Connect with us

Solar Energy

Is it worth investing in solar PV with batteries at home?

Published

on

Is it worth investing in solar PV with batteries at home?

Solar energy is a clean, renewable source of electricity that could potentially play a significant part in fulfilling the world’s energy requirements, but there are still some challenges to fully capitalizing on this potential. Researchers looked into some of the issues that hamper the uptake of solar energy and proposed different policies to encourage the use of this technology.

Installing solar panels to offset energy costs and reduce the environmental impact of their homes has been gaining popularity with homeowners in recent years. On a global scale, an increasing number of countries are similarly encouraging the installation of solar photovoltaics (PV) at residential buildings to increase the share of renewable energy in their energy mix and enhance energy security. Despite the promising advantages this mode of electricity generation offers there are still a number of challenges that need to be overcome.

Batteries to store excess electricity

Solar PV electricity generation peaks during the day when electricity demand is low, resulting in overproduction – especially on weekdays when people are usually not at home. Currently, this excess electricity supply is typically exported to the central electricity grid, but ideally, homes that have solar panels should be able to store overproduction of solar electricity, for example, using batteries, and consume it in the evening when demand is high and there is no solar electricity generation.

The problem is that the investment cost for batteries is currently quite high, which makes it economically unprofitable for consumers to pair their solar PV with a battery. In their new study published in the journal Applied Energy, researchers from IIASA, University College London, UK, and Aalto University, Finland, looked into this challenge and proposed different policies to encourage residential electricity consumers to pair solar PV with battery energy storage.

“We wanted to determine whether investing in residential solar PV combined with battery energy storage could be profitable under current market conditions for residential consumers and what kind of support policies can be used to enhance the profitability of stand-alone batteries or PV-battery systems.

On top if this, we also wanted to compare the system (or regulatory) cost of each PV-battery policy to the benefit of that particular policy for residential consumers who invest in these technologies,” explains lead author Behnam Zakeri, a researcher with the IIASA Energy, Climate, and Environment Program.

Benefits of using battery storage

The study shows that without a battery, homeowners only use 30-40% of the electricity from their solar PV panels, while the rest of the electricity is exported to the grid with very little to no benefit for the owner. With a home battery, the self-consumption of solar PV in the building almost doubles, allowing the residents to reduce electricity imports from the grid by up to 84%, which can in turn help the owner to become less dependent on the grid and electricity prices.

In addition, the researchers found that while PV-batteries are presently not really profitable for residential consumers, they can become so with the implementation of slightly different policies and regulations, even in high-latitude countries where solar irradiation is relatively low.

Energy policies for a decentralized energy system

The authors propose some novel energy storage polices that offer a positive return on investment between 40% and 70% for residential PV-battery storage, depending on the policy. These include, among others that national renewable energy policies adopt more innovative incentives to enhance the economic profitability of decentralized green energy solutions based on the contribution of these systems to the grid.

The results indicate that this can be easily achieved by, for example, rewarding consumers for using their solar PV generation onsite, instead of encouraging them to export the excess solar energy they produce to the grid.

The researchers further posit that the way utility companies and electricity distribution firms generate income today may itself be a hindrance to promoting the self-consumption of renewable energy in buildings, as these companies generally charge consumers for each unit of electricity imported from the grid.

If consumers therefore become independent from the grid, grid operators and utility companies would lose a significant part of their income. Such a scenario calls for new business models and operating modes to guarantee that central utilities do not see decentralized solutions as a threat to their revenues.

In today’s renewable electricity generation environment, capital subsidies are one option to partly pay for investment in batteries. The study points out that these policies are costly for the system, and may not automatically result in system-level benefits as they do not reward the optimal use of batteries. In this regard, Zakeri and his colleagues propose a “storage policy” that rewards residential battery owners to store and discharge electricity whenever the system needs it.

The profitability of PV-battery systems of course also depends on the type of retail pricing mechanism in the system. The findings indicate that dynamic electricity pricing at the consumer side, such as hourly electricity prices with an enhanced gap between off-peak and peak prices, will encourage consumers to use home batteries to benefit from charging at low price hours and discharging the battery when the electricity price is high. This way of operating a home battery could help reduce the pressure on the electricity grid at peak times, which has significant benefits for the system.

“Traditional, central energy structures are transitioning to new systems based on decentralized, renewable energy solutions. This requires more flexible, modern, and effective policies that can guarantee the social and economic benefits of the energy transition. We hope our analysis contributes to a better understanding of the role of some energy policies that can promote decentralized energy solutions,” Zakeri concludes.

Research Report: “Policy options for enhancing economic profitability of residential solar photovoltaic with battery energy storage”

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Solar Energy

Flower or power? Campaigners fear lithium mine could kill rare plant

Published

on

By

Flower or power? Campaigners fear lithium mine could kill rare plant


Flower or power? Campaigners fear lithium mine could kill rare plant

By Romain FONSEGRIVES

Rhyolite Ridge, United States (AFP) May 23, 2024






Delicate pink buds sway in the desert breeze, pregnant with yellow pompoms whose explosion will carpet the dusty corner of Nevada that is the only place on Earth where they exist.

Under their roots lie vast reserves of lithium, vital for the rechargeable electric car batteries that will reduce planet-heating pollution.

But campaigners fear the extraction of the precious metal could destroy the flower’s tiny habitat.

“This mine is going to cause extinction,” says Patrick Donnelly, an environmentalist who works at the Center for Biological Diversity, a non-governmental organization.

“They somehow claim that they’re not harming the (plant). But can you imagine if someone built an open-pit mine 200 feet from your house? Wouldn’t that affect your life profoundly?”

The plant in question is Tiehm’s buckwheat.

There are only around 20,000 known specimens, growing in a few very specific places on a total surface area equivalent to around five soccer fields.

In 2022, the wildflower was classified as endangered by US federal authorities, with mining cited as a major threat to its survival.

The plant and the lithium reserve on which it grows embody one of the key challenges and contradictions of the global climate struggle: how much damage can we inflict on the natural world as we seek to halt or reverse the problems we have already created?

– ‘Coexist’ –

Bernard Rowe, boss of Australian miner Ioneer, which holds the mineral rights to the area, says the lithium produced at Rhyolite Ridge “will be sufficient to provide batteries for about 370,000 vehicles” a year.

“We’ll do that year-on-year for 26 years,” he said.

Those nearly 10 million vehicles will go a long way towards meeting the goal President Joe Biden has set of cutting down the nation’s fleet of gas-guzzlers as a way to slash US production of planet-warming pollutants.

So-called zero-emission cars make up around 7.5 percent of new vehicle sales in the United States today — more than double the percentage just a few years earlier.

In California, the figure is more than 20 percent.

And while expansion in the sector has slowed, the category remains the fastest-growing, according to Kelley Blue Book.

And it’s not only in the United States: Global demand for lithium will increase five to seven times by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency.

The difficulty for US manufacturers is that much of the world’s lithium supply is dominated by strategic rival China, as well as Australia and Chile.

“The United States has very, very little domestic production,” said Rowe.

“So it’s important to develop a domestic supply chain to allow for that energy transition, and Rhyolite Ridge will be an integral part of that.”

Ioneer’s plans show that over the years the mine is in operation — it is projected to start producing lithium in late 2027 — around a fifth of the plant’s habitat will be directly affected.

But the company, which has spent $2.5 million researching the plant, says mining will not affect its survival; it is already growing well in greenhouses and biologists think it can be replanted.

“We’re very confident that the mine and Tiehm’s buckwheat can coexist,” Rowe said.

– ‘Greenwashing’ –

Donnelly counters that Ioneer is “basically greenwashing extinction.”

“They’re saying. ‘We’re going to save this plant,’ when actually they are going to send it to its doom,” he said.

Under the company’s plans, the strip mine will use hundreds of trucks, which Donnelly says will raise clouds of dust that will affect photosynthesis and harm the insects that pollinate the plants.

Ioneer says it has already planned mitigation methods, like dust curtains, and keeping the roads wet.

Still, Donnelly says, why not just move the mine? But Rowe counters that it’s not as simple as just digging somewhere else.

Ioneer has invested $170 million since 2016 to demonstrate the feasibility of this site, which it believes is one of the best around.

“Many of these other deposits haven’t had that amount of work, so they’re not viable alternatives to a project like this,” he said.

The US Department of Energy has offered Ioneer a $700 million loan for the project, if the Bureau of Land Management signs off on an operating permit.

Donnelly insists the issue is not just the future of one obscure wildflower, but rather just one example of large-scale biodiversity loss that is threatening millions of plants and animals.

“If we solve the climate crisis, but we drive everything extinct while we do it, we’re still going to lose our world,” he said.

Related Links

Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com





Source link

Continue Reading

Solar Energy

Tesla breaks ground on huge Shanghai battery plant

Published

on

By

Tesla breaks ground on huge Shanghai battery plant


Tesla breaks ground on huge Shanghai battery plant

by AFP Staff Writers

Shanghai (AFP) May 23, 2024






Tesla broke ground on a massive battery factory in Shanghai on Thursday, Chinese state media reported, making it the US electric car giant’s second plant in the financial hub.

The project was announced last April after boss Elon Musk presented a vague but ambitious plan to investors to turbocharge growth.

However, the company last month reported a 55 percent drop in quarterly earnings, reflecting a decline in EV sales in an intensively competitive market.

The new Shanghai factory should make 10,000 units per year of Tesla’s Megapack batteries, state news agency Xinhua said.

Tesla says Megapacks are intended to store energy and stabilise supply for power grids, with each unit able to store more than three megawatt-hours of power.

The factory is expected to start mass production in 2025, state media said in May.

“I believe the new plant is a milestone for both Shanghai and Tesla,” the company’s vice president Tao Lin told Xinhua.

“In a more open environment, we can… supply the global market with large-scale energy-storage batteries manufactured in China.”

Musk has extensive business interests in China and is a fairly frequent visitor.

In April, he met Chinese Premier Li Qiang, and received a key security clearance for Tesla’s locally produced EVs.

Musk’s interests in China have long raised eyebrows in Washington — President Joe Biden has said in the past that his links to foreign countries were “worthy” of scrutiny.

The battery plant will be Tesla’s second in the Chinese city after its enormous Shanghai Gigafactory, which broke ground in 2019.

Related Links

Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com





Source link

Continue Reading

Solar Energy

Improved polymer additive enhances perovskite solar cells

Published

on

By

Improved polymer additive enhances perovskite solar cells


Improved polymer additive enhances perovskite solar cells

by Simon Mansfield

Sydney, Australia (SPX) May 16, 2024






Perovskite solar cells, known for their lightweight and flexible nature, are inexpensive and easy to manufacture. They are seen as a promising technology that can be attached to various surfaces. However, these solar cells currently lack durability and efficiency. New research highlights how adding a polymerized ionic liquid to the metal halide perovskite material can improve their performance, potentially facilitating wider adoption of perovskite solar cells.

“The commonly employed solution processing method for fabricating perovskite layers introduces many defects in both the bulk and surface of the perovskite layer. These intrinsic defects within the perovskite absorption layer pose a significant constraint on the overall performance of the devices. Additive engineering has been demonstrated to be effective as a strategy for defect passivation and performance enhancement in perovskite solar cells,” said Qi Cao, a researcher at Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi’an, China.



Researchers are enhancing the properties of ionic liquids by creating polymerized versions. In this study, they synthesized a poly ionic liquid called poly4-styrenesulfonyl(trifluoremethylsulfonyl)imidepyridine (PSTSIPPyri).



The addition of PSTSIPPyri to the perovskite solar cell helps prevent halide ion migration, maintains the crystal structure, and improves the solar cell’s stability by fixing organic and halide ions.



“To date, researchers have devoted considerable attention to the meticulous selection of additives that enhance the performance of perovskite solar cells. Among these, ionic liquids have received widespread attention. Ionic bonds in ionic liquids tend to be stronger and more stable, and they offer various tunable properties, including viscosity, polarity, and conductivity,” said Xuanhua Li, a researcher at Northwestern Polytechnical University. “This tunability makes it possible to fine-tune the ionic liquid properties to meet the specific requirements of the perovskite film, thereby optimizing device performance.”



Testing of the PSTSIPPyri additive involved aging perovskite films for 300 hours at 85C and 60% relative humidity. The enhanced perovskite film showed a slower rate of change than the control film. It also retained 84.5% of its efficiency after 1000 hours in a high humidity, high heat environment, compared to 43.6% for the control.



Long-term durability tests showed that with PSTSIPPyri, the perovskite solar cell maintained 87.6% of its power conversion efficiency after 1,500 hours of continuous light, while the control only maintained 61.1%.



“Incorporating PSTSIPPyri as an additive leads to a significant enhancement in the power conversion efficiency of inverted perovskite solar cells from 22.06% to 24.62%. They also demonstrate excellent long-term operational stability,” said Cao. “This strategy illustrates the potential of poly ionic liquids as a promising additive for perovskite solar cells, offering both high performance and stability.”



Other contributors include Xingyuan Chen, Tong Wang, Jiabao Yang, Xingyu Pu, Hui Chen, Bingxiu Xue, and Jianbo Yin at Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi’an, China; Long Jiang at the CNPC Tubular Goods Research Institute in Xi’an, China.



Research Report:Efficiency enhancement to 24.62% in inverted perovskite solar cells through poly (ionic liquid) bulk modification


Related Links

Tsinghua University

All About Solar Energy at SolarDaily.com





Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Zox News Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by WordPress.