What Is Utility-Scale Battery Storage? Why Is Important to the Future of Solar Power?
Once electricity is generated, it must be used immediately or stored for later. Electricity’s “use it now, store it or lose it” nature has helped contribute to the rise of battery solutions as an option for storing the excess power generated by solar panels. Additionally, in the past decade, the cost of battery storage solutions has declined dramatically, while the technology has improved, making battery storage more viable and more affordable. The current preferred technology for grid-level or “utility-scale” battery storage in both the United States and the world is lithium-ion. From the small home solar panel level to the large grid level, consumers, industry and power distributors alike are adopting battery storage solutions in greater numbers—especially as costs come down and system efficiency goes up.
Where Is Utility-Scale Battery Storage Used?
Currently, in 2020, there are 1,355 electrical energy utility-scale storage projects around the world. Eleven additional storage facilities are being built. Approximately 40% of all the online storage operations are in the United States are spread across about 40 of the 50 states.
Why Utility-Scale Battery Storage and Solar Electricity Go Hand in Hand
Peak electrical supply and peak demand rarely, if ever, occur at the same time. Additionally, solar panels simply won’t generate power after the sun goes down. In order to maintain a more consistent supply of solar electricity, then, excess solar generated during the day must be stored for later use.
Of course, many solar panel owners can also sell unused power to their local electric provider, and GVEC offers this option, too. While this is certainly a cost-effective way to maximize a solar investment, storing excess solar power for use after the sun goes down saves even more. Storing excess for later also allows owners greater energy independence, making it possible to maintain power during an outage or to draw power from batteries at night, without relying as much on the grid. These battery advantages are available to any sized solar panel system, including at the utility-scale level all the way down to the level of individual ownership for the home.
It’s not difficult to imagine how utility-scale solar storage could be beneficial to power distributors. These systems have the potential to lessen the impact of outages, allowing providers to potentially keep power flowing to some customers as providers fix the problem causing an outage. Utility-scale battery systems could also be a huge benefit during “peak-usage” times along an electric grid, allowing the provider to shed load by supplementing their external power supply with battery storage, keeping the grid and electric rates more stable.
Given solar power’s renewability, the competitive cost compared to other power-generation technologies and electricity’s use it now or store it limits, solar power and battery storage seem a perfect, almost inevitable match.
How Does Electrical Storage Capacity Compare to Generation Capacity?
Today, the U.S. has more than 23.2 GW of energy storage capacity. In contrast, it has 1,100 GW of total generation capacity. Storage capacity is growing and will probably always play an important role in energy security and efficiency—particularly in regard to solar; however, actual generation capacity will likely remain much greater in the foreseeable future.
GVEC: Your One-Stop, Reliable Texas Solar Installation Company
GVEC offers solar panel installation as part of our complete turnkey solar solution. We’ll even help you with permitting and applicable approvals to make sure your panels are installed 100% up to local code.
Our process begins with a team of solar solutions specialists who’ll answer all your questions with honest, trustworthy information. Since they aren’t paid commission, our specialists aren’t under pressure to sell you. Their only goal is to make sure you have realistic, up-to-date information. If you decide you’d like to invest in a home solar panel system, they’ll help you design an affordable option that fits your budget and your energy needs. We offer battery storage solutions as part of the process, too, to help you get maximum benefit from a solar investment. All our systems include a 25-year warranty on parts and 10 years on installation.
If you’re ready to let the Texas sun set you on a path toward a more energy independent lifestyle, call GVEC solar at 855.898.8807 to learn more.