In a new briefing paper sent to investors this week, the world’s largest private bank says it expects that domestic solar energy will replace large-scale, centralised power stations, as the technology becomes more cost-effective and improved batteries enable homes to store their own intermittent sources of energy.
The paper says: large-scale power generation “will be the dinosaur of the future energy system: Too big, too inflexible, not even relevant for backup power in the long run.”
Electric cars will play an important role in helping homeowners to see the benefit of home energy production, using their renewably-produced electricity to recharge their cars and save thousands in ‘fuel’ costs compared to running combustion cars.
Estimating that batteries will cost halve of what they do today by 2020, it is expected that electric cars will cost about the same as their combustion rivals by this point; making them far more accessible to all.
The falling price of batteries will also enable ordinary homeowners to invest in energy storage systems for their homes, to store electricity produced from intermittent sources, like domestic solar panels.
Even without the help of subsidies, Zurich-based USB expects that these factors will combine to make power stations redundant and uncompetitive and home energy more financially attractive.
According to the report: “By 2020 investing in a home solar system with a 20-year life span, plus some small-scale home battery technology and an electric car, will pay for itself in six to eight years for the average consumer in Germany, Italy, Spain, and much of the rest of Europe.”
That compares to pay-back period of around 15 years currently, for home solar systems installed today.
UBS also expects that EVs and plug-in hybrid penetration in Europe will reach 10 per cent by 2025.
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