Why sector coupling and power storage are like siblings
Power, heating & cooling, mobility/transport – these are the three main energy sectors. In the past, these sectors were considered to be independent. Over time they have started to become increasingly interconnected and to integrate. Experts have coined the phrase sector coupling for this integration process.
In sector coupling, power storage systems play an important role both for the private sector and for the industry. If self-generated solar power is stored, it is available for the "heat" and "mobility" sectors at all times. This applies to homeowners as well as medium-sized enterprises operating PV systems. Why?
Solar power is increasingly important for heat generation and projected to replace fossil fuels in the future. This can be best illustrated with the use case of a heat pump. A heat pump extracts heat from the environment and lifts its usable temperature level for use in the connected downstream heating systems. This process is very efficient. In energetically optimised buildings, a heat pump can produce several units of heat energy per unit of electricity it consumes in operation. The more of this electricity comes from renewable energies, preferably self-generated solar power, the better the life cycle assessment of the heating system.
Solar power storage units enable improved availability of solar power to operate the heat pump, including at nighttime and in the cold season, exactly then, when heating systems are running. "Power-to-heat" and solar power storage units are a natural fit.
The second major energy sector is mobility. The majority of the passenger car fleet will be electrically driven within the next 15 years at the latest. Electrical vehicles will only take advantage of zero CO2 emission when the electricity that powers them is from renewable sources. With a solar power storage unit, the in-house PV-system can provide climate-friendly "e-fuel".
Already, solar power storage units can be coupled with a wallbox. The Electric vehicle (EV) is charged with stored and self-generated electricity, the perfect cycle. Users avoid the expensive purchase of electricity for their EV and use excess solar power from their PV system for their own needs.
Conclusion: Solar power storage actively supports sector coupling
With sector coupling, the energy-intensive sectors "heating & cooling" and "mobility/transport" can further be decarbonised. Electricity from renewable energy is used to generate heat and to power vehicles. Solar power storage systems create synergy effects and contribute positively to sector coupling. These benefits are also available to private producers of solar power. Owners of a photovoltaic system will be able to generate electricity not only for their power needs but also for their mobility and heating – independent of weather and time of day.
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