How does solar energy store? Most homeowners choose to use solar batteries to store solar energy. Technically, you can store solar energy through mechanical or thermal storage, such as pumped hydro or molten salt storage technology, but these storage options require a lot of space, materials, and moving parts. Overall, it is not the most practical method for storing energy in a home.
On the other hand, solar batteries are a good way to store residential solar energy. How does solar energy store? The most common type of battery used for solar storage is lithium-ion battery. Compared to other solar storage solutions on the market, such as lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries have a longer service life, require less maintenance, and take up less space. Lithium-ion batteries can store solar energy through a series of chemical reactions, where lithium ions move through the electrolyte solution inside the battery. Therefore, when the solar panels supply power to the battery storage system, a chemical reaction occurs, moving lithium ions and releasing electrons inside the electrolyte solution in the battery, thus storing energy. When you need to use the electricity in the battery, the electrons flow back and release the energy from the battery. This process can be repeated over and over again, allowing the battery to be recharged.
Knowing how solar energy is stored, what are the benefits of solar energy storage? In many places, solar batteries will not save you extra electricity bills, because there is a utility rate structure called net metering. Through complete retail net metering, your utility company will pay you the full retail price for any excess solar energy that your home does not use. Essentially, you use the utility as your "financial battery".
However, not all utilities offer full retail net metering, but instead buy excess solar power at a lower price. This is where solar energy storage can save extra electricity bills. You don't have to deliver excess power to the grid and get low electricity prices, but store it for later use and get the full retail value from it. If your utility company charges higher electricity prices during peak demand periods under time-of-use rates, solar energy storage is also very helpful. You can use the electricity stored in the battery during these peak periods, avoiding paying the expensive rates set by the utility company.