Solar energy is a smart way to offset your carbon impact at home. It helps reduce your reliance on local utility grids, which frequently rely on non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels, contributing to significant environmental pollution.
If you’re thinking about making the switch to solar for your home, you might have wondered how much energy a solar panel can store. After all, having some extra electricity stored away can help you in a pinch, such as when there’s a power outage in your area.
However, there’s a problem with that question.
Solar Panels Don’t Actually Store Energy
Solar panels, in and of themselves, don’t store any of the power they make. Their sole purpose is to absorb sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity, which is then converted by an inverter into alternating current (AC) for your home to use.
Solar panels only generate electricity when there’s sunlight. If there’s no sunshine, your home will get its power from the utility grid.
To ensure that you can continue to use solar electricity even if the sun isn’t shining, be sure to tell your solar contractor that you need solar batteries be installed. These devices will keep your extra electricity in storage for you.
How Solar Batteries Work in a Solar Power System
In a regular solar power system, any excess solar energy that your home doesn’t consume goes to the grid usually in exchange for bill credits from your utility company.
But if you have a solar battery installed, that excess will go to the battery instead of straight to the grid. You can now use electricity at home when there’s no sun without immediately relying on the grid.
Of course, how much of that excess you can use depends on the solar battery’s storage capacity.
How Much Can You Store in a Solar Battery?
There are many solar battery types and sizes available in the market today, which means the amount of energy your solar panel system can store depends on what you install.
Solar battery sizes are calculated in kilowatt-hours or kWh, just like your power consumption on electric meters. A smaller solar power system may have battery sizes of around 2 kWh, while larger systems will likely have batteries that can store 10 kWh of energy or more.
Measuring your energy usage during the hours when your home starts using the grid can help you find out how many and what solar battery sizes you need installed. A solar professional can also calculate it for you for better accuracy.
Factors Affecting How Much Energy You Can Generate and Store
Installing solar batteries doesn’t always guarantee that they’ll always fill up to capacity as quickly as their specs suggest. Here are some factors that affect how much solar energy you can use and store at a time.
- Panel Output Capacity: The power that the panels can produce within a given time under ideal conditions. For example, a home solar panel may generate 300-400 watts an hour when exposed to direct sunlight.
- Panel Efficiency: The percentage of sunlight the panels can convert to electricity. The average solar panel has efficiency rates of around 15 percent, while high-quality panels can reach percentages of 20 or higher.
- Location: US states have varying climates and don’t receive equal amounts of sunshine. As such, where you live affects how many hours of sunlight your panels can be exposed to.
Are Solar Panel Batteries Worth It?
Installing solar batteries for your system can be a worthwhile investment if you’re keen on significantly reducing your reliance on local utility companies for power. They’re definitely worth considering if you plan to go off-grid or live in an area that experiences frequent power outages.
Learn More About Going Solar
Knowing how much energy a solar panel can store or rather, a solar power system can help you determine how big of a system you need at home. But you don’t have to do all the work yourself. With a solar professional, you could get more accurate estimates, so not a single penny goes to waste on your investment. They’ll also make sure your systems are installed and operating correctly.
There are many solar companies, such as Design 1 Solar Group, that provide solar energy solutions that promote sustainable lifestyles. Find out more about the benefits of going solar today.