Storing Solar Energy for Later Use

With solar energy continuing to fall in price each and every year, it’s soon going to drop below grid priced electricity in nearly all of the US. It already has been below grid in Hawaii for several years due to the high costs of regular power there. However, every single time you bring up any kind of renewable energy with a die-hard big oil fan, they’ll always tell you “The sun doesn’t shine at night.” Yes, they’re right, and batteries are lagging behind in their technology, even though they are falling just as quickly as solar. Here are some great tips to consider on solar power new york storage if you are thinking about adding solar panels to your home.

Time Shifting Your Usage Has Some Great Benefits

One of the biggest power drains in many homes is the big water heater that supplies hot water for showers, laundry, washing dishes and more. You can now buy super large, extra insulated, water heaters that will store up the heat while the sun shines and then turn off when it gets dark. Think about it, if you had a 200-gallon tank, how long would that last under normal usage? With extra insulation, the heat will stay in the tank and remain hot for almost 2 whole days of normal use.

You can also set most new modern appliances, like the dishwasher, clothes washer, ice maker, and other appliances to come on and work while the sun is up so that you can take full advantage of all the solar power while it’s being generated.

Generating Hydrogen With Your Excess Power

Another innovative way to store solar power or actually make usable energy are the hydrogen generating plants that have been invented. They use the power from your solar panels to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can be compressed into tanks and then used to run cars that have hydrogen fuel cells. It can also be pumped directly into the natural gas pipelines up to a certain percentage using a two-way meter. In addition to that, most gas stoves can be fairly easily converted to run on straight hydrogen. This would take one more appliance off of the grid and make it completely independent of any utility.

There are now actual solar panels being developed that can skip the step of electrolysis, where water is separated into hydrogen and oxygen, and it separates the two gases using solar power directly. These are in the testing stages but in the future, everyone with extra space on their roof will be looking for new ways to save money or even earn money. The oxygen can be sold in tanks to nearby wholesalers that resell it to industrial clients and welders.

Of course, there are still batteries. The cost of lithium-ion batteries has continued to fall, just not as far and fast as the solar panels. There are more than a dozen manufacturers that now have lithium solid-state batteries in late-stage development. These are supposed to be able to store about 2 1/2 times the power for the same size battery and cost about half as much. Additionally, they are being reported as being able to charge in mere minutes and have no flammable electrolytes in them at all.

Time will tell which types of solar power storage methods will win the final competition. However, there are thousands of schools, companies, and governments working on dozens of solutions at this very moment. You can set a Google Alert on “battery breakthroughs” to get up to the minute news as it’s posted online directly to your email to stay informed.