With solar energy expanding at such a rapid rate, storage technologies are one of the biggest hurdles for the industry. The need to store huge amounts of energy (MW and GW) is becoming such a major issue that countries like Germany are providing financial support for those firms working on new storage technologies.
Researchers at the US Department of Energy have design a low cost, long life battery that has the potential to revolutionize the industry.
Excerpt from Renewable Energy World...
Currently the electrical grid cannot tolerate large and sudden power fluctuations caused by wide swings in sunlight and wind. As solar and wind's combined contributions to an electrical grid approach 20 percent, energy storage systems must be available to smooth out the peaks and valleys of this "intermittent" power – storing excess energy and discharging when input drops.
Among the most promising batteries for intermittent grid storage today are "flow" batteries, because it's relatively simple to scale their tanks, pumps and pipes to the sizes needed to handle large capacities of energy. The new flow battery developed by Cui's group has a simplified, less expensive design that presents a potentially viable solution for large-scale production.
For the full article, please see renewable energy world.com