Solar energy is a great way to reduce your home’s energy use by an average of 80 percent and it can help to create a greener existence for you and your home. However, the one big drawback to solar power is that it works only in sunlight and, most efficiently, in bright sunlight. To overcome this drawback and add to their independence and energy efficiency, many people are taking to investing in solar storage systems.
Buying vs Leasing Solar Panels
Before you get started, make sure that you own your solar panels and solar energy system to avoid costly issues or the removal of your solar panels. Most of our competitors only lease their solar roofs, solar panels, or solar energy systems and include built in charges for maintenance fees. This becomes a big issue if you are looking for true independence or want to add an energy storage system to supplement your solar power. Here at Zoetic NRG we offer excellent solar in Denver, and Las Vegas, and are able to provide you with cutting edge solar panels for a bargain rate. Check out our solar ownership article if you are weighing the options of buying vs leasing solar panels.
In today’s blog, we’ll be checking out the two forms of solar energy storage. Electrical energy storage for systems like our own with photovoltaic solar cells, and solar thermal storage for strictly solar space, water, and pool heating systems.
Electrical Storage for Solar Power Systems
For Photovoltaic Solar Panels (the type we use), there are two main ways to store electricity: Solar battery banks and grid inter-tie.
Solar Battery Banks
A battery bank is essentially a cluster of batteries that are charged throughout the day and then discharged as needed on cloudy days and at night. These battery banks work in roughly the same way as car batteries, and DIY versions are often made out of car batteries or high-end lithium batteries from old laptops and other tech items. Kits for solar battery banks also exist and are designed to handle the type of charging and discharging that are needed when connected to a solar power system. For a DIY battery bank, a charge controller, system meter, and especially a main DC disconnect are required for possible electrical shorts, better safety, and proper usage.
With a proper set up, the battery bank will switch from charging before it is dangerously overcharged, to begin adding its energy back into the electrical grid to maintain safety and to continue accruing credits.
This option is how a homeowner can gain true independence from the power companies and the main electrical grid.
Grid Intertie Solar System
A grid-tied system is not nearly as independent as a solar battery system. It requires connection to a power grid and takes advantage of net-metering so that when electricity is produced, it literally rolls your electric meter backwards. At night or on a cloudy day when you need the solar but it’s not producing, you can draw from the grid. In this sense, you’ve essentially used the electrical grid to store your excess electricity.
Check with your electricity provider about returning electricity to the grid and rolling your meter backwards, as many of them use credit systems that not only allow you to roll your meter backwards and forwards, but allows credits for energy to be put on the grid that you do not use.
Solar Thermal Storage
Solar heating for space water or pools differs little. It’s important to note, that at Zoetic NRG, we don’t install solar thermal storage, but we do advocate their use for truly green homes. We stick to helping spread home ownership of solar panels and solar power systems for residential clients in Denver, Colorado’s Front Range, and Las Vegas.
Solar Space Heating
To heat spaces in homes, thermal mass heating is used to capture heat during the day and then slowly release it when it is needed during the night or at other times. This is similar in operation to solar energy towers that use massive reflector arrays to pour energy into liquid sodium thermal batteries to continue producing electricity and heat throughout the night.
Solar Water Heating
This type of passive solar heating can range from the extremely simple to the complex and ingenious. Modern systems use active and passive water transfer systems to both heat the water and move the water to heat exchangers where more thermal energy has been stored in specialized heat-transfer fluids to maximize water heating.
Solar pool heating
This elegant system simply uses the swimming pool water for solar energy storage. Solar pool heaters circulate water through solar collectors to heat the water and, depending on the amount of light you get, can extend your pool season by a good margin.