Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

A wall-mounted battery stores electricity generated by rooftop solar panels for use charging an electric car. Photo: Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Installations of home energy storage system in the U.S. hit a record high in the first quarter of 2018, according to a new industry report. The new capacity of 36 megawatt-hours will sustain an estimated 4,000 home systems and adds to the 1,080 megawatt-hours installed in the past 4 years.

The big picture: Home energy storage systems commonly use batteries to store the electricity generated by rooftop solar panels, which can then be used during peak times and on demand to reduce utility costs or for backup power during inclement weather. The increasing penetration of residential and commercial solar installations has lowered energy demands on utilities. But the policies they have implemented to offset those losses have ended up making home energy systems even more attractive.

The background: As solar gained popularity over the past decade, and customers began generating their own energy during peak times (noon), peak-time electricity demand for utilities dropped. As a result, the utilities shifted the peak times and time-of-use (TOU) rates to later in the afternoon and early evening when solar wasn’t as effective. Utilities have also started to restrict net-metering compensation, which allows customers to offset public utility costs or sell surplus energy generated from home systems back to the public grid.

One third of the first-quarter 2018 installations were in California and Hawaii, states with aggressive and supportive policies for renewables. (California’s self-generation incentive program, for example, offers energy storage subsidies if installed with a solar panel system.) Both states are looking to revise net-metering restrictions and TOU rates, which would make home installations more appealing and affordable.

What's next: As home energy storage systems proliferate, adding an electric vehicle to the mix would provide a trifecta of home renewables. Using stored energy generated from rooftop solar panels to power an electric vehicle could provide a model of fossil fuel–free living.

Maggie Teliska is a technical specialist at Caldwell Intellectual Property, an intellectual property law firm. She is also a member of GLG, a platform connecting businesses with industry experts.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
7 mins ago - Economy & Business

Merger Monday has been overrun by SPACs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Five companies this morning announced plans to go public via reverse mergers with SPACs, at an aggregate market value of more than $15 billion. And there might be even more by the time you read this.

The bottom line: SPAC merger activity hasn't peaked. If anything, it's just getting started.

Moderna says vaccine appears to protect against new COVID-19 variants

Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is effective against new variants of the virus that first appeared in the U.K. and in South Africa, the company announced on Monday.

Yes, but: The vaccine was as effective against the strain from U.K., but saw a six-fold reduction in antibodies against the South Africa variant. Even still, the neutralizing antibodies generated by the vaccine "remain above levels that are expected to be protective," according to the company.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Updated 1 hour ago - World

Xi Jinping warns against "new cold war" in Davos speech

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Wang Zhao - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that a "new cold war" could turn hot, and must be avoided, in a speech on Monday at World Economic Forum’s virtual “Davos Agenda” conference.

Why it matters: Xi didn't refer directly to U.S.-China tensions, but the subtext was clear. These were his first remarks to an international audience since the inauguration of President Biden, whose administration has already concurred with Donald Trump's determination that China is committing "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims, and issued a warning about China's aggression toward Taiwan.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!