How is solar energy stored?
Curious to know where your energy goes once it has been generated by your solar panels? This is a good question, because on cloudy days and nights, the energy your system produces is little to none. Therefore, your solar system must be able to tap into stored energy to continue providing power to your home.
Homeowners with solar panel systems have two main options for solar electricity storage: the electric grid and battery packs. Let’s learn more about these energy storage technologies and the benefits of both.
Before the 1990s, all solar systems were independent of the grid, hence the term “living off the grid.” If homes wanted to keep their lights on after dark, they would draw energy from their battery banks. In the 21st century, the majority of PV systems no longer use batteries. Instead, they are tied to the electric grid, a complex system that balances supply and demand.
When your solar system produces excess energy, it’s sent to the grid. When your home isn’t producing energy (i.e., at night), you can pull from the grid. For energy sent to the grid that isn’t used, you can get a credit on your electric bill, which is a process known as net metering.
Grid-tied solar electric systems have benefits for both individuals and society. Solar customers get to send excess energy to the grid without having to worry about storage. Society benefits because solar energy is cleaner, and excess energy can drive down electric prices because more energy is being produced than consumed.
Batteries remain another efficient option for storing excess energy. There are many batteries on the market, but they all have the same concept: to store electrical energy in chemical form until it is ready to be used. Batteries have a number of advantages, including that they can be installed along with your solar panel system and able to tolerate frequent wear and tear.
When you install a solar battery as part of your system, you can store excess energy at your home instead of on the grid. At night or on cloudy days, you can draw energy from the battery. When your battery is fully charged and you’re producing energy, it is sent to the grid.
Should You Install a Solar Battery?
If you’re interested in installing a PV system on your home, talk to a solar energy provider about the best option. As long as your utility company compensates you for your solar power, you don’t need to install a battery. Most utilities offer net metering, which means you’ll see a credit on your electric bill for excess energy produced. That said, there are certain situations where you can benefit from having a battery installed, such as if your utility company has demand charges or does not offer net metering.
To learn more about your options for residential solar energy, contact Suntuity Solar today.