Solar Energy

Solar Panels And Energy Storage: The Ultimate Guide

Solar Panels And Energy Storage: The Ultimate Guide

Solar panels do not have direct energy storage feature. The ability of solar panels to store the electricity produced is only possible with the presence of an additional system such as a solar cell. Solar cells, characterised as photovoltaic cells, convert the energy of sunlight into electricity through a process called photovoltaic effect. Thus, the solar energy produced by solar cells can be stored in batteries. When solar cells produce more electricity than will be consumed, this excess energy can also be used to charge the batteries. These batteries convert the energy they store as chemical energy into electrical energy when necessary.

How Do Solar Cells Work?

Basic working principle of solar cells is based on the interaction of sunlight with the semiconductor material of the solar cell made of silicon. When sunlight consisting of photons hits the surface of the solar cell, the photons transfer their energy to the semiconductor material of the solar cell. Electrons that are at rest at that time become active. The sunlight falling on the cells in the solar cell, so to speak, caused a motion between two different types of semiconductor materials, which have more electrons and few electrons. At this time, electrons ejected from the material with many electrons flow towards the other material with few electrons due to the energy causes by light. We can say that this mobility is the triggering element of electric current generation.

How Do Solar Cells Store Solar Energy?

There are metal contacts at the top and bottom of the solar cell to collect the electric current produced. The current collected through these metal contacts flows through an external electrical circuit like a wire connected to the solar cell. Every time electrons move through this electrical circuit, electrical energy is produced. This flow of electrons, on one hand, powers electrical devices. On the one hand, it produces an electric current that can be stored for later use when needed. Because solar cells store the excess electricity produced by solar panels when the sunlight is intense, so to speak, for the times when there is a shortage of sunlight. On cloudy days and nights when solar panels cannot produce enough electricity due to the lack of sunlight, this energy stored in solar cells is used to power devices in places such as homes or workplaces. However, for this to happen, sometimes more than one solar cell may need to be connected in series or parallel. Solar energy panels that emerge in this way create medium and large-scale systems by combining the power of solar cell cells, and in a way further increases the level of electrical energy produced by the battery. These environmentally friendly systems are used in factories, resorts, scientific equipment and spacecraft. Solar cells, which are made of chemicals such as lead-acid, lithium-ion or salt water cells, which are activated when the panel cannot meet the electricity need, eliminate the dependence on the electricity grid and in a sense encourage the use of solar energy.

References

1. Mitali, J. Dhinakaran, S. and Mohamad, A. A. (2022), Energy storage systems: A review, Energy Storage and Saving, 1 (3), pp. 166-216.

2. Hussen, S. Ayalew, F. Bajaj, M. and Kumar, N. , “An overview of recent advances in energy storage for solar power systems”, IEEE International Conference on Automatica, Universidad de Talca at Curicó Chile.

3. Turijillo, A.C. and Vigata A. F. (2021). Solar photovoltaic energy storage system. (Bachelor’s Thesis). Bachelor of Engineering Degree Programme in Energy Technology, Vaasa.

4. Green, M. A. (1998). Solar cells. The University of New South Wales.

5. Nelson, J. (2003). The physics of solar cells. Imperial College Press.

6. Hu, C. and White, R. M. (1983). Solar cells- from basics to advanced systems. University of California, Berkeley.

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