LITHIUM IS FAR AND AWAY THE BEST OPTION FOR SOLAR ENERGY STORAGE.
Up until recently, solar storage has remained largely unchanged over the last 30 years. Back in the day, lead acid batteries did some serious struggling in hot and cold temperatures. Li-ion solar batteries to the rescue!
Though lithium-ion battery technology was introduced in the 1970’s, it took twenty years for it to really gain popularity. Lithium, the lightest of all metals, has the greatest electrochemical potential. This means that lithium provides the highest energy density per weight, far lighter and more efficient than the previously popular lead acid battery. Lead acid batteries can weigh a ton (not literally, but you get it), making them far more difficult to transport. The weight of lead acid batteries also makes usability much less convenient for residential customers.
What Is Solar Energy?
Before we get into details about storing solar energy, let’s quickly go over what it is. Simply put, solar energy is energy from the sun.
It is a renewable source of energy, unlike fossil fuels such as gas and oil. It’s one of the cleanest sources of energy as it doesn’t produce any pollutants. It’s easy to install, requires little to no maintenance, and is much cheaper than energy derived from fossil fuels.
The only downfall of solar energy is that it cannot be used when there is no sun, that is unless you store it. So how can you store yours and be on your way to being completely renewable today?
How Is Solar Energy Stored Without a Battery?
Did you know that some countries use spaceships that are powered by solar energy on space expeditions? If it’s that easy, it’s something that any of us could do in our own homes.
Solar energy storage can be done with or without a battery. If you aren’t using a battery to store energy, then the grid to which you are connected will act as a giant battery.
Think about when you need the most energy. For many households, the time when appliances are most used is in the early morning and at night, before bedtime. These are times when there is little to no sun. That’s why it’s important to allow your power to draw from the fresh sun during the day when it’s at it’s strongest.
Then, when you need lots of energy at those other times, you can draw from the grid which acts as a giant battery.
You probably won’t use all the power that you store so if you live in a state that offers net energy metering, you can send back that access power for credit on your bill.
The issue with this option, however, is that if the grid is down, your power should be as well. Especially if you live in an area where there are natural disasters, or you’re on an unreliable power grid, it’s probably in your best interest to get a battery.
How Is Solar Energy Stored with a Battery?
If you have a battery to store excess energy, you won’t need much use for a grid at all. And you’ll be using 100% clean, renewable energy.
When you pull from the grid, even if you’re using it to store the renewable energy that your solar panels have generated, all it does is pull from grid energy as a whole. That means that you could be pulling energy that was derived from fossil fuels.
You need a good place to store the battery in your home. Batteries should be placed in a dry, clean, well-ventilated area of your home where there is no chance of water, dust, or oil getting to them.
An inverter will convert the DC energy that is produced and turn it into AC energy that is ready for use. This energy will then be stored in your batteries. Some batteries contain their own inverter.
Which Type of Battery Should You Buy?
There are many different types of batteries that can be used to store solar energy, including lead-acid, lithium, nicad, and nife.
Lithium batteries have very long life cycles and powerful discharge and recharge rates. They are charged at nearly 100% efficiency, making them arguably one of the best, if not the best option for batteries out there.
They are also extremely low maintenance whereas a flooded lead acid battery requires a lot of support. Cold weather can drain the life out of a solar powered battery, but lithium batteries do very well in colder weather and are less affected by those extreme temperatures.
The growth of lithium-ion technology has brought along with it many advantages. In comparison to batteries that have been popularly used in the past, lithium-ion batteries are cleaner, live longer, recycle better, and require much less maintenance. But the advantages don’t stop there. The solar battery market has skyrocketed because of its ability to solve the solar energy glitch–the fact that solar power isn’t constant (because the sun doesn’t shine at night).
Overall, there are many more benefits to buying a lithium battery when looking to set up your storage system.
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