How can you cope with the typhoons and tropical storms and the accompanying power outages? Many homes and businesses are left to their inconveniences when extreme weather causes power outages. Yet, this does not need to be the case. Homes and businesses can deploy fallback power systems using energy storage solutions.
Solar power is the preferable alternative because it is in plenty in southeast Asia. Solar power systems, coupled with batteries and inverters, can complement the mains grid connection. This kind of setup can use main grid power and switch to the stored energy when there is a power outage.
What is Energy Storage?
Energy is the capacity to perform a task. This type of capacity is either stored (potential), or working (kinetic). Energy occurs in several forms: light, heat, motion, electrical, chemical and gravitational. Energy can be transformed from stored to working energy, and from one form to another. For example, gas in a can is stored energy. The gas burns to produce light and heat energy in a lamp.
Energy storage is holding energy in one form, so that it can be drawn and used in a different form. Batteries, for example, hold chemical energy. When a battery is in use, this chemical energy is drawn and used as electric energy.
What is an Energy Storage Solution?
An energy storage solution is the means by which energy is stored, or in simple terms, the container which holds energy. Energy storage solutions differ in the capacity of energy they can store, and the rate at which they can release this energy. They also differ in the way they make this energy available. There are different types of energy storage solutions:
Batteries are the most widespread form of energy storage. They come in different capacities, shapes and types. The basic working of a battery is that the chemical compound in the battery reacts to produce electricity.
Batteries can be found in different devices; from mobiles to electric vehicles. This versatility has made batteries the most popular form of energy storage solution.
Batteries are the preferred energy storage solutions for residential purposes. They are convenient to install and come in different capacities, which enables homeowners to install what is appropriate for the home.
Water reservoirs hold the largest energy capacity in the world. Hydropower is the most preferred for industrial energy provision around the world. Pumped hydro reservoirs can hold vast amounts of energy but are expensive to the build, along with the grid lines to supply the power.
Thermal Energy Storage
Thermal energy storage systems use thermal absorbent materials like molten salts to store heat from sunshine. Chemical reactions are used to release this heat when energy is needed. The heat is used to produce steam that drives electric turbines.
Compressed Air Storage
This energy storage solution is used in wind farms. When the wind is in plenty, air is taken into underground reservoirs and stored at high compression. When the wind abates, the air is released to power an electric turbine.
Stored Hydrogen Energy
Excess energy is used in hydrogen electrolysis, where the released hydrogen is then stored for re-electrification when power is needed.
Flywheels spin at very high speeds, typically in a vacuum. Energy is stored by spinning the flywheel in one direction and winding it at high tension. When energy is needed, the flywheel is released to spin in the opposite direction. The rotational kinetic energy is converted to electricity by a motor. Flywheels are deployed in various mechanical applications.
What Are the Alternatives to Mains Power?
Installing an alternative energy storage system is the only way to ensure that you have power when the mains grid suffers an outage. There are two viable alternatives for homes in southeast Asia:
Solar Energy Systems
There is plenty of sunshine in south east Asia all-year round. This makes solar power a very attractive alternative as an alternative to the mains grid. Solar photovoltaic cells convert sunshine into electricity. This electricity can be used directly or stored for later.
Solar panels are available in different capacities. Domestic solar panels range from 250 to 400 watts output per hour. Solar panels of today are more affordable, smaller and more efficient. A solar panel’s efficiency is the ability of its photovoltaic cells to convert sunshine into electricity.
You can install a solar system alongside the conventional mains electricity. But for the solar system to act as a viable fallback energy system, you need an energy storage solution. Batteries are used to store the energy from the solar power system.
When there is an outage, the energy is drawn from batteries, and plugged into the mains connection using an inverter. You need an inverter because the power from the batteries is in direct current (DC), while the conventional mains connection uses power in Alternating Current (AC). Your home appliances use AC current.
To install a solar energy system, you need:
- Solar panels
- Onboard sensors
- Monitoring system
- Control panel
What is the Appropriate Solar Panel Size?
Domestic solar panels range in power output from 1 kW to 4 kW. A 4 kW will power all the appliances in a house: TV, washing machine, fridge, cooker and any other common household item. You can estimate the solar panel you need by looking at your current electricity consumption. Take the total power consumption, then divide by the bill’s period, and finally divide by the number of sunshine hours your area gets in a day.
Wind Energy System
Wind energy systems have also become small enough to install in homes. Enovatek wind generator turbines are small enough to install on a roof or a balcony. The electricity they generate can be stored in batteries for use when the mains suffer an outage. Wind turbines work well where they are exposed to the wind on high exposed buildings or areas. This system can be installed alongside a solar power system, and also the mains connection.
What are the Advantages of Batteries as Energy Storage Solutions?
Batteries are the most popular energy storage solution because they are very easy to install. They work very well with solar energy storage systems because they come in varying sizes and capacities. Enovatek batteries, for example, come in 12-, 24-, and 48-volt capacities.
Solar systems are one-off costs. There are no other equipment costs to incur after you purchase the initial equipment. The initial costs break even, and after that the solar power system operates without costs for the rest of its lifetime.
Solar power systems can be installed even in the remotest places. These energy storage systems are very popular in hard-to-reach places. They are relatively maintenance free, unlike fuel generators.
Batteries and Inverters as Part of Power Outage Solutions
Whether you install a solar or a wind energy system, you will need to store the excess energy. Batteries are the most convenient solutions. You can have them in capacities corresponding to your power needs.
Batteries cannot supply power to a mains connection without inverters. The two go hand in hand. An inverter must also correspond to the power output of a battery. Your energy storage system installer can capably advise you on which inverter/battery pairing works best for your needs. Batteries also come in different types:
Li-ion or simply lithium batteries are the most widely used type of batteries. They are compact, which makes them easy to install. They have a high draw efficiency and charge quickly.
This is an older battery technology. Lead batteries are reliable and ideal for large capacity storage needs. But they are heavy and the lead degrades faster than other electrolytes. However, they are cheaper than other battery types.
Nickel- Cadmium batteries
These batteries are more compact than lead batteries but larger than Li-ion batteries. They offer reliability and have a long life.
You can avoid the losses and inconveniences of power outages by installing a fallback solar energy storage system, coupled with batteries for storing excess energy. This setup can reduce your reliance on the mains grid.
You can also draw an added advantage by switching to solar power during the day when sunshine is in plenty and solar power generation is at its peak. After sunset, the batteries provide power. Only after the batteries are drained, will you switch to the mains electricity. You will save a big portion of your electricity bill. Install a solar power system today and see fewer disruptions in your home or workplace.