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Solar energy - why don't we use more of it?

Published at 12. 09. 2019 | Written by Eva Almasiova

The whole world is worried about global warming caused by increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO₂) in the atmosphere. Nevertheless, the share of renewable resources in energy production is growing very slowly.

The whole world is worried about global warming caused by increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO₂) in the atmosphere. Nevertheless, the share of renewable resources in energy production is growing very slowly.

The spread of usage of renewables is facing problems such as low financial returns or spatial and temporal incompatibility between the demand and the supply. In this article, we will explain the temporal incompatibility with the help of a graph in the shape of a duck - the Duck curve.

Renewable but unpredictable

In recent years, we have witnessed an increase in discussions about the necessity of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Not only activists, such as Greta Thunberg with her climate strikes, have played a part to help in this matter. More and more states are committing to dramatic emission reduction as well.

In order to release less CO₂ into the atmosphere, we need to produce more energy from renewable sources such as sunlight, wind or water. However, their greatest disadvantage is the unpredictability of their energy output, as it is highly dependant on the weather conditions. Making energy production plans while relying on these sources is very difficult, as they tend to be quite unreliable. That definitely doesn't mean we should give up on them as there are ways to minimize and possibly eliminate those deficiencies altogether.

The solar energy in practice

Imagine a beautiful sunny morning. You and your children are waking up. You make your morning coffee and turn on the TV as a background while preparing a toast for breakfast. You jump in a nice hot shower, all before leaving for work. It's 8:00 am and your solar panel is just starting to produce energy, although your home has just experienced one of the two peaks of its daily energy consumption. At noon it's exactly the opposite. The panel works at full potential, but since you are not at home, your energy consumption is minimal. When you come back home in the evening and turn on the various electrical appliances again, the sun slowly sets and the panel stops producing energy.

This example illustrates the disharmony of solar energy production and consumption. If we tried to project it into a graph, we would get a curve resembling a duck.

How to use 100% of solar energy?

The excess energy can usually be sold to the grid. However, this depends on the laws and regulations of each country. Moreover, its purchasing price tends to be very low, especially when compared to the price of energy bought at a time of the day when the sun is not shining anymore. The ever-increasing amount of energy from the sun is a thorn in the side for operators who supervise the electrical network. They have to ensure the network's stability, without which, as we mentioned in the previous blog, blackouts would occur.

The most effective solution would be to store this energy and relocate it when we are able to utilize it or sell it to the grid, especially at times like the evening demand peak. Energy storage in the form of a battery offers such a possibility. Utilization of the stored energy and its eventual sale at the time of highest purchasing price can significantly reduce your electricity bill. The money saved this way will quickly pay back the investments put into the battery and solar panel.

What if the battery is already charged at noon and part of the energy from the solar panel is not utilized efficiently because it's not worth selling it to the grid? There is a solution even for this situation. Imagine you can sell or donate the stored energy to another user of your choice. For example, it could be the school your children go to. This would reduce the school’s energy costs and they could invest in a similar system in the future. The school would then share cheaper energy with you during weekends. Together, you can create a so-called energy community and achieve greater self-sufficiency and lower electricity bills by sharing the capacities of your batteries and renewable sources.

All you have to do is choose whom you want to give the energy to and how much of it, and the rest will be done by our software - brAIn. Or, you don't even have to move a single finger, our system is able to select the most cost-effective option by itself. Its decisions are based on a wide range of collected - as well as forecasted - point of delivery data. The point of delivery can be a household, as well as a commercial, industrial or public building. In addition, brAIn also receives complementary information such as weather forecasts, power grid status, plans from the electricity provider or utility company, and much more. Thanks to all of this, the system knows how much energy it can supply or, on the other hand, needs to get from the grid to provide you with the cheapest and most trouble-free electric energy supply.

The energy of the future

As Greta Thunberg said: “We need to act now!” And while the price of renewable energy is able to compete with fossil fuels almost everywhere in the world, the money still remains the main problem. The transition to sustainable and renewable energy production requires large initial investments, often with a return in the horizon of 10 or more years.

Thanks to falling battery prices and solutions such as one from FUERGY, this is also slowly but surely changing. It is the brAIn - an AI-powered software that brings higher added value to both the battery as well as to the renewable source, shortening the payback period to just a few years.

FUERGY Solution is, therefore, bridging the gap between ecological and economical. It is suitable for all who want to protect the environment, as well as for those whose main motivation is saving money.

On our blog, we’ll keep you posted about the numbers we’ve achieved in our real-life pilot testing. Subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of the page and don't miss any important FUERGY news.

We are living in the future of energy. Are you?

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