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The Future of Battery Storage Systems for Solar Energy

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Jane Marsh's picture
Editor Environment.co

Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co. She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.

  • Member since 2020
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  • Jun 17, 2022
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As worldwide use of energy grows, so do concerns about its effect on the environment. Most of the energy produced around the world comes from fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. Industrial plants use steam to turn these raw materials into energy that powers everything from electric lights to travel and manufacturing.

It’s well known that the fossil fuel industry contributes to air pollution. However, transitioning to cleaner forms of energy isn’t an easy task. Although they’re kinder to the environment, they’re not as reliable or powerful as fossil fuels. Battery storage systems are an innovation that could make the transition to clean energy easier.

Potential in the Sun

In just one hour, the sun sends 430 quintillion Joules of energy to earth. If captured, this would be enough energy to power all industrial and residential sectors around the globe for an entire year. The solar industry is expanding as more industries and residential households take advantage of the sun’s energy.

Photovoltaic cells have improved drastically since their conception in 1960. While the first PV cell was only 14% efficient, new models have reached an impressive 47.1% efficiency. High-end residential solar panels typically fall within the 18% to 23% range. As panels have become more popular, they’ve also become more affordable.

Using wind for industrial power only makes sense in certain landscapes. By contrast, sunshine can be found almost everywhere. However, collecting energy is only part of the necessary process. After energy is collected, it must also be stored and transported. That’s where battery storage systems come in.

The Problem With Solar

Energy reliability has been one of the solar industry’s greatest challenges. The sun only shines during the day and bad weather can impact its performance. Solar panels still gather energy on cloudy or wet days, but they’re not as efficient. Relying on the weather is not a comfortable prospect for industry leaders who want to bring their investors and clients reliable results.

Battery storage systems solve this problem of stability. They store excess charge during the day that can be metered out overnight. Many homeowners and industrial plants have implemented battery storage systems in case of blackouts – if the electrical grid shuts down, storage systems can protect assets and keep everything running.

Storage battery sales have been picking up as more and more companies see their potential for powering industrial sites. These systems can be connected to the grid, storing excess energy and switching on only when needed. As a bridge between fossil fuels and solar energy, they can support industries during the transition from old to new sources of energy.

Upcoming Innovations

Paired with smart technology, battery storage systems are an exciting possibility for the future of clean industry. Similar to smart home systems, smart industrial technology is wired to track energy use and improve efficiency on industrial sites. Syncing smart systems with battery storage would mean energy flow is automatic and improves over time.

Many different companies are experimenting to make batteries that last longer and charge faster. In addition to the popular lithium-ion batteries, flow and zinc storage batteries are being developed. Most of these batteries use precious materials, so other companies are developing recycling techniques that would allow them to reuse these materials.

There are still several challenges for battery storage systems to overcome before they are standard in the solar industry. These include cost, ethical mining of materials and improved performance. However, competition in the solar energy market means innovation is high. The next few years will reveal both the limits and possibilities of battery storage systems for industrial solar energy. 

Charging Into the Future

Battery storage systems are an exciting development in solar energy. As storage systems improve, solar power will become more reliable and scalable. Solar panels and storage systems are already supporting residential properties around the world – storage systems give solar the potential to power industrial centers in the future.

Despite constant innovation, the solar industry still faces challenges. Materials for solar panels and battery storage systems are precious and expensive. Creating enough solar panel systems to sustain the world’s energy needs would be a massive challenge. However, thanks to battery storage systems, solar energy is more feasible and scalable than before.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 17, 2022

Materials for solar panels and battery storage systems are precious and expensive

Hopefully the coming years see proper investment in recycling of end-of-life panels and batteries to help these techs avoid the landfill and keep flowing the necessary materials for new production as well

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Jun 20, 2022

The advanced batteries now made today are being recycled at over 92% of materials. They can be used to make the next batteries. Companies are finding new material that is more plentiful like sulfur. Tesla has batteries with no Cobalt . Everyday there are new lower cost and better material . 

   We also have million mile and forever batteries with very long life. The same batteries can serve a much more useful life with V2X Vehicle to everything. The future is unlimited now that we have many companies testing and improving battery storage.     QUOTE= 

Sulfur Battery Technology Could Make Electric Cars Go Three Times Further By 2024

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