EME 812
Utility Solar Power and Concentration




This lesson will overview energy storage options for large-scale solar facilities. Clearly, energy demand rarely coincides with energy generation. Being bound to daily solar activity cycle at a certain locale, solar energy conversion systems are intermittent by nature, therefore, using energy at nighttime requires technologies to store energy on site. Photovoltaic systems, which convert natural solar resource into electric power, require means for electrical energy storage, while CSP systems may be better off storing thermal energy. The thermal storage principles and technology were discussed in the previous lesson, and Lesson 9 is primarily concerned with the technologies used to store electric power. For storage, electrical energy is often converted to other kinds of energy; for instance, potential mechanical, kinetic mechanical or chemical energy, which would be stored as fuel. Energy storage research has been accelerated over the recent years to address the need for compact and economically efficient storage technologies and is currently define the rate implementation of the commercial renewable energy systems. This lesson readings provide an overview and resources for learning the storage technology principles, with understanding that some of those options are much more advanced and rapidly evolving than others.  

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  1. explain the technical principles of energy storage used in utility-scale solar plants;
  2. understand the performance metrics for storage systems;
  3. articulate technological, environmental, and economic cons and pros of energy storage implementation.


Book Chapter:  Foster, A., Chassemi, M., and Cota, A., Solar Energy: Renewable Energy and the Environment. CRC Press, 2010. Chapter 11. Energy Storage, pp. 265-293.

Book chapter: Butler, P.S., Eidler, P.A., Grimes, P.G., Klassen, S.E., and Miles, R.C., Zinc/Bromine Batteries, in Advanced Battery Systems, pp. 37.1-37.15. Sandia National Laboratories, 2000.

Web article: Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries, Energy Storage Association (ESA), 2015.

DOE Fact Sheet: Wang, E., Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries, U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Storage Program, 2012.

Review paper: Blanc, C. and Rufer, A., Understanding the Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries, in Paths to Sustainable Energy, Dr Artie Ng (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-401-6.

Web article: LaMonica, M., Compressed Air Energy Storage Makes a Comeback, IEEE Spectrum, 2013.

Book Chapter: Grimes, C., Varqhese, O.K., Ranjan, S., Light Water Hydrogen. The Solar Generation of Hydrogen by Water Photoelectrolysis, Section 2.2 Hydrogen Generation by Water Splitting. pp. 35-52.