Happy New Year. We have high hopes for 2021. Although it will take several months, we are optimistic that life will get easier as the vaccine rolls out. Personally, I am looking forward to traveling again and getting to meet HOMER users in person all over the world.
We also expect a substantial acceleration in renewable energy deployment with the change in administration here in the U.S. This is on top of the already rapid growth underway.
The biggest factor driving the rapid growth of renewable deployment is their favorable economics. HOMER software has always been about understanding the economics of renewable and hybrid power systems. In the past, this has led us to focus on high-cost markets relying on diesel power. Now solar and wind have surpassed parity with the cost of natural gas and coal in most places. Like the rest of the renewable industry, we are also looking at larger systems in more traditional markets.
This month’s newsletter focuses on several key factors driving the increase in renewable deployment. The lead article focuses on a main growth factor – the decreasing cost and increasing use of batteries and the related technical innovations that are underway.
As renewable use increases, the renewable industry is turning to batteries while the battery industry is innovating in many ways, including novel chemistries and materials, and the scaling of manufacturing. Our corporate parent, UL, has been a leader in testing, inspection, and certification, particularly regarding safety issues, of all kinds of electrical equipment for over 125 years. In HOMER’s early years during the 1990’s, we focused on microgrids which were the only cost-effective application of batteries at that time. These decades of experience give us unique and unrivaled expertise that puts us at the forefront of the ongoing battery revolution.
At HOMER Energy by UL, we have always believed that the modularity of renewable and hybrid systems enables a huge diversity of innovative and niche applications that require creativity in the analysis of their unique economic factors. Construction sites are one such niche described in our article about BayWa.re’s innovative approach to walking the talk and eliminating emissions from even the construction of their solar plants.
Finally, we want to call out Australia as a real leader in solar deployment with an article about a 10 MW solar array with a 20 MWh battery on the roof of one of Australia’s largest shopping malls. It reminds me of a blog post I wrote 11 ½ years ago about the potential of flat roofs that should all be covered with solar panels. Our webinar this month, geared to the Australian market, will expand our traditional focus on design to include the critical topics of safety and bankability. We hope to see you there.
As we map out our 2021 products, we would love your input on your modeling needs and how we can improve the HOMER software. Please take a short moment to fill out our survey (by January 31, 2021).