How To Store Solar Energy?

How to store solar energy

A solar power system at home or in the workplace can be one of the best investments you can make. Green and renewable energy reduces carbon emissions while reducing your monthly electric bills.

The question is, how is solar energy stored?

For future consumption of solar energy, there are three primary methods. Such methods include mechanical, battery, and thermal storage.

To learn more about solar energy storage, let’s read the rest of this post.

The Components Needed For Solar Energy Storage

In order to function properly, solar storage systems require several components. There are lots of variations of solar storage systems, but the following are the basic components:

Batteries

The core of any energy storage system is the batteries. The most common types of batteries are the Lithium-Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt (NMC) and Lithium-Iron-Phosphate (LFP).

Solar Panels

With these components, you can recharge the battery using a renewable and green source of energy. The use of solar panels for energy storage is not necessary; however, solar panels are preferred.

The different types of solar panels include thin film, PERC, polycrystalline, and monocrystalline.

Critical Load Subpanel

In the event of a breakdown of the grid, this component would determine what gets powered.

Do you know that most batteries can’t power an entire household for a long period of time? 

You may choose to power only a few essential home devices to prolong the battery’s life during a power outage.

Critical load subpanels enable you to select those critical loads, and solar installers must install this device correctly for your battery’s capacity.

Inverters 

Devices such as these convert alternating current to direct current and vice versa. The solar panels and batteries convert the direct current energy from the solar panels into alternating current, which is used by the home.

Some solar panels and batteries are now equipped with integrated inverters.

Read More: What Is A Solar Inverter?

How Is Solar Energy Stored?

The three systems in which solar energy can be stored are: Mechanical, battery and thermal.

Let’s take a look at these in further detail

Mechanical Energy Storage

In this method, electricity is produced by exploiting the potential energy of an object. In this process, excess electrical energy is converted into mechanical power, which is then turned back into electricity for future use.

There are three unique mechanical energy storage systems which are:

Compressed Air

This method involves pumping compressed air into massive vessels, such as tanks or underground formations. The air will be dispensed to produce energy when necessary.

Pumped Hydro

Pumped hydro works by pumping the water up to a reservoir situated on top of turbine generators. This method will enable the water to flow through the turbines to produce energy when there is peak demand. 

Flywheel

This approach works by utilizing excess energy to spin a flywheel, which will later provide power when required.

Battery Storage

Solar energy can also be stored in electrochemical batteries. As solar power is pumped into the battery, a chemical reaction among the battery parts saves energy. The reaction will be overturned when the battery is discharged, enabling the current to exit the battery.

Lithium-ion batteries are commonly utilized for solar applications. The good news is that battery technology is growing rapidly which means there will be less expensive and more innovative battery storage solutions.

Read More: Best Solar Battery (Reviews and Buying Tips)

Thermal Storage

Thermal storage will exploit different mediums to take in and retain heat from sunlight. These mediums include molten salt and water. The heated medium will be placed in an insulated tank until energy is required, typically to boil water for power production.

Storing Solar Energy At Home

Having a solar storage system at home comes with multiple perks, such as decentralization of electrical generation, savings on electricity expenses and resiliency.

As a result of solar battery storage, countless homeowners can now delight in efficient and economical means to store solar energy.

As of today, lithium-ion batteries are the most common option for residential solar energy storage. These batteries are comparatively low profile, inexpensive and suitable for an array or requirements. Other options for home batteries usually include lead-acid and saltwater batteries. 

So, How Do You Store Power?

How to store solar energys

The solar battery units will be set up in a bank in your home, and these will be connected to your system. As a result of this, you can save more money one electric bills as the system acquires power from the charged batteries before drawing directly from the grid.

Interestingly, this would be cost-effective if your utility’s electricity rates adhere to a variable time of use plan, which would vary during the day depending on demand.

Therefore, instead of getting credits for excess power through net metering, you are in “self-consumption”, which is a great means of enjoying more power savings.

Read More: How Much Money Can You Make Selling Electricity Back To The Grid

Commercial Solar Energy Storage

Utility firms and other types of businesses will most likely have bigger budgets than ordinary households. Therefore, for commercial uses, thermal and mechanical storage systems are undoubtedly reasonable alternatives. 

Although the expenses for these storage methods are remarkably higher, they are adapted to helping utilities sustain peak energy demands.

Advantages Of Storing Solar Energy

Saving excess energy is key to getting the most out of any solar power system. Similarly, this method can aid in reducing more fossil fuel emissions and result in more efficient energy grids and expensive savings. 

Here are a few of the advantages of using solar energy.

Energy Resilience

An important note is that the energy grid is susceptible to power outages and disruptions. This can be a result of various factors, such as wildfires and rugged weather conditions. 

Solar energy will form a shielding bubble, during events such as bad weather, by decentralizing where we acquire our energy from.

Bridging The Gaps

Short term energy storage will enable a steady flow of energy in times of short disruptions in generators, like passing clouds or routine maintenance. 

Stabilizing Electric Loads

If it is not stored, then the electricity needs to be utilized the moment it is produced. Having storage enables excess energy to be stored for later use. Storing excess energy also enables your fixtures to remain lit at dusk or when the wind stops blowing.

To summarise, energy storage enables an energy reservoir to be charged when production is at its peak and demand is low. Energy will then be dispensed when the production drops and the demand increases.

FAQs

  • How Many Solar Batteries Are Required?

    Your storage capacity may differ depending on our requirements. Aside from this, you need to consider your backup load, backup duration and preferred storage capacity.

  • Do Solar Batteries Last For An Extended Period Of Time?

    This will depend on the type of your solar battery. Regular solar batteries will usually last for 15 to 30 years but this requires regular inspection and maintenance to ensure proper function and longevity.

  • What’s The Most Economical Solar Battery Option?

    Lead-acid batteries are currently deemed the most economical alternative for solar energy storage. However, these batteries do not last long and are not as efficient as other alternatives.

    On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries provide the most outstanding value in terms of service life, availability, cost and performance.

  • Final Thoughts

    To summarise, the sun offers us an inexhaustible supply of green and renewable energy. Using solar energy not only allows more power usage, but it also saves us more dollars in the future.

    However, being able to harness this energy can be a severe challenge.

    Thankfully, due to the options discussed, there are several ways for both residential and commercial storage that provide excellent solutions for saving solar energy. 

    Hopefully, you now hold enough information to understand how to store solar energy.