Zero-Net Energy Homes the New Reality in California
Categories: Solar Power
Leading global energy company, SunEdison will supply an advanced battery system for an innovative enviro-friendly project in Southern California.
Announced last week, the plan will see nine new homes built in Fontana. Each of them will be zero-net sites, designed so they can generate and store their own energy.
Other major partners in the scheme are Meritage Homes and Southern California Edison who are working with the support of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
The project is being led by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) that aims to better understand how zero-net homes will impact the local electricity grid.
This is an important ‘test’ for the state’s long-term energy plans since the CPUC’s forward strategy determines that all new homes in California be zero-net by 2020 with all commercial buildings by 2030.
Tim Derrick, general manager of SunCorp’s Advanced Solutions, said that the project was a way of preparing for the future of the grid. “We’re pioneering solutions,” he said, that enable storage of, “solar-generated electricity and better manage the interactions of that electricity with the grid.”
Ram Narayanamurthy, EPRI’s project leader added: “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 future.”
Pushed by state and federal regulations, homebuilder’s are turning increasingly to zero-net technology in the USA. A report in the Wall Street Journal early in 2015 predicted that the zero-net home – once only the domain of the elite by virtue of its prohibitive cost – was about to go ‘mainstream’.
As of the end of 2014 the figures weren’t encouraging for a take-up. A US Department of Energy report said by then only 370 homes in the country were certified zero-net energy ready. Another 14,500 were ‘close’ to zero-net status.
Preparing a home for zero-net use includes features like rooftop solar panels, spray-on foam insulation, energy efficient lighting, windows, doors, and appliances.
It is believed that the concept of a zero-net home will challenge conventional energy supply, as well as raises questions as to how technology companies might be able to tap in on the new smarter, energy efficient home.
The Wall Street Journal report said that customer demand will increase in 2015 because the cost of installation materials essential to the process has fallen by 50% since 2010.