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Energy Independence Begins with Home Solar Power Storage Systems

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jan 04, 2012 02:13 AM
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by Guest Contributor last modified Jul 21, 2011

Energy independence is a growing trend in the U.S. Most of the time it refers to America’s need to transition away from dependence on fossil fuels that are imported from around the world. Thanks to increased opportunities for solar financing, energy independence are now easier and more affordable than ever to install a home solar system. If you’re thinking about taking it one step further and declaring complete independence from the traditional power grid, it’s essential to have a reliable power storage system.




 

 

About the author: Lorna Li is Editor in Chief of Green Marketing TV and Entrepreneurs for a Change, where she enjoys writing about green business and marketing

Energy independence is a growing trend in the U.S. Most of the time it refers to America’s need to transition away from dependence on fossil fuels that are imported from around the world. The best thing individuals can do to speed the nation’s movement away from oil and gas, and toward a clean energy economy is to utilize renewable energy in all possible facets of their daily lives.

Thanks to increased opportunities for solar financing,  energy independence are now easier and more affordable than ever to install a home solar system. If you’re thinking about taking it one step further and declaring complete independence from the traditional power grid, it’s essential to have a reliable power storage system.

When many people first learn about home solar power, they envision a system in which sunlight converts into electricity through a photovoltaic solar panel, and then that electricity travels through wires into their home.
Although simplified, this is basically how it works…when the sun is shining. But if you’re using an off-grid solar system and the weather is overcast for a few days, you need some sort of power storage system as a back-up.

Types Of Batteries

Most home solar systems store extra power in a battery bank which are a collection of large batteries that connects directly to the panels. When the panels are exposed to the sun and generating electricity, some of the power is diverted into the batteries and stored for usage during bad weather or an emergency.

According to the National Renewable Energy Lab, “The best kinds of batteries to use in a residential power system are deep-discharge lead-acid batteries…Some golf cart batteries may be a less expensive alternative. Car and marine batteries are not recommended for solar electric system use because they are designed to give a large burst of energy when starting a vehicle and are not made for deep discharges.”

Some companies, like Cerametec, offer batteries that are specifically designed for static solar systems. Cermetec’s battery is unique in the market due to its size  which almost fits in the palm of a hand and the ability to run at less than 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

The company reports that the battery runs on a sodium-sulfur mix, which is reportedly more energy intensive than typical lead-acid batteries, and has a 92 percent charge/discharge rating, allowing grid-tied solar energy users to store energy from their solar panels during off-peak hours (typically midnight to 7 a.m.) and use them when kilowatt-hour electricity costs soar during the day.

Building a Battery Bank

For most off-grid home solar systems, batteries are wired together in series to produce 12-, 24-, or 48-volt strings. These strings are then connected together in parallel to make up the entire battery bank.

To determine the number of batteries you need, NREL suggests that you first measure how much energy storage you need in kilowatt-hours (kWh). If you are connected to the utility grid, you can use your monthly utility bill to calculate past energy usage for your household. Of course, it’s always a good idea to spend a few months reducing your energy usage through conservation and energy-efficient upgrades before attempting to rely entirely on a home solar system.

Always make sure that you build your battery bank in a well-ventilated, temperature-moderated area because batteries give off gases that could accumulate to form an explosive mixture.

Source: National Renewable Energy Lab

Photo Source: Stock.xchange-kslyesmith

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