The largest setback with solar energy is not collecting it, it is being able to use it when the sun is not shining. So what can be done to fix this? The first thing we think of are batteries, solar batteries. There are two ways that solar energy can be stored. The first is solar battery storage. The second is, strangely, hydro storage. Here solar power is used to pump water during the day from a low reservoir to a higher reservoir. This water is then passed through pipes back down to the lower reservoir. On the way, the water is passed through turbines that produce electricity during the night. Neat hey!
Unfortunately, this electricity can only be provided to homes and industry through the existing grid. To me also solar power has to be used long enough to keep the top reservoir filled. What’s left then can supply the grid during the day. A lot more Solar panels are needed than would be normal to provide both. But fortunately, there is a great advantage in that the amount of carbon produced it virtually non-existent.
Let’s now look at solar battery storage. The biggest impact with using solar battery storage is for homes. It means that home owners with solar panels on their roofs can use surplus solar electricity produced during the day to charge batteries. This energy can then be used to supply their energy needs at night. The only problem here is that using batteries comes expensive. But hey, remember when to buy a personal computer cost the earth. My first laptop cost me $3500 and it only had a 10-megabyte hard drive. Now you can pick one up for $500 and is 1000 times more powerful than my first one. Well, that is what will happen to solar battery storage. They are already dropping in costs.
So what sort of batteries can be used for solar power storage?
First lead-acid batteries were used, unfortunately a lot of them were required to be viable, took up a lot of space and needed a lot of upkeep. They never became fashionable except for people “Going Off The Grid” or those who could not get power delivered by the electricity suppliers unless they paid enormous costs.
The first viable solar battery storage came from lithium-ion battery storage. At first, this was incredibly expensive but over the years has slowly reduced in price and is coming in range for more people to afford them. The zinc bromide battery although been around for a while have now with the latest technologies have started to become a serious contender for the home user to store their solar power. They are now cheaper than lithium and also have the advantage of being more eco friendly.
In the use of solar battery storage, there is also a trend for what could be called “community battery storage” Go to “Liquid Metal Battery” to get an understanding of this type.