Solar energy is abundant. Just one day of sunshine provides enough power for all of our needs for an entire year if we could collect it all. The only problem is that when the sun goes down, our solar energy resource disappears until the sun rises again the next day.
This leads to an important question: can solar energy be stored? Here’s the answer.
There Are Several Ways to Store Solar Energy
The primary method of solar energy storage is through the use of a battery. As the energy is produced, any that is leftover and not being used will charge a battery that is tied into the solar system. This will allow the solar energy to be used by homes and businesses at night when no new energy is created.
One battery is often not enough to store the amount of power that would be required at night. For this reason, battery banks have been created to allow for consistent charging and discharging on a whole-home scale.
Here are the other methods of storing solar energy.
Solar Thermal Storage
This type of storage solution allows the heat from the sun to be stored as energy that can be used later. Water tanks and thermal mass solutions are the two most common forms of storage, but molten salt heat storage is also growing in popularity.
Some communities allow for solar production to be tied into the distribution grid. Excess solar power is then sent for distribution, which is then offset by power taken from the grid when it is needed.
Converting solar energy into hydrogen instead of electricity is also a storage option. This would allow taking solar energy to convert carbon dioxide into methanol so that it can be more combustive, which would make the energy consumption process more effective without adding more net emissions into the environment.
What Type of Solar Storage Can Be Used Today?
Most homes and businesses are going to be using a battery grid for their solar storage needs today. It is a proven technology that is reasonably affordable when compared to the other options that are available to store the energy. In time, we may be able to find new storage methods.
Until that happens, look for new ideas, like the Tesla Home Battery, to help with the long-term storage of energy that comes from plentiful solar resources.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.