Is Storing Home Solar Power Good or Bad?

Are you thinking of installing solar power at home? Maybe, one of the things you would wish to do is disconnect from the power grid and use the stored-up electricity from batteries for the night-time. Here is an interesting study by the University of Texas Energy Institute at Austin, which projects that storing energy in batteries is harmful.

According to a projection by the Solar Energy Industry Association in 2016 there was an increase of over one million U.S. households with terms to the number of rooftop solar installations. Some households had on-site storage for future use which is typically achieved by containing the solar energy. This according to the study is harmful to the environment.

Co-author and professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and deputy director of UT Austin’s Energy Institute, Michael Webber, said that the aspect of storage was not required to make the solar panels cost-effective or useful. This also projects that storage is not required to integrate distributed solar power even if it cannot produce energy at night-time.

The study focused on electricity data from nearly 100 Texas households that were a part of a smart grid test bed that was operated by Pecan Street Inc., to research the impact of home energy storage. It was observed that homes used stored electricity from 8% to 14% more power than those homes who switched to the grid during night-time. The study also hinted that the charging and discharging of the batteries consumed more power. By adding energy storage based on solar panels the yearly energy consumption increased around 324 to 591 kilowatt-hours. The authors Robert Fares and Webber stated that the adding of storage indirectly increased emissions of nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and carbon dioxide.

When leveraging renewable sources of electricity, the complex engineering to capture the solar energy during the day and wind energy at night and delivering it needed more thought. The new study also suggests that fossil fuel like natural gas could be a better option than energy storage from batteries.

The research received financial assistance from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the University of Texas at Austin Energy Institute, and Pecan Street Inc. The way ahead, to decrease the reliance on fossil fuels would require a strategy that could use the electric grid to connect consumers to the electricity source and at the right time.

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