Energy experts in Australia believe that the country is squandering away the abundant sunshine it receives each year due to lack of adequate infrastructure.

Australia boasts of plenty of efficient residential solar panel installations across suburbs, saving consumers money on future energy bills. However, these installations also cause large surges in supply during the day followed by dips of supply at night. This is not an ideal situation for the grid since it needs to maintain a steady smooth supply across a 24-hour period. Only improved battery technology allowing much greater storage of produced energy will allow energy to be supplied in a constant, steady stream.

Many energy companies are limiting the size of solar installations as there are already large daily surpluses in some areas. For example, in Western Australia installations above 30 KW/Hr are on a permanent hold right now. Without a move forward in battery technology and installation, solar is essentially throttled at current levels.

People are incentivised when installing solar power systems in homes; however, battery installation will need to be done on a much larger scale with very little incentive for households to contribute to it. The only reliable way to construct large cost-efficient energy storage is through large grid investment and that won’t happen until energy storage is workable in the first place.

Battery technology has not kept pace with the advances made in solar panels, which have led to decreased cost and increased efficiency. But things are looking up for this segment of the renewable energy industry with the global surge in solar and wind power bringing the issue of energy storage right to the top of the scientific agenda at research institutions the world over. The development of improved lithium batteries that utilise the structure of benign viruses to create more efficient energy storage for electric cars is a good start.

TCK Solar is a supplier of premium solar panels and solar power systems.