A local firm’s new partnership aims to bring safer solar power energy storage options to households—and it’s piloting its first implementation in Dallas.
Dallas-based sustainable homebuilder Horton World Services is teaming up with Salient Energy, a maker of zinc-ion batteries for stationary energy storage, to test the Canadian firm’s technology on a new build in the region, with plans to roll it out to hundreds of thousands of homes.
“Houses built today will determine residential emissions in 2050,” said Terry Horton, Horton World Services founder and CEO, in a statement. “Meaning homebuilders need to start building for sustainability today.
A ‘drop-in’ replacement’
Salient says its batteries are able to produce the same power—and a similar footprint—as lithium-ion batteries, while using more abundant zinc-based materials that make them less expensive. In addition, it says its water-based design reduces fire hazards that can be present with lithium-ion batteries. The batteries and Salient’s storage system are then able to be connected to residential solar panels.
The two companies will be conducting field tests on a model home currently under construction by Horton by the end of the year. If successful, the companies plan to roll out the technology, which Ryan Brown, co-founder of Salient, says can be a “drop-in” replacement for current systems on the market, across more than 200,000 homes across Texas and the Sunbelt by 2025. Brown added that pending a successful test Horton World Services plans to use Salient’s technology in all of its future homes.
“The location for the model home and future developments is based on Horton World Services’ work in identifying the best regions in the country for these new affordable, sustainable communities,” Brown told Dallas Innovates via email.
As part of the partnership, Horton will join Salient’s board of advisors. Horton is a former president at Arlington-based D.R. Horton, a homebuilding giant founded by his brother, Donald Horton.
Brown said the technology will help lower the cost of homeowner’s electricity consumption, in addition to easing demand on utility grids—something many Texans would welcome, as this weekend’s 90-degree-plus temperatures are expected to put unprecedented strain on the public grid for this time of year.
A home’s structure constructed ‘in a matter of hours’
Horton World Solutions was formed in 2018. The company focuses on using modular panels made from composite materials that replace the need for traditional construction methods. It says this allows builders to construct a home’s structural building system “in a matter of hours” by sliding the panels into a steel foundation. So far, the company has built more than 50 test buildings, including single-family homes, tiny houses, and apartment buildings.
Salient’s Brown believes his work with Horton and other homebuilders will prove the efficacy of his system.
“The purpose of our demos and pilots, including this one, is to prove to the market that we’ve truly built a drop-in replacement for (lithium-ion),” Brown said. “Once we’ve done this, we’ll have proven that zinc-ion systems are a no-compromise substitute for lithium-ion. With this complete, Horton World Solutions, plus other homebuilders we have yet to engage, will be able to confidently include our batteries as the default solution in their future net-zero homes.”
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