Solar Batteries: Are they helping Save the Environment?
Solar batteries have become the latest trend in the solar market to save the environment, next to Solar panels. Using a battery to lock the extra solar energy generated during the day to use at night makes solar batteries crucial in enabling households to be self-reliant for their energy needs.
Batteries also save money on energy bills while contributing to the most impactful aspect of reducing the carbon footprint. While the advantages are many, it is debatable whether solar batteries contribute to saving our environment or whether they secretly impact otherwise.
Is it safe to assume that installing a solar system coupled with solar batteries results in zero carbon emission, or is there a dark side to it? Well, not entirely!
Are Batteries a Threat to the Environment?
Undoubtedly, solar batteries have proved to be saviors for solar panel owners to self-consume the excess energy generated from their solar panels; and hence, contribute to the usage of clean, green energy. However, it will be an interesting revelation to understand that the battery's journey – from its initial stage till it proved beneficial to the consumer and the environment --- speaks of a disparate story.
Far from the environment-friendly ideology that batteries are known for, battery manufacturing needs the mining of lithium, a rare mineral, and other minerals such as cobalt and nickel. Specifically, Lithium-ion batteries are the most sought-after energy source for clean green technologies because they can store more energy within small spaces and can function well even after thousands of recharge cycles.
However, minerals used to manufacture batteries are labor-intensive to extract and require chemicals and a lot of water (especially in water scare locations) during the mining process. They also contaminate water and soil with toxic mining waste.
What is shocking is that the mining process needs a humungous amount of energy which is again sourced from conventional energy generated from burning carbon-emitting fossil fuels. For instance, every tonne of lithium extracted from hard-rock mines emits 15 tonnes CO2 into the environment.
The mining process and even the battery manufacturing process contributes to carbon emissions. For example, high temperature between 800 – 1000 degrees Celsius is required to synthesize materials used during battery production. Such high temperatures are obtained by burning fossil fuels, which add to the CO2 emission.
Finally, what about battery recycling? Though batteries bring fortune to owners during their lifecycle, what happens when a battery stops functioning? Does it end up in a landfill, or is it properly recycled? The answer to this question decides whether the batter has served its purpose of reducing CO2 footprint because if not appropriately disposed of, the harms outweigh the advantages.
Can We Offset the Carbon Footprint?
The question is complicated because batteries are used everywhere, not just in solar. Whatever the application is, the battery's contribution to carbon emission cannot be ignored; likewise, the battery's benefits must also be considered.
However, to optimize the performance of your solar panels, start by choosing Solar professionals. They are experts who understand your requirements well and recommend products that fit your need. They also carry out effective installations to catch sunlight at the best possible angles and avoid shady patches, thus, improving the energy output from the panels.
So, what do you think about using batteries? Are they a boon in the disguise of causing environmental harm or a commodity that warrants shared responsibility between the consumers and the manufacturers?