Challenges of Solar Energy Storage

Solar energy is quickly replacing many unsustainable energy sources as the price of solar panels have fallen. However, one of the biggest challenges of bringing solar energy mainstream is less about producing energy and more about what we do with all the energy that we do produce. That is, the question of how to store solar energy is much more challenging than figuring out how to produce solar energy in the first place. 

Why Is Solar Energy Storage So Difficult? 

Unlike fossil fuels and other energy sources, solar energy production is less predictable. It can fluctuate seasonally and even hour to hour as local weather changes. In addition, we know that solar energy is only produced when the sun is shining on the solar panels, which means that there are several hours each day where the panels are producing no energy at all. Thus, we have had to devise systems for storing the energy that is produced during peak sunlight hours, so that we may access it later when the sun has gone down. At face value, this doesn't seem like that big of a problem, but it is. 

Our Current Solar Power Storage Options

In the short term, one of the biggest challenges with solar power storage is simply that the batteries used for this application are still quite costly, and they are large. The more power you need, the larger your battery will need to be. Installing these batteries is not easy, and requires the help of a licensed electrician to ensure that the power can be stored and then converted into alternating current for use in your house. On average, a solar energy storage solution from one of the leading solar installers costs upwards of $5,000 depending on size, adding a significant chunk of change to the already high price of solar panels. 

The Future of Solar Energy Storage

The other problem with our current solar energy storage solutions are the basic limitations of certain battery types. With the advent of Tesla's Power Wall and some of the other new storage options, large Lithium Ion batteries are taking a step in the right direction. These batteries are smaller, lightweight, and easier to produce thanks to our reliance on Lithium Ion batteries in so many other industries. In addition, they are very low maintenance and can handle going through regular deep cycle charges without harm for many years. However, many older solar energy storage systems still rely on older battery technologies that might not be as effective. For instance, early adopters of solar panels were known to link together a chain of lead acid batteries to create their own storage matrix. While this system was effective in its time, it can also be risky. As those systems fade out, more and more solar supporters are turning to Lithium Ion batteries, or their low maintenance VRLA battery equivalents to get better results. 

If you are planning a solar addition to your building, you need to start thinking about solar energy storage early in your planning process. MK Battery has a large selection of battery storage options available so you can increase your solar efficiency and make sure you have plenty of power stored. 

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