is already full.

solar battery bank

This is clear. However, if Elon Musk of Tesla Motors glory, in your own way, you will use Tesla Powerwall batteries. Because the Powerwall uses lithium-ion batteries like a laptop or tablet, it takes up less space and is easier to install than traditional lead-acid batteries. It’s also virtually maintenance-free and more pleasing to the eye than a bench full of car batteries. Perhaps if your solar power system used a Powerwall, you’d be more prepared to go straight off the grid.

The storage battery for our subject house would require fifty-six 12-volt 100 amp-hour batteries. Price? $19,320? 23 cubic feet. Two Tesla Powerwalls would do almost the same thing for $6,000 in 14 cubic feet. Elon Musk just saved you $13,320 on a backup battery.

However, the current version of Powerwall itself does not change solar energy. It offers more storage capacity in a smaller area, that’s true. But that’s nothing we didn’t know yet. Frankly, little will change the world.

But it could be. Tesla has transformed the electric car from a ruthless joke that only hippies and weirdos wanted into a beautiful, well-equipped car that can blow the doors of most gas burners. Tesla cars are now status symbols, along with BMWs and Mercedes around the world. Not bad for an American made hippie dream.

What happens when that kind of momentum and impact goes beyond the Powerwall? What happens when we finally talk about being offline with as much respect and real attitude as we talk about Tesla cars? You get Elon Musk’s vision that a gridless society is our reality.

Tesla Powerwall and Model S

With Tesla’s plan to build a $5 billion «Gigafactory» that would produce 35 GWh per year of battery capacity, reducing Tesla’s battery prices by a third, this is a reality that we could accept very quickly. You can even pre-order Powerwall today.

Tesla Gigafactory

Unfortunately, Powerwalls aren’t super cheap yet. There is hope; A recent study done for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency shows that lithium-ion battery prices will drop by 60% by 2020. Will Powerwall prices drop in the same way? Let’s hope. In addition, lithium-ion batteries need to be replaced every 7 years. This still leaves us at the mercy of throwing hazardous waste into landfills. This little piece of information can shatter your dreams of energy independence. They are not as green and affordable as we need them to be. What is there?

A battery that lasts forever

Between the vast intellectual potential of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the resources of Samsung, there has been a major development of battery technology. Imagine a battery that can hold more power in an even smaller space than a lithium-ion battery. Imagine it doesn’t need to be changed… who knows how long? Decades? Ever? Think of a battery that won’t leak acid and explode if overcharged, overheated, or punctured.

A burnt-out lithium-ion battery from Japan Airlines' Boeing 787

This will be the battery that MIT and Samsung have in their minds. Most batteries of any type contain liquid. This is an electrolyte. If you are old enough, you may remember to add water to your car batteries from time to time. The fact that the electrolyte is currently liquid causes many of the problems associated with batteries. The MIT/Samsung team proposes a Solid State Electrolytic Battery (SSE).

Lithium solid state battery

You can pierce or smash it and there will be nothing to burn. One safety factor is enough to make these batteries revolutionary.

Their research shows that an SSE battery can hold as much power as a lithium-ion battery in two-thirds of the space. Bearing in mind that a Li-ion battery holds as much energy as a lead-acid battery in two-thirds of the space, you can see how small an SSE battery can be. This will be almost a third of the size of a lead-acid battery of similar capacity.

Size comparison of lead-acid and liquid-ion-lithium electrolyte batteries

An energy-saving battery will also last much longer than a lithium-ion battery. No definitive answer has been given as to how much more. However, estimates give hundreds of thousands of charge cycles. The charge cycle or recharge is one of the measures taken into account when calculating battery life.

Our Boston home would now only need one Tesla Powerwall if it were SSE. This should cut the cost of battery storage by at least half, and maybe more. And you would only buy one.

The lithium-ion battery can be recharged 300 to 4700 times during its service life. You get somewhere around 7 years of life under proper care. If a lithium-ion battery takes about 7,700 charge cycles to become useless in 7 years, that’s 671 charge cycles. Mathematically, one hundred thousand charge cycles will give you about 150 years of SSE battery life. While this is a very rough estimate, it essentially means that they do not need to be replaced.

Convergence — when three meet

Even though each piece of this puzzle has its own strengths, by themselves they are not going to kill oil. However, you can see how the combination has a synergistic effect. The whole becomes more than the parts. Much better.

The International Renewable Energy Agency proposes to cut costs by 40% by the end of 2017. By that time, we could have SSE batteries in the Tesla Powerwall for about $1,000 and you only need one.

This off-grid solar electrical system for our home in Boston, which would cost about $30,000 today? It could be as little as $12,000 through 2020. If you receive the same $25K in state and federal Solar Renewable Energy Rebates and Credits (SREC), your system is free. This instantly adds $30,000 to your ROI, going from $32,000 to $64,000 over 20 years.

What would you do with an extra $64,000? How good would it be to know that no matter what happens, you will have electricity? How much cleaner would the air and water be if only 1 in 100 homes in America did this? That’s when a snowball’s chance in hell to kill oil becomes a reality avalanche and the world turns the carbon corner forever.

Image Credits: Tesla Powerwall, Tesla Gigafactory via Tesla Motors Solar Bank,
Exploded battery from a Japan Airlines Boeing 787, lithium ion solid state diagram via Wikipedia, battery with graphics via PixaBay.

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