Solar energy storage systems are the main solution to the single big limitation of solar panels. Solar panels mostly only have benefits to their credit. This includes converting a renewable source of energy into electricity, helping consumers go green, bringing down the electricity bills, reducing air pollution, and in general going easy on the environment. However, they are only able to produce electricity when the sun shines. Unfortunately, peak consumption of electricity tends to happen in the evenings when the sun is not too bright. This coincides with the decreased solar generation resulting in a demand and supply issue. Though, when the sun is bright, solar panels can generate enough electricity to meet these peak demands at odd hours in the day.
Thus, with efficient solar energy storage systems, great potential can be unleashed for business owners and homeowners alike.
By storing surplus solar energy, renewable energy services providers can get the most out of solar panels, resulting in a balanced electricity load, efficient grids, cost savings, decreased fossil fuel emissions, and more consistency in the flow of energy.
Solar energy storage can happen in three ways – mechanical, battery, and thermal.
Thermal energy storage uses multiple mediums to absorb and retain heat. This includes molten salt and water which are stored in an insulated tank. These heated mediums are kept until energy is required.
Batteries are a great type of solar energy storage system. Electrochemical batteries are used to store solar energy. When this solar energy is propelled into a battery, the battery component undergoes a chemical reaction that stores the energy. When the energy is needed, the battery is discharged to reverse the reaction, allowing current to be released from the battery. Lithium-ion batteries are a new battery technology that is very widely used in solar applications. They are cost-effective and scalable storage solutions.
Mechanical energy storage makes use of the possible energy in an object to produce electricity. This storage type converts excess electrical power to mechanical power, which is changed back to electricity to be used later. The three main mechanical energy storage systems include pumped hydro, flywheel, and compressed air.
The best way to store solar energy depends on the available resources and requirements. Thermal and mechanical storage options are viable for large energy consumption, though they are very costly. They are never conducive for residential energy storage.
A promising solution is storing grid energy in batteries. Battery energy storage systems are a smart solution to a renewable-powered future. Battery energy storage systems’ prices have gone down over the years due to the drop in lithium-ion battery costs, thus making them a cost-effective solution to effectively integrate a higher share of solar renewables globally. This price drop provides a huge potential for them to become fundamental to energy markets. By storing the energy generated when the sun is at its brightest, they can help industries and households draw power during peak demand slots. This will not allow the excess to go to waste and ensure a reliable uninterrupted supply of power.