People are always looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and most especially with the current environmental discussions regarding climate change. One solution that has been proposed is to use renewable energy sources to power our homes and businesses. However, traditional energy sources such as coal and gas are still heavily relied upon, which is problematic since it is a known fact that they are not sustainable and will eventually run out. This is why alternative sustainable energy sources such as the sun are becoming so popular, especially since they don’t require constant maintenance and can be counted upon whenever needed.
A perfect example of a renewable energy source that is being used successfully today is solar power. The sun is a reliable and abundant source of energy that will never run out, which is why several organizations are pushing for solar panel technologies to become more affordable and accessible for the general public. One of the major issues that prevent solar power from becoming widespread is its limited output. When the sun isn’t shining, it doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from its energy, it just means that you have to wait for it to shine again before you can use it.
Luckily, there are several ways that this limitation can be overcome. One of the most effective and eco-friendly methods is through the use of thermal energy storage, which is why several solar power plants have incorporated this innovative technology.
What Is Thermal Energy Storage?
Thermal energy storage is the process by which heat is stored at a certain temperature. So instead of producing electricity right away when the sun is shining, the power produced by the solar cells is stored at a certain temperature and used as soon as the sun stops shining.
This prevents the overproduction of energy when the sun is shining and ensures that the output of the solar plant matches the demand for electricity. It also prevents the need to constantly maintain a large cooling system, which would be required to keep the solar plant at a comfortable working temperature. This is especially beneficial for remote and rural areas where the cost of energy is higher and constant cooling can become prohibitively expensive. In such areas, thermal energy storage can reduce energy costs and improve the sustainability of power generation.
An example of a thermal energy storage system used in a solar power plant is the Thermo Electric Storage system from LG. It provides several hours of continuous power supply at more than 11,000 hours of operation, which makes it suitable for use in off-grid applications. The fact that it stores thermal energy means that it can be effectively and silently operated without the need for any kind of external cooling. The system is designed to function completely automatically without the need for human intervention and is backed by a five-year warranty.
Why Are Solar Plants And Thermal Energy Storage Combining?
Just because a system is efficient doesn’t mean that it is the best option for everyone, especially when there are already viable alternatives available. The fact that solar power plants and thermal energy storage are both effective and eco-friendly means that there are many reasons why they might be used together instead of in isolation. For example, while solar power plants are great options for off-grid living and remote areas where traditional power sources might not be available, thermal energy storage allows for more efficient and stable power generation even when the sun is shining. In addition, since thermal energy storage can double as a space heater in winter, it can bring some warmth when used in conjunction with a solar power plant.
One of the major factors that contribute to the success of solar power plants and thermal energy storage is the ability to store and harness energy whenever and wherever it is available. While the sun doesn’t shine constantly, it continually provides energy which can be drawn upon whenever needed. As a result, solar power plants and thermal energy storage remove the unpredictability from energy generation, which is often an impediment to mainstream adoption.
In summary, solar power plants and thermal energy storage are both effective and sustainable options for generating electricity, which makes them a match made in heaven. When paired together, they can provide reliable power even when the sun isn’t shining, which makes them ideal for remote and off-grid living situations. Moreover, since both options benefit from the presence of the other, they can be used together to overcome some of the limitations inherent in independent operation.