One way to forecast the future of renewable energy is to look at all the planned power plants that have applied for grid connections. Eight years ago, that list was packed with natural gas and wind power plants. Today, it’s overwhelmingly solar projects. And the big news is that more than one-third of those solar projects are a new type of power plant with the potential to transform the industry: They’re hybrids that pair energy production with battery storage. They help solve a quandary that the solar industry has faced since its inception: how to provide electricity after the sun goes down.

Joachim Seel, Bentham Paulos and Will Gorman at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have monitored the growth of hybrids. They describe the changing future of electricity and lay out five lessons about the future of hybrid power, its vast potential and some important challenges ahead.

Also today:

Stacy Morford

Environment + Climate Editor

By pairing solar power and battery storage, hybrids can keep providing electricity after dark. Petmal via Getty Images

Meet the power plant of the future: Solar + battery hybrids are poised for explosive growth

Joachim Seel, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Bentham Paulos, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Will Gorman, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

More than a third of solar plants applying to connect to the US grid are now hybrids that include battery storage.

Politics + Society

Arts + Culture

Science + Technology

Health + Medicine

Trending on site

Reader Comments 💬

More from The Conversation US