Solar Energy Storage
One of the biggest innovations of modern times is the invention of power cells or batteries. These make mobile devices possible because our gadgets no longer need to be plugged into an outlet to work. This is why laptops and cellphones are possible today. However, charging devices still consume energy. This is still using up vital non-renewal energy from fossil fuels.
One way that we can keep our mobile devices while using renewable and practically free energy is through solar energy storage. Based on its name, we can see that they use solar power to store energy for later use. How exactly does it all work? This article will look at this technology and how it works, and list some of the factors to ponder when selecting the best product for your needs.
How to Store Solar Energy
One of the downsides of solar energy is that it isn’t available round the clock. Once the sunlight is gone and the night comes, the system may stop operating. This is why it is important to be able to use solar energy storage so that the needed power can be available for use when it is needed. There are two ways that this can be done: through a battery (or power cell) or through a grid-tied system.
As you may already know, solar energy is captured by the system by photovoltaic cells (or solar cells). These cells are made of silicon-based materials; it can be of a monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film amorphous type. The efficiency of the system depends on the material used. This means that the purer the crystals are, the more efficiently the system can collect solar energy. Once the energy is captured, it is then stored in solar battery storage and the system can function even without the sun’s presence.
In the first type, the battery-stored system, the circuit will involve a battery bank, which is a collection of batteries connected to enable a continuous cycle of reposition and consumption of power. Along with these, there is a charge controller, a system meter, and a DC-breaker.
The charge controller ensures that the batteries won’t overcharge or store more than power than is safe by cutting the current between the batteries and the photovoltaic cells. The system meter monitors the system’s performance levels. The DC-breaker cuts the connection between the power cells and the inverter. Together, the system ensures that the system receives sufficient power and doesn’t overwork.
In the second type of solar power storage, the grid-tied system, the house or building is powered by both solar and grid electricity. This is helpful as this will ensure that the system can’t run low on energy at all as it is backed up by two energy sources. It doesn’t have to be wasteful or expensive either. When the PV system’s energy output is not enough, the grid can compensate.
However, if the PV system’s output is too much, the excess energy is fed back to the grid through net-metering. This means that the grid meter is rolled backward when your PV system is overproducing, and you can access that current source at a later time. In a way, the grid becomes your back-up battery.
What Are Solar Batteries and How They Work?
As you may have already guessed, solar batteries are devices compatible with and capable of storing energy from the PV system. Because of the emergence of solar panel technology, it comes with an increase in the production of battery storage for solar devices. This is probably why innovations in increasing the amplitude of these batteries have been pushed out by manufacturers.
These batteries may be connected to the PV cells, charge controllers, inverters, and DC-breakers, or it may have its inverter and a special, integrated energy converter. This is great for remote locations as this means that the system doesn’t need to be connected to the grid at all. The PV system can stand on its own and won’t need support from the grid. This is also the mechanism used by mobile PV systems for RV homes or ambulances.
These batteries can be made of either lithium-ion or lead-acid. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, of course. The lithium-ion type is usually preferred because it has a bigger storage capacity, a longer lifespan, and is more compact. This also means that it is lighter. However, it can be much more expensive than the second type.
The lead-acid type is sometimes included in solar packages because they are cheaper. However, in the long run, it may not be the best idea as they require replacement more often than the lithium-ion type. Your next question might be how to store solar energy in these batteries. The batteries are hooked to the charge controller and the DC-breaker using wires. The DC-breaker is connected to the power meter, while the controller to the solar cells.
How to Find Best Batteries for Solar Storage
If you’re sold on the concept of solar batteries, then your next question might be what things to look for when buying these power-bank devices for your solar-powered system. There are various factors to look for. Firstly, you must look at the capacity and power. The capacity is the amount of energy that can be stored in the cell.
This is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) and the cells can often be stacked together to give increased capacity. Power, on the other hand, is the amount of electricity that your battery can produce to power up a device. High capacity doesn’t necessarily translate to higher power, so if the battery doesn’t meet the power requirements of the device, it may not be sufficient to keep the device turned on.
You also need to look at the power cell’s depth of discharge of DoD. This is referred to as the maximum capacity of the battery that should be used for its optimum performance. For instance, if the 12-kWh battery’s DoD is 90%, this means that you shouldn’t use over 10.8 kWh until your next recharge. Otherwise, the battery’s lifespan may be reduced. You also want to look at the battery’s round-trip efficiency. This is the cell’s capability to charge, retain, and then produce energy for consumption. The higher the efficiency, the better energy your battery can give off its stored energy.
There’s an ever-increasing desire for the planet to conserve non-renewable energy and turn to practical free and unlimited energy such as solar power. Now, with the use of solar batteries or grid-tied storage, that energy can be accessed anytime, even without sunlight. This is a really great innovation considering that homes most often need energy at night. What’s great is that people have two options should they want solar cells. They can go for a cheaper type, lead-acid, or the more expensive yet more investment-worthy lithium-ion types.
When choosing solar storage devices, be sure to check out the device’s capacity and power, and round-trip efficiency. With these parameters, the higher the values are, the better. Also, check out the Depth of Discharge numbers to determine how to maintain your power cell and keep it at its optimum capacity. Like when buying any other device, it is recommended to check out consumer reviews and look for warranties or other forms of guarantees. Once you’ve found the right storage for your needs, you can enjoy the perks of solar energy for years to come.