If solar is so absolutely great, and we’re hurtling towards a climate catastrophe, why does it only power about 2% of the world? If it’s the panacea to our problems, why aren’t solar panels adorning rooftops the world over? What are the causes behind the problems with solar energy that we face?
To answer such questions, we at UnderstandSolar have dug into the facts and present the fruits of our labor below – an unfortunate tale of G20 hypocrisy, the Concorde fallacy (find out what this is later), and the sobering fact that we still need fossil fuels to power our planet (at least for now).
Solar energy from your roof sounds simple, right? The sun shines, electricity is created, and it powers your home. But a lot of people wonder… what happens at night, or on cloudy days when your panels don’t produce? Wouldn’t it be nice to store the extra power you create on a bright, sunny afternoon with a solar battery so you can always make use of solar energy?
Solar battery storage isn’t just a household problem, but a challenge the solar industry is tackling as a whole. Solar is an effective, clean, affordable form of power, but it won’t truly be able to take over until storage technology catches up. The industry has been taking off in the past few years, and the race for solar storage has been dubbed a ‘technology arms race’.
How do you store the energy, anyway?
If you’re interested in purchasing a new solar system, then you likely have a lot of questions about how the system works and what you will need to suit your individual needs. One question that comes up often is whether or not a solar system needs a battery and how to get solar power without batteries. It’s really a trick question because although most systems don’t use batteries at all, but use the electrical grid as a sort of flexible battery storage and on demand power system. If this makes no sense, that’s fine, because we’re going to explain!
If you are at work for most of the day, almost all of the power consumed by your house is used in the evenings, when your solar panels are no longer generating electricity. To use the solar power generated, you could consider using timers to move power-hungry tasks like laundry and dishwashing into the day, where they can take advantage of your solar system. Depending on how big your solar array is and how much power your house uses.
Alternatively – you could look at buying a battery. When buying a battery for your solar system you need to consider the costs involved. You would need to spread the cost of the battery over its lifespan, and take into account how often you’ll cycle it – the more you use it the cheaper it will work out on a per-kilowatt-hour basis. You might find that it works out cheaper for you to use grid power in your area, though you might still consider buying a battery if you need short term protection from black-outs. Or even better than just buying a battery, you could buy a Tesla battery, better known as the Powerwall 2.Continue reading
There’s a lot of information online and it’s often in the news claiming it’s the next big thing in the solar industry. You might have heard that in places like Hawaii and California it’s even cost effective to install a solar system with storage today. But what does that mean exactly? What exactly is solar plus storage and how does it work for homeowners connected to the utility grid?Continue reading
With the increased interest in battery storage, as a companion to a PV installation, the IRS, in October put out a request for comments on ways to improve the battery storage 30% ITC.
When Florida brought in thirsty melaleuca trees to deal with the swampy conditions they never dreamed they would snuff out native species and they would be impossible to eradicate. We need to learn from these lessons and consider the domino effect of what we do. It is great to institute clean energy projects, but we must be cognizant of the potential adverse effects when doing so.
The current electricity grid as we know it works by pulling from different power sources. Since large amounts of electricity are hard to store, it just continues to pull electricity.
In short, the battery can be thought of as a hybrid between a solar cell and a battery that is rechargeable with air and light.
The chemistry and biochemistry professor and his students announced in the October 3 2014 issue of Nature Communications that their patent-pending device could decrease costs of renewable energy by 25%.Continue reading