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Solar Power Storage

solar panel energy Storage Device

The importance of a high dielectric constant in solid-state single layer energy storage devices

Solar panel energy collection

is an established technology. However, although prices have fallen hugely over the last decade, there are several challenges impeding its growth. One of these is the grid infrastructure which is ill-equipped to deal with the variability of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy, and the other is storage. While several storage solutions exist, such as batteries, electrolytic capacitors, and mechanical storage systems, they all have deficiencies.

Here we will look at how a recent development in solid state single layer energy storage devices (SSESD) offers a solution. The SSESD incorporates a high permittivity dielectric with a dielectric constant in the order of 16 million.

SSESD for solar panel energy collection

As we have shown, SSESD with high dielectric constants offers many advantages over conventional ultracapacitors. They offer better power densities, higher charge rates, and have a potential cost advantage. Integration with solar panels is easy and provides an immediate solution to the intermittency of solar energy even at the panel level.

Challenges facing solar power generation

In large parts of the world, solar power can make a large contribution to the grid, but significant  problems remain. Solar power is intermittent; when the sun shines solar power can contribute to the grid, but when a cloud appears that contribution is reduced substantially. This on/off effect can lead to grid instability and, to overcome this, alternative power sources are often required to kick in when solar power levels fall.

To avoid this some form of energy storage is required to even out the supply. Various solutions are possible including lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries, flywheels, electrolytic capacitors, and ultracapacitors. However, specific energy considerations suggest that only lithium-ion batteries, flywheels and ultracapacitors are realistic options.

Another consideration is lifetime. At least 10,000 cycles plus and a minimum lifetime of 10 years is a typical requirement. This eliminates lithium-ion batteries leaving just flywheels and ultracapacitors. A problem with flywheels is they must be built underground and require substantial investment, while ultracapacitors are a far simpler solution. Additionally, ultracapacitors have no moving parts and require very little maintenance.

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