Solar panels generate electricity when the sun shines. However, the average human doesn’t only use electricity during the day.
Hence, the need to store energy created by solar during the day, for nighttime use.
A few solar energy storage methods exist, such as battery, mechanical, and thermal storage systems.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through how to store power from solar panels, enabling you to unlock the full potential of your solar energy system.
Click below to jump through the sections:
- How to store solar energy from solar panels
- Benefits of storing solar energy for solar panels
- The best batteries for residential photovoltaic systems
How to store energy from solar panels
Thermal energy storage
Storing solar power as thermal energy involves storing heat in insulated tanks. This heat is used to boil water later on which, in turn, produces steam.
The steam is used to generate electricity through a turbine or something similar.
Mechanical storage makes use of potential energy to later turn it into usable electricity. A few examples include flywheel compressed air and pumped storage hydropower.
- In a flywheel system, excess electrical energy generated by solar panels is used to spin a wheel which then generates kinetic energy that’s converted to back electricity when it’s needed.
- Compressed air energy storage involves storing air in tanks or underground caverns. When electricity is needed, the stored compressed air is released to spin a turbine which then generates power.
- With pumped storage hydropower, excess energy is used to push water above a turbine. When needed, this water is released downhill to spin the turbine which can produce electricity.
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As of right now, solar batteries are the most commonly used method for storing solar energy.
“Why?”, you ask.
Well, for one, solar batteries are cheaper than other storage systems. Their size also makes for flexible installations.
They require less space and maintenance, too. Plus, batteries are practically noiseless whereas turbines are loud.
For these reasons, batteries are the #1 choice for small-scale residential applications.
The 4 main benefits of home energy storage systems
1. Maximizes savings
Solar energy storage systems enable you to maximize your consumption of solar energy. Consequently, it makes you rely less on the energy companies which then reduces your electricity bills.
Your savings from your bills will, in turn, eventually offset the costs associated with installing and running your solar system.
To be fair, if you don’t plan on storing solar energy, utility companies have feed-in tariffs (FiTs) that pay you for sending your excess energy to the electric grid. The value of FiTs has been on a steady decline, though. So, right now, maximum savings means maximizing self-consumption.
For further reading: Here’s how much money you can save if you had solar panels
2. Backup power in case of a power outage
Power outages aren’t all that common in Australia, but they do happen in cases of extreme weather. And, when they do happen, I think you and I can both agree that they’re inconvenient.
When the electrical grid goes down, your solar panels will be able to power your home when the sun’s out. But if you also had a solar energy storage system, you can have power in case the blackouts last until night time.
3. Solar batteries have gotten cheaper and better
The Australian government has introduced rebates that make all parts of a solar system significantly cheaper. Of course, that includes batteries. Not to mention, batteries themselves have become cheaper and better due to technological advancements. Double win!
These rebates have eligibility requirements, though. The requirements aren’t strict but you do need to hire CEC-accredited installers, and buy CEC-approved components, from CEC-approved retailers – which is a good thing!
The CEC hands out their accreditations and approvals only to manufacturers, products, and installers who’ve passed their standards. In turn, this helps ensure that your entire system is safely installed and well beyond the government’s minimum requirements.
What manufacturers and products you go with is entirely up to you and your home’s needs. But, if you want help finding an installer, we have a network of pre-vetted ones that are ready to help. We can get you 3 FREE quotes from them whenever you’re ready.
4. You have a variety of choices
There are many types of batteries used to store solar energy. These include:
- Lithium-ion batteries
- Lead acid batteries
- Saltwater batteries
- Solar gel batteries
Each type brings its advantages and disadvantages but lithium-ion batteries are the most commonly used in Australian homes. They offer high energy density and efficiency, require little maintenance, and last up to 10 years. They’re also quite affordable.
While we’re on the topic of choices, below is a short list of what we recommend. If you want the longer version, we also have a more comprehensive battery-buying guide with a longer list.
Solar batteries that we recommend
The Huawei Luna2000 is a great option and offers up to 15 kWh of energy storage with an expected life span of up to 10-15 years, making it one of the most practical options on the market today.
As a bonus, this system also has built-in backup grid power capabilities, so you can still access electricity in case of a power outage.
Tesla Powerwall 2
Tesla’s Powerwall 2 is one of the most well-known and efficient solar battery systems. It provides up to 13.5 kWh of energy storage with an expected life span of 10 years with minimal maintenance.
The price tag is high, though, but we think its efficiency alone makes it worth considering. Plus, it looks really good.
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BYD Premium LVS
BYD produces stationary storage batteries and mobile backup solutions designed for use in harsh climates such as Australia’s desert regions where temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius during summer months!
Their Premium LVS model is quite affordable, offering reliable performance over time, thanks to the advanced power electronics technology used in their designs.
What Is The Best Way To Store Energy From Solar Panels?
Solar batteries are the best way to store energy from solar panels. They’re highly efficient and cost-effective, helping you get the most out of your solar panel system. They come in different capacities, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your energy needs.
How Long Can You Store Energy From Solar Panels?
Each type of solar battery differs from one other, but typically these batteries can store power for roughly five days.
How Do You Store Solar Energy Without Batteries?
The most common way to store solar energy without batteries is through a thermal or mechanical storage system.
Solar energy storage solutions include solar batteries, thermal, and mechanical options. Of them all, batteries are the best for homes and also the most commonly used method.
You also have a variety of battery storage options. Lithium-ion batteries are the most popular because they’re affordable, don’t take up too much space, can store solar energy better than other types, and can last an entire decade. There are plenty of brands to choose from, too.
Regardless of what you choose, though, storing solar energy maximizes your savings (along with other benefits) because it also maximizes self-consumption.