December 2, 2020

Ways to Store Solar Energy at Festivals Part 2

Ways to Store Solar Energy at Festivals Part 2

Lithium Ion Batteries

This is the first thing that springs to mind when we think of energy storage. Let’s face it – we all own one (or several, actually), and they tend to serve us well. But how can you power a festival with a battery? Simple – bring more battery. If your battery is not enough, bring even more battery. That is the philosophy with every battery-powered device for the moment. Batteries are the simplest (technically) ways of storing solar energy. Every year the energy density of batteries is rising, which means that more battery doesn’t necessarily mean more space. Just think of your phone or your laptop. This innovation has translated to large-scale industrial batteries as well.

Most transportation for goods is done in a standardised fashion – on a set shape of container that can be loaded both on vessels, as well as regular long-haul trucks. Most of the gear for the festival is likely to be transported in exactly that fashion. There are already companies out there that have realized that making mobile battery storage is most feasible when you put those batteries in a container. Containerised lithium ion batteries are actually plenty available. The beauty of them is that they come in all sizes that shipping containers come in – 8ft, 10tf, 20ft and 40ft. If you already know the average consumption of the event, and the average generated energy of your solar power setup, you can see how much power storage you’ll need and purchase the according containerised battery. The advantage of this solution is that it is already adapted to the charge and discharge scenarios your solar-powered festival represents. It will come fully equipped with everything you need in terms of power management equipment. It will come with a control panel and cooling system, so you can operate it as manually or as automatically as you want. Best of all, it solves the intermittence problem of solar power generation.

If only solar panels are used to feed energy to your event infrastructure, then that energy will still be intermittent. Meaning that not only will it not be able to adapt to the fluctuations in demand, it will generate only as much power as the sunlight will allow. With battery storage, you will be able to capture and use energy at every minute of the sun being out. So even at the crack of dawn, when most event-goers are still sleeping in their tents, you are already charging up on solar for what you have planned for later in the day. And the energy profile will be similar to that of your average power outlet because the system will automatically regulate discharge based on load. The disadvantage of batteries is that the discharge rate is limited, since high charge or discharge rate puts significant strain on the battery, increasing the need for cooling, decreasing efficiency, and decreasing the length of useful life. Also, weight must be considered when transporting, as it might add to the cost of shipping if you are planning to travel overseas with it.