The use of solar energy is a wonderful development that helps preserve the environment and lets homeowners save money on their electricity bills. It makes sense that you'd also want to preserve some of that energy generated for other uses. There may also come a time when you need access to an emergency supply, such as during a power outage.
Some power companies allow you to send excess energy back into the grid to save on your power bill. However, another option homeowners have is to store that energy for later.
Here are ten ways how to store solar energy in case you don't have access to another power source.
1. Solar Generator
First and foremost, one of your best portable and at-home options is a solar generator. Most solar generators come with some kind of pre-installed battery which allows them to store excess energy that you aren't currently using.
Some higher-end models can hold electricity for up to one year, which makes them a great option for emergency backup power. Make sure to purchase one with a large number of outputs so you can divert power to all of your important appliances.
2. Thermal Storage
Thermal storage refers to storing solar energy in the form of heat. For example, molten sand or water can be heated by the sun and stored in an insulated tank until that energy is needed.
In most cases, that energy is used to boil water for energy generation. Boiled water turns into steam which drives a turbine. The turbine produces electrical power using conventional electricity generation equipment.
A flywheel is a heavy wheel that turns when you expend energy. Although it takes energy to start the rotation, a flywheel maintains inertia without much additional input.
An electrical generator extracts that energy when the wheel is attached. The generator slows the wheel down, transferring the energy into itself.
Flywheels are a great option to quickly provide power, but they don't store a lot of energy on their own.
4. Pumped Hydro
Hydroelectricity isn't a new concept. Many cities power themselves using hydro, though it requires a significant source of water to do so.
Pumped-storage hydropower lets you store solar energy in a similar fashion. Electrical energy provides power to pump water uphill, and that water is then allowed to flow back down to produce energy. The water turns a turbine to generate electricity.
5. Compressed Air
Compressed air storage works much like pumped-storage hydropower. A compressor system pumps large tanks full of pressurized air. When energy is needed, that air is released and used to drive a turbine.
Some storage systems then use the released air as part of a natural gas power cycle. The air is usually stored in sealed underground caverns.
6. Lithium-Ion Batteries
Many types of solar energy storage you'll see for home use involve batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in your everyday appliances, and they also find use in certain energy storage devices. This type can be recharged and have a high storage capacity.
For example, the Oupes 1800 Portable Power Station provides 1,488Wh of power and can power ten devices simultaneously with its LiFePO4 lithium battery. This solar energy power station also only takes 3.5 hours to fully recharge.
7. Saltwater Batteries
Saltwater batteries differ from your lithium-ion variety in how they collect energy. These batteries use a liquid sodium solution to capture, store, and discharge energy.
A lithium-ion battery has a higher energy density and holds higher charges. However, saltwater batteries are completely resistant to fire and are not hazardous or dangerous to use. As such, saltwater batteries are much more reliable for solar-powered homes due to their low risk.
One thing to keep in mind is that lithium-ion batteries are more affordable due to their overall popularity.
8. Lead-Acid Batteries
The lead-acid battery is the very first type of rechargeable battery ever invented. Despite their age, they're still used in backup power supplies for devices like smaller computer systems, electric scooters, and marine applications.
Although other types of solar energy storage are much more efficient and safer, lead-acid batteries are easily the most affordable. If you're planning a small off-grid storage system, this may be a good option.
9. Solar Fuels
Solar power can be used to create alternative forms of fuel like combustibles or consumables. In that case, the chemical bonds that are created contain the stored energy.
For example, researchers currently study the use of oxygen and methane as a type of solar fuel. If utilized properly, they could store energy in solar fuels for months and transport them anywhere around the world.
10. Use Your Accumulated Energy
One way to store solar energy without a power station or some other form of a storage device is to use it up at the moment.
Keep your devices topped up on energy when you're not using them. That includes recharging a power bank or any other portable device.
You can also heat or cool a building before a shift in weather occurs. If a snowstorm is about to blow through during the night, make your home warmer than it needs to in advance. It's easier for a system to work full-throttle for an extended period of time than for it to turn on and off automatically throughout the day.
Store Solar Energy and Avoid Waste
Solar energy is the most abundant resource on earth by a long shot. Most of that energy goes uncollected and unused. By investing in a storage option, you're giving yourself the opportunity to take better advantage of solar power and lower your carbon footprint.
OUPES was founded to meet your solar power demands on the go. Our team constantly works to innovate our products and provide a better user experience.
If you want to store solar energy, take a look at our solar generators and portable power stations online. And contact us to learn more about our supply.