Demand for solar energy has grown greatly over the past decade. More and more people are curious about how utilizing solar energy can help them. The benefits of solar energy are there for all to see. One online search and you’re bombarded with thousands of articles on the subject.
What is missing, however, are answers to the technical questions. Most people are still unfamiliar with how solar energy works. They know that they need solar panels to harness the sun’s energy for their home. Beyond that, they’re a blank slate.
One question that lots of people ask is how to store solar energy. As we said, you probably already know that solar panels are required. It’s important to know how you’re going to be storing the energy or if you’re going to be storing it at all!
This is our goal in today’s guide. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about storing solar energy.
What is a Solar Battery
The most common way of storing energy in residential homes is through a battery. Much like regular batteries they can be charged beforehand, and used when the need arises. Of course, while the general principle is the same, solar batteries are very different from conventional batteries.
Solar panels pump solar energy into solar batteries. As this energy enters the battery, it undergoes a chemical reaction that allows it to be stored. Just as energy can flow into the battery, it can also flow out. When called upon, the battery begins to discharge energy in the form of a current.
The most popular option is lithium-ion batteries. Research into superior battery technology is always ongoing to make them more efficient and affordable.
How Do Solar Batteries Work
The general mechanism for your solar energy system revolves around three basic functions:
The solar panels that you’ve affixed onto your roof or ground-mounted next to your home contain photovoltaic cells. These cells can collect solar energy from the sun. They collect light energy and convert it into direct current.
This direct current cannot be used by the appliances in your home as they use alternating current. To convert DC into AC, your system will be equipped with an inverter. The inverter carries out this conversion.
The inverter has converted DC into AC, and your appliances can now be used. However, you realize that there is lots of excess energy that you can’t use in the day. This is where the batteries come in. They store the excess energy, to be used when you need it later.
If your home’s battery is fully charged, the excess electricity that you generated will be sent back to the grid. This process is called Net Metering and comes as a huge benefit to you. It essentially means that you are crediting electricity to your power company. This will reduce energy bills in the future.
The presence of the battery also ensures that you don’t rely on the grid as much as you used to. Meaning that in situations where your solar energy system produces lesser energy than required, your batteries can make up the shortfall. This prevents the need to draw power from the grid.
Types of Solar Storage Systems
When learning how to store solar energy, knowing the types of solar storage systems is also important. There are three main types:
We’ll now look at each briefly.
This system provides the savings associated with solar energy systems, with the stability of the power grid. You must already know that solar energy is not available all the time. It is also dependent on the sun, so the energy produced can vary greatly between time periods.
To offset this variance, people keep their homes connected to the grid for excess energy needs. The disadvantage of this system is that when the main grid is down, your solar energy system will also be disabled.
This system makes up for the limitation of the previous one. Remember, even if you opt for a grid-tied system initially, you can always switch to a grid-hybrid system later. All you’ll need is an inverter for the battery pack.
With this system, you have the advantage of having the grid as a backup. Most of your needs will be met by your battery. Relying on your battery, especially during peak-hours can greatly reduce your energy bills.
Via this system, you can also keep certain appliances protected from outages. For instance, if you cannot afford for your freezer to turn off, your battery will sustain it until power returns.
Off-Grid systems allow you to live sustainably, on your own terms without depending on the power grid. This is ideal if you live somewhere with limited access to the power grid. However, these require higher technical knowledge since you’ll need to plan your energy needs in advance. This is because your battery and solar power system are the only sources of energy.
Our Final Thoughts
When asking how to store solar energy, your best bet’s solar batteries. Preparing for when you’ll need the benefits of the electricity you’ve generated yourself is an important part of owning a solar energy system.
An unusually cloudy day or a fault in the grid can prompt the need for emergency power, so it’s best to include solar batteries in your solar energy system.
Solar batteries are no longer this new and shiny thing that no one understands. Since they’re a known quantity, they are readily available and much more affordable than they were previously. For more solar gear, follow this link.