When you think about energy efficiency, one of the first things that probably comes to mind is solar panels. For many years, solar panels have been the cover girl for green energy, and they have become synonymous with making good decisions for our planet.
But they are still something that a lot of people don’t really know that much about, and because of this they are something that many have questions about.
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Unless you have had solar panels fitted to your home, or you have experience with this type of energy, you might not be aware of how solar panels work.
Sure, you probably know that these panels generate energy through the sun’s rays, but what you probably didn’t know is that solar panels don’t actually come with the capacity to store energy.
So, where does this energy go? Well, there is a whole other component of solar panels that do this job. In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at why solar panels do not store energy, and everything else that you need to know about this. So, to find out more, keep on reading.
What Are Solar Panels?
First, let’s take a look at what solar panels are. As you probably already know, solar panels are panels that are used to convert light that comes from the sun into electricity.
Solar panels were a real pioneer in the creation of green energy, and they are one of the most popular forms of green energy that people choose for their homes.
Solar panels are commonly used in outdoor home devices so that people do not need to connect them to electricity. For example, it is highly likely that you have heard of solar paneled lights for the garden.
But, as well as being used on this small scale, solar panels can also be used on a very large scale. Such a large scale, in fact, that they can be used to provide your entire household with energy.
Most of the time, solar panels will be fitted to the roof of your home, allowing them to collect plenty of sunlight, and provide your home with plenty of electricity.
But what a lot of people do not realize is that solar panels are not the only component required to gather green energy in this manner. Let’s take a look at why that is.
Do Solar Panels Store Energy?
As we said earlier, no, solar panels do not store energy. This is the main reason why they are not the only component required to generate green energy.
While solar panels can generate energy by converting sunlight, they do not have the capacity to store this energy once it has been created. That is why solar panels must be used in conjunction with other components.
While this is an important piece of information, it is likely something that you won’t have known unless you have experience with using solar panels.
This is because most people only become aware of this fact when they are in the process of having solar panels installed on their home. Now, you might be wondering how energy is stored if solar panels do not have the capacity to do this.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at how solar energy is installed once it is generated by your solar panels.
So, How is Solar Energy Stored?
Now that you know that solar panels do not have the ability to store energy, you might be wondering where the energy that is generated by these solar panels goes.
Well, as is often the case with technology, there is a lot that goes on with solar panels that we will simply not be aware of unless you have experience with it. So, how is solar energy stored?
As you know, solar energy is generated through solar panels. Throughout the day, the solar panels will soak up sun rays and then convert these rays into electricity. But, solar panels are not designed to store energy, so once the energy is created it must be transferred to something else.
This something else is known as a solar battery. When you have solar panels installed in your home, they will be linked up to a solar battery. This allows the generated energy to be transferred from the solar panels to the battery. So, none of the energy that your solar panels generate will be lost.
The type of battery that your solar panels are connected to will depend on a number of things. But the main thing that will influence this is whether, or not, you are selling excess electricity to the grid.
If you are selling your solar energy to the grid, then any power generated (that is not used in your home) will be sent to the grid.
However, if you are only generating electricity for your own use, then your solar panels will usually be connected to a battery bank. This bank will store any unused energy for the future.
What are Solar Batteries?
Now that you know that solar batteries are a thing, you probably want to know more about these devices. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at what solar batteries are.
As the name suggests, a solar battery is a type of battery that is specifically designed to store energy that has been generated by solar panels.
Most of the time, every home that has solar panels installed will also have a solar battery installed. This is because, as we have said, solar panels cannot actually store energy.
So, when energy is generated by the solar panels, it will be passed over to the solar batteries. Most solar batteries will come with a large storage capacity as this allows them to store plenty of electricity.
However, a lot of the time, solar batteries that are installed into home solar systems will not be used. This is because solar panels are designed to route electricity through the home first. Then any excess electricity will be directed to the solar battery, and then onto the electricity grid.
While solar batteries essentially are what their name suggests, they play a very important role in solar electricity. Especially when you have solar panels attached to your home.
Do Solar Panels Store Energy Without Batteries?
So, we know that solar panels do not have the capacity to store the electricity that they generate. But, you might be wondering if this means that solar panels cannot store any electricity.
After all, it is understandable that solar panels might be unable to store all the electricity that they produce, but surely they can store some energy, right?
Wrong! No matter how much energy is generated, solar panels do not have the ability to store it. But, this doesn’t mean that you have to use a solar battery with every solar panel.
As long as that energy has somewhere to be directed, then you do not have to have a solar battery connected to the system.
This means that if you can route all the electricity that is generated from your solar panels into your home, or into the grid, then there is no need for you to have a solar battery installed.
Do Solar Panels Work in Bad Weather?
There is no denying that solar panels are incredibly attractive, and there are lots of different reasons for this.
Solar panels are much greener, so if you use this form of energy, you are doing your bit to help the environment. Likewise, solar panels allow you to be more self-sufficient.
So, instead of worrying about where your electricity is coming from, if you have solar panels, you will always know that the electricity is coming from the solar panels on your home.
But, one major concern that people have about solar panels is the weather. Solar panels run on sun rays, so if you live in an area that usually has bad weather, you might be uncertain about installing these on your home. So, do solar panels work in bad weather?
You will probably be glad to hear that solar panels do work in bad weather. However, these devices do not operate to their full capacity when the weather is bad. In fact, the efficiency of these panels is significantly compromised by poor weather conditions.
On a sunny day, solar panels will be incredibly effective at generating energy. But, on gloomy and rainy days, the performance of these panels can be very poor.
In fact, on rainy and cloudy days, you might only be able to generate between 10-25% of the amount of energy that you could generate on a sunny day. That is why you really need to consider the weather in your area before you invest in solar panels.
Pros and Cons of Solar Energy
There is no denying that solar panels are a big investment, and that is why you really need to consider if they are the right option for you before you invest. There are lots of things that will influence whether, or not, solar energy is the right option for your household.
This will include the size of your household, the amount of electricity that you use, and the weather in the area that you live in. But, even when you have taken these into account, it is likely that you want to know the pros and cons of solar energy. So, let’s take a look.
- Clean Energy Source – Solar panels are a form of clean and renewable energy, so if you install them you will be helping the environment.
- Little to No Maintenance – Solar panels do not require very much maintenance, if any, so they are very little effort for you as the owner.
- Independence – If you install solar panels on your home you will become completely energy independent, and you will not have to rely on anyone else for your energy.
- Excellent Return on Investment – Solar panels have a pretty heavy upfront cost, but you will easily make this money back within a few years.
- Weather Conditions – If you live in an area that regularly experiences adverse weather, then you will not be able to see the full potential of your solar panels.
- Takes Up a lot of Space – If you install solar panels in your home, they will usually take up nearly all the space on your roof.
- Might Affect Resale Value – Not all buyers will be interested in solar panels, so if you want to sell your home, the addition of these might make it more difficult.
So, Are Solar Panels Worth It?
But what you want to know is whether, or not, solar panels are worth it. Ultimately, we would always say that yes they definitely are.
If you have solar panels installed on your home then you will become self-sufficient, and you will even be able to make money on the energy converted. All while helping the environment.
So, even though they do not come with the capacity to store energy, solar panels are still an excellent invention, and they really have changed the way that we look at electricity.
As long as the energy is being routed in the right direction, and you have a battery to store any excess energy, then there is nothing to worry about.
If you are considering installing solar panels on your home, then we would say that it is probably a good idea. But, you can find out more in this guide.