Storing thermal and electrical energy

The thing that differentiates solar thermal from all other forms of renewable clean energy is that you can safely and easily store heat. However you generate your electricity – be it by wind or photovoltaics – storing electricity safely and cleanly is a real problem. You can build banks of environmentally damaging batteries using precious rare earths and store electricity thus.You can build dams and use the mechanics of pumping the water to the stop when electricity is plentiful and letting it run through turbines to the bottom when it is need, but that is wasteful of land and expensive and creates a massive emission of carbon dioxide when the land is turned into a reservoir. You can send the electricity to another country that may need it, but the further it travels the less electrical energy it has, because it loses electrical energy as heat in the transmission.

It follows that much electrical energy generated by renewable means is wasted. In one sense the wastage does not usually involve a loss of resources, and that is important, but should not we concentrate our efforts in adopted renewables where the energy can be safely stored? That makes better sense.

Thermal energy from daylight collected by solar panels  is very easy to store. You simply build large metal heat storage vessels; most of you will already have such an energy store – usually called a cylinder or tank – in your home.

In some countries these cylinders are known as “boilers” and in other countries they are called “geysers”. Often the energy is created directly within such a cylinder by a coil linked to a boiler or by an immersion – a large version of what is in your electric kettle, if you have one.

Solar thermal energy, unlike solar electrical energy, can be easily and safely stored. You collect the energy from daylight when day light is available, topping up what you have used by the same method, and use the heat at your convenience.

Most people who have looked into solar water heating will be aware that the systems need tanks or cylinders for energy storage. The bigger the system, the more energy storage you need. The more sophisticated the system the more storage space you need.

At Genersys we use, as a rule of thumb, that you need 100 litres of water energy storage for every panel (panels are about two square metres). The UK default solar water system seems to have settled on a two panel 200 litre store system. Larger homes would do better with more panels and more stored energy. For commercial and large scale applications – schools, hospitals and industry – you need very large cylinders. If you are using solar panels to provide under floor heating you will need very large stores of heat. Certainly if you are building a house with underfloor heating it will be very cost effective to have the heating powered by solar energy.

Until now we at Genersys have usually left it to our installers to source large cylinders And tanks and buffer tanks. We now have a better solution. I am very pleased to announce a new Genersys product – large commercial tanks and cylinders of a quality commensurate with that of our panels at very cost effective prices.

The whole range is explained on our website and you can download product data from Genersys UK (EN-GB) Solar tanks v2.0.22-RRP-A4-100dpi.pdf

2 Responses

  1. […] ========================= We are not claiming to be the original source of this post, some links might be automatically be removed, so see the original story at: solar « WordPress.com Tag Feed […]

  2. […] Today found this great post, here is a quick excerpt : The thing that differentiates solar thermal from all other forms of renewable clean energy is that you can safely and easily store heat. However you generate your electricity – be it by wind or photovoltaics – storing electricity safely … Read the rest of this great post Here […]

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