Everyone loves a good storage solution for the sun. With the rise in demand for a clean and sustainable energy source, solar power is emerging as a prominent solution. But since the sun doesn’t shine 24/7, it becomes essential to store this energy for later use.
Contrary to what many people think, solar panels don’t store energy. These little magic boxes simply collect energy which then needs to be stored somewhere else. And that’s what we will delve into in this article: the best solar energy storage methods.
So, the next time there’s a power outage or load-shedding, you can relax knowing that these methods got your back. Let’s get into it.
How Do Solar Battery Storage Systems Work?
When solar panels generate electricity during the day, the excess is stored by solar battery storage systems. These systems are made up of an inverter and batteries that convert the direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC).
Any surplus energy produced by solar panels that aren’t consumed immediately is directed to the battery storage system. During times of low generation or when the demand exceeds the supply, that’s when this energy comes into play. The system discharges the energy stored when it is needed the most.
Aside from providing backup power, solar battery storage systems allow businesses and homeowners to reduce their reliance on the electrical grid. They can have a reliable power source even during grid outages.
Solar Battery Storage Systems & Complete Kits
Solar energy is stored using four types of batteries – lithium-ion, lead acid, nickel-cadmium, and flow batteries. Here’s what you need to know about each type.
These are the most popular and widely used type of batteries in solar systems. This is attributed to their long life cycle, higher efficiency, and higher energy density.
In addition, they are lightweight, compact in size, and they charge incredibly fast. Lithium-ion batteries are suited for both commercial and residential applications.
But these batteries aren’t perfect, and they have their shortcomings. One, they are expensive. You’ll need to pay a huge upfront fee to own them. Secondly, their lifespan is limited, and as expected, their performance will degrade over time. Finally, these require proper installation for safety concerns.
Like lithium-ion batteries, these are also relatively popular. But unlike them, they are less expensive upfront. They are readily available, and their cycling capability is decent.
Lead-acid batteries perform well in most temperatures and are perfect for both grid-tied and off-grid applications.
But they also have their shortcomings. For starters, they are heavier and bulkier than lithium-ion batteries. This means that they require more installation space. Their efficiency, energy density, and lifespan are decent but not as good as lithium-ion.
You need to maintain and check them regularly for safety concerns.
Flow Chemistry Batteries
Flow chemistry batteries are known for their ability to scale up easily. You can increase the size of their electrolyte storage tanks, and this makes them ideal for large-scale applications. Their cycle life is long, and they can withstand deep charges.
These batteries aren’t very popular, and so they are not widely adopted. Plus, they are bulky and make more sense for industrial use.
Benefits of using a complete kit
If you are a fan of discount delights and the world of warranties, you are better off purchasing a complete solar energy kit. Here are a few benefits of using a complete kit.
Why go through the hassle of researching and purchasing individual components when you can get them all at once? It is your all-in-one solution delivered right to your doorstep. This saves you lots of time and effort in selecting and deciding what component goes with what.
Who doesn’t love a good discount? We do. Purchasing a complete kit is more likely to be cheaper and cost-effective than buying the components separately. Manufacturers normally offer comprehensive discounts and package deals for complete kits.
Warranty and Support
The world of purchases can be a dull one without warranties. If you buy a complete kit, you’ll have the last laugh knowing that if anything goes wrong, the manufacturer has your back. You are protected against potential failures and defects.
Manufacturers will also offer technical assistance and customer support to address your questions and issues promptly.
Easy to Install
The icing on the cake? Complete solar energy kits are easy to install. They feature detailed diagrams and instructions that make the installation process much easier. Aside from minimizing the risk of error, it also maximizes effectiveness and efficiency.
A complete kit makes you breeze through the installation process like a pro, more like a cheat code.
Here are our top recommendations for the best solar energy complete kits. These are some of the best that the market has to offer.
- LifePO4 Deep Cycle Batteries (Renogy & Rich Solar)
- Bluetti Backup Solar Generator Kit
- Rockpals Freeman Solar Panel Kit
- Jackery Explorer 550 + Solar Panels Generator Kit
- EcoFlow Delta 1300 + Solar Panel Generator Kit
Other Energy Storage Options
Aside from battery storage systems, here are other energy storage options:
Pumped Hydroelectric Storage
Pumped Hydroelectric Storage (PHS) is another popular and widely used storage option. It works by pumping water from a lower reservoir to a higher reservoir. Water is released from the upper reservoir and flows through turbines.
This type of energy is cheaper to generate and store, is long-lasting, and offers high energy capacity. Its only limitation is that it requires specific geographical conditions.
Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES)
As the name suggests, this energy is generated by compressing air and then storing it in tanks or underground caverns. The compressed air is expanded through turbines and released during high demands.
Flywheel Energy Storage
These systems spin rotors at high speeds, converting the energy into electricity. An advantage of them is that they have a long cycle life, offer high power capacity, and have fast response times.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Energy Storage System
It’s not rocket science, but it’s not a walk in the park, either. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing an energy storage system.
Capacity and power rating
Your battery’s capacity is the amount of energy it can store. It is normally measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).
The power rating, on the other hand, is the maximum power the energy system provides at a time. It is measured in kilowatts (kW). You’ll want to unleash it when you need it the most.
You want to consider your desired backup power capacity and consumption patterns to determine the appropriate capacity.
Depth of Discharge
The depth of discharge (DoD) is the percent of your battery’s capacity that it can use before recharging. It is how long the battery will last you without having its performance affected.
High-quality batteries will discharge deeply without having their lifespan or performance affected. DoD affects the longevity and usable energy of the battery.
This is the number of complete cycles a battery undergoes before it degrades significantly. System storages whose batteries have a longer cycle life are durable and will last longer. This makes them cost-effective in the long run.
You also want to consider how efficiently the energy system converts and stores energy. Higher efficiency leads to low energy loss during the discharging process. Only settle for highly efficient systems, and you can be assured that they’ll last you long.
Will your wallet stand between your desire for the greatest and the latest? Whenever you are purchasing an energy storage system, consider your budget. Check the system’s upfront cost, installation, and maintenance costs.
Take into account their cycle life, capacity, efficiency, warranty, and any additional features offered. Are you getting good value for your money with what you are paying? At the end of the day, it all depends on how deep in your pocket you are willing to dig.
There you have it! A total breakdown of everything you need to know about the best solar energy storage methods. These methods will have your back whenever there is an outage. And as technology continues to evolve, we can only expect newer and more improved storage methods with longer lifespans, enhanced cost-effectiveness, and better efficiency.
The best solar energy storage method is one that provides optimal performance, aligns with your goals, and fits your budget. Consult with the team of Solar Paradise for the best energy storage solutions.