As part of a strategy to tap the consumer residential market, NRG Solar, known mainly for large solar power plants, has designed a home-use solar electric system with energy storage for use. The company will introduce the product, Pergola, in Southern California in late April. So reports Forbes.
NRG’s solar panels create a pergola, and its battery would store unused solar electricity for use at night or during a blackout. The idea for the product was inspired by the challenges incurred by last October’s East Coast hurricane, Sandy. The devastation put a strain on utilities trying to repair damage quickly, and consumers who went months without power. The ability to generate power at home minimizes the risks from storms and other disasters.
The components for the pergolas are being assembled via a Phoenix based joint venture between NRG and GCL-Poly Energy called Sunora Energy Solutions.
While NRG intends to market the pergola to businesses, such as gas stations and banks, it sees the residential market as a tremendous opportunity, thanks to tax breaks and other government incentives, which have already helped the home market grow by 62% in 2012.
A solar energy package that comes with energy storage is rare in the residential market mainly because it’s more expensive than conventional solar panels (SolarCity offers one and OneRoof Energy plans to introduce one). To find out how the pergolas will perform, NRG is installing a handful of them in California, Texas, and New York. It will also give the company a chance to understand local building regulations.
NRG Solar is part of NRG Energy, which owns two utilities, Green Mountain Energy and Reliant, and these two utilities may market the pergolas to their customers. NRG also offers residential solar leases through a subsidiary called NRG Residential Solutions. Homeowners who sign up wouldn’t have to pay for the system or its installation; instead, they would sign a long-term lease and pay a monthly fee.