Microgrids, battery storage, and high efficiency solar panels are the future of renewable energy.
The recent political changes in the USA are already changing the landscape of energy in this country. Oil and gas resources are being aggressively phased out and replaced with renewable energy incentives, though not yet proportionately so.
In the first few days of the new Biden administration we've seen a major pipeline permit canceled, an executive order to federal agencies to replace their fleet with "clean and zero-emission" vehicles and become carbon neutral, and the US has rejoined the Paris Accord.
It's clear, that for the next four years at least, the US will be aligning itself with the clean energy push we've been seeing across the pond for decades.
So where should we look to for the future of clean energy in the US?
Microgrids and battery storage are large components of decentralizing electricity or going off-grid, which I believe is the wave of the future. We've seen how large natural disasters knock centralized electricity distribution systems out and how essential it can be to generate your own electricity in times of disaster. The polar vortex that reached Texas and many other unprepared southern states this weekend knocked out power to most of the state for 12-24 hours, leaving many without a source of heat and freezing water lines for many citizens.
There's also something to be said for owning your own plant and investing in that every month rather than paying an electricity bill to increase the wealth of another large company; similar to owning a home instead of renting. As the technology for microgrids and batteries becomes more efficient, we expect the components to become more affordable and more widely adopted. As we continue to become less dependent upon the grid, centralized energy may very well become a thing of the past.
We've already seen the efficiency of solar panels increase exponentially over the past few years, and expect to see that trend continue. As we're able to use more and more data from current solar energy installations to better the design and utility, solar panels will become smaller, more efficient, and have increased usability and functionality. I expect in the future we'll see solar panels used in ways we haven't even conceived of yet. As solar array components continue to become more affordable and of sleeker design, their use will become more widespread and eventually standardized so that when new buildings are built they'll automatically include solar panels in the design. We're starting to see this already in California with a bill passed in 2020 mandating solar on new buildings, and states like Massachusetts and Colorado will likely be the first to follow suit with the rest of the states watching closely and eventually following. The trick here will be to time the state legislature passing with a decrease in solar industry pricing that doesn't stall the purchase of new homes. With California's traditionally high real estate prices, the rest of the US is watching closely to see how new home sales are affected by their recent mandate.
In summary, as the Biden administration continues to push clean energy in the US, we may finally start taking larger steps towards carbon neutrality and putting the Earth we live on ahead of profits. The next four years should set us on a path to normalizing clean energy generation and usage in the US, and we're here for it.