How do you store solar power at home?
Time was if a person put solar panels on their house the power they generated was on a “use it or lose it” basis. You could only use solar power when the skies were clear and the sun was shining, and if you generated more power than you needed, the excess was lost. Thankfully, advances in both battery technology and the way solar panels integrate with the wider grid network have changed that.
Firstly, many countries now permit both residential and commercially generated excess renewable energy to be sold back to the national grid at a percentage of the retail price of electricity. These schemes have existed since as far back as the 1980s, but in the UK the first Feed-in Tariff was introduced in April 2010. These schemes mean that any surplus energy generated by a solar panel isn’t wasted; by feeding into the grid it reduces energy waste, can reduce the need to generate electricity by non-renewable means, and it has the benefit of earning the owner of the panels extra income. Unfortunately, in the UK Feed-in Tariffs were discontinued in 2019, though individual energy companies are obliged to offer similar incentives for renewable energy.
Secondly, recent improvements in battery technologies have meant that homeowners and businesses now have the option of storing their renewable energy in a battery, to use on-demand rather than just at point of production. It enables you to continue using renewable energy even when no new power is being generated – for instance, running your lights at night on solar power generated during the day.
It should be noted that electricity generated from solar panels is DC and requires an inverter to be transformed into AC (alternate current) to be used for standard mains power requirements (like plug sockets and pendant lights).
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