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Solar power batteries to supply entire houses

Japanese householders already familiar with domestic solar panels are about to get a taste of an even cleaner future thanks to a new solar battery from Sharp and its partners there.

Working with battery specialist Eliiy Power, Sharp will create the world's first storage battery for household electricity systems. It will be able to draw power from solar panels on a house's roof or walls and store enough electricity to run the house for a day and a half.

Panels not enough

The lithium-ion cell, which is likely to cost around ¥500,000 (£2,350) when it hits the market next year, will complement existing solar equipment by adding the ability to pool the electricity they create. Panels alone cannot store power and so can power a house for just over half a day at best.

Although solar panels are relatively common in Japan thanks to its long, warm spring, summer and autumn seasons, the country still contributes a significant 12 per cent of the world's greenhouse gases. The companies behind the new battery hope reducing the reliance on traditionally generated power will help cut this.