FREMONT, CA : The world with abundant sunshine and a unique confluence of supply and demand situation is ideal for developing solar power. In most parts of the world, clear sunny weather is experienced 250 to 300 days a year. The equivalent energy potential is about 5,000 trillion kWh per year. Temperatures can be hottest, and people who work daytime hours get home and start using electricity to cool their homes, cook, and run appliances.
Storage assists solar contribute to the electricity supply even when the sun isn’t shining. It can support smooth out variations in how solar power flows on the grid. These variations are attributable to transformations in the amount of sunlight that shines onto photovoltaic (PV) panels or concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) systems. Solar power production can be impacted by the season, day, clouds, dust, or obstructions like shadows, rain, snow, and dirt. Sometimes power storage is co-located with a solar energy system, and sometimes the storage system stands alone. Still, in either configuration, it can assist effectively integrate solar into the energy landscape.
Although using energy storage is never completely efficient—some energy is always lost in converting power and retrieving it—storage enables the flexible use of energy at various times from when it was created. So, storage can increase efficiency and resilience, enhancing power quality by matching supply and demand. Various energy and power potentials of storage can be leveraged to manage various tasks. Short-term storage that lasts a few minutes will ensure a solar plant functions smoothly during output fluctuations due to passing clouds. In contrast, longer-term storage can offer supply over days or weeks when solar power production is low or during a major weather event.
Energy can also be stored by altering how people use the devices they already have. For instance, by heating or cooling a building before an anticipated peak of demand, the building can store that thermal power, so it doesn’t require consuming electricity later in the day.