Renewable energy technology has long faced the problem of how to store the generated power. There is a great deal of research being carried out surrounding battery storage options but many are wary to go this path as there are some materials in a battery that are harmful to the environment when mined. So, instead of batteries, what if the solar cells themselves served as the energy storage?
- Fewer Line Losses
- Addressing Demand Response Issues
- Increase Usage Of Renewables
Fewer Line Losses
When electricity passes through lines and goes through inverters after being generated by a solar cell, there are associated losses at each of these stages. The electricity that goes from a cell, into an inverter, into a battery and then back out of the battery to be used has many points at which power is lost. By storing more of the energy directly inside the solar cells, there are far fewer line losses. This increases the amount of energy that a consumer can realistically receive from a solar array. Fewer line losses also means bigger financial savings for consumers as well.
Addressing Demand Response Issues
Solar and wind generators only work when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. This has caused issues for some utilities because they have far more generation during the day than they do during the night. And while energy usage is far greater during the day, there are still some issues that accompany this huge swing in a generation. Solar cells with storage can help smooth out this curve through what is known as demand response. The energy gets called on by a utility when demand suddenly rises and the owner of the power is then compensated accordingly.
Increase Usage Of Renewables
Consumers are far more likely to adopt a new form of energy for their homes if it has additional benefits. Because energy storing solar cells would also act as a form of back up power, homes and businesses may want to use them as a form of resiliency. This way, if the power should ever go out, they would be able to call upon the energy stored in the cells to power things like a refrigerator or an air conditioner in the hottest months. Plus, as this technology is more widely adopted, the price will come down as well.