SunEdison supplies batteries for net-zero energy homes in California

California wants all new commercial buildings to be net-zero energy facilities by 2030.

SunEdison has announced it's supplying lithium-ion batteries for nine prototype homes in California that will be fully-powered by renewable energy.

The zero-net energy home project is part of a larger state-wide plan to have all new construction homes run 100% off renewables, such as photovoltaic roof panels, by 2020.

The new project is being led by the non-profit industry consortium Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and is supported by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Zero-net energy consumption means the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on site.

"EPRI is leading this project to gain insights into how a community of net-zero homes interacts with the local grid," Ram Narayanamurthy, EPRI's project lead, said in a statement. "We're using advanced controls and energy storage to manage these mini, distributed power plants that are expected to play a much larger role in the grid of the future."

The research institute said the nine-home zero-net energy project is important for future grid planning because under the California Public Utilities Commission's Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, California aims to have all new homes be net-zero starting in 2020. And it wants all new commercial buildings to meet that standard by 2030.

SunEdison said it is supplying a five-kilowatt battery for each of the homes, which are being constructed by Meritage Homes Corporation, a real estate development company. The batteries can also hold five-kilowatt hours of capacity and will power the homes at night and during inclement weather.

"It's a pilot project and costs are coming down rapidly because the automotive and the energy industries are driving massive economies of scale in the manufacturing and production of batteries," a SunEdison spokesman wrote in an email reply to Computerworld.

SunEdison expects the cost of batteries to drop by 50% in the next three years, he added.

Construction on the nine net-zero energy homes in Fontana, Calif. has already begun.

"With this project, we're pioneering solutions that will help Californians prepare for the future of the grid, where homes and businesses will be generating their own electricity on a much greater scale than we're seeing today," said Tim Derrick, SunEdison's general manager of Advanced Solutions.

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