According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the demand for rooftop solar paired with energy storage systems will reach $1 billion in the U.S. within four years, and will create pent up demand for cost effective solar energy storage solutions. Paring with solar panels with batteries means users can store power during the day and use it at night, reducing electricity bills. Those savings can be more significant for customers who pay higher rates for electricity during peak periods.
Since solar energy is only available during the day and naturally sporadic because of weather and clouds, a large capacity and fast charge-discharge energy storage system is needed to quickly store the energy of the sun so that it can be used anytime – day or night. Therefore, solar energy storage systems need battery banks with high specific energy (Wh/Kg) to store as much energy as possible without increased size. At the same time, the system needs to provide high specific power (mAh/g) for fast charge to harvest as much energy as possible when the sunlight is available. Most importantly, the system should be able to handle large number of charge-discharge cycles possible before requiring battery replacement.
Dr. David Lee, the company’s CEO said, “Existing battery technologies, such as lithium-ion batteries, are good for longer-term energy storage, but cannot be charged or discharged rapidly. Furthermore, batteries have limited charge-discharge life cycles resulting in premature capacity degradation over relatively short time span. By integrating our BioSuperCap, a low cost polymer-based supercapacitor, as the front-end to battery banks, fewer batteries can be used, and daytime solar energy can be quickly and cost-effectively stored for nighttime use at a substantially lower cost. The combined system also will be able to handle much larger number of charge-discharge cycles resulting in substantially longer battery life.”
The company previously announced record performance for its low cost energy storage supercapacitor. BioSuperCap, a next generation supercapacitor based on inexpensive conducting polymers that can reduce the cost of storing the energy of the sun, has demonstrated stability for 50,000 charge-discharge cycles, which is more than 10 times better than reported for polymer-hybrid supercapacitors.
ST Staff Writers
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.