Solar panels are a good investment in sustainable energy and the environment. But the sun does not rise, then you must have an alternative. Why is this true, and could it be done differently?
It makes sense: you store that solar energy during the day and then use it at night. This is actually already possible. You can install a home battery that is charged by solar panels.
That’s not really smart at the moment, says architect Jan Roelof-Huving of Vereniging Eigen Huis. “Right now, you still have what’s called grids in the Netherlands. All the electricity you generate yourself is deducted from the total amount of energy you used that year in your energy bill. The netting scheme doesn’t refund.”
However, the intent will gradually abolish this network in the coming years. This feeding fee should be reduced step by step from 2025. When the netting arrangement ends, you will continue to receive compensation for the energy you save, but this will be less than your consumption costs. This rate varies depending on the power supply.
Completely practically impossible off the grid
So right now it doesn’t matter if you have a battery or if you have credit, except that battery costs more – thousands of euros – and burdens the environment with the necessary raw materials. This may change in the future, but until then it will not be possible to live primarily from your own solar energy.
“Even if you want to get rid of the public electricity grid completely, that is almost impossible. In the summer it is still possible: in the months of May, June and July, you generate about 13 percent of the total amount of electricity per month… that you get from your solar panels within a year At least if you can put enough solar panels on your roof. With about eight to ten panels, you can generate more than enough energy to power an average home in those months,” he said. But in December, it was only 2 percent.”
So you will have to install six times as many solar panels to be able to generate enough electricity for your daily use in December. In addition, electricity is usually used more in the winter months than in the summer months. In short, do you want Out of network coverage If you move into a house, the electricity will run out quickly in the winter.
Batteries cannot store enough
Can’t you store energy in the summer that you use in the winter? It turned out to be difficult.
A purely electric current cannot be stored for a longer period of time: you either have to use it immediately or convert it to something else, such as the chemical reactions in the battery. “You always need molecules,” Hofeng says. Molecules mean, for example, hydrogen gas or biogas as an alternative to natural gas.
To store that transformed energy, you need space. If you want to store all the energy needed for the winter months in a household battery, then this battery should be incredibly large. A good lithium-ion battery can store about 0.2 kilowatt-hours per kilogram: much less than the thousands of kilowatt-hours we use every year.
So alternatives are always necessary, Hofeng says. “Wind power is good energy, because it provides a constant amount of energy all year round. Although this is not possible at home: the market for small wind turbines is not yet developed, in fact there is no one.”
Hydrogen plants instead of natural gas
If we want to switch to sustainable energy on the entire power grid, we must also prepare for the moments when there is neither wind nor sun. “We’re already working on this, and we don’t necessarily have to keep the natural gas stations,” Hofeng says.
“Consider hydrogen power plants, for example. If there is a lot of solar and wind power to the grid, you can use it to split water into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis. You can store that hydrogen, which is a molecule that you can use again later. It can extract energy “.
Nuclear power then? Hofeng agrees, saying, “This is definitely an option.” “But then you have nuclear waste.”
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