Solar Power. Does it store energy? I don’t really understand..?

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Question by markp9114: Solar Power. Does it store energy? I don’t really understand..?
so we have a bunch of garden accessories outside, and they only light up at night time. They have solar panels on them, so obviously they absorb light during the day right? But that also means that it must be stored for it to turn on at night.

So what if your house was solar powered? Wouldn’t the solar energy be stored also? Meaning it would only power your home at night and not the day?

I’m not sure if I understand how that works. The photovaltaic cells convert light into electricity, so wouldn’t that mean the garden fixtures would be on all day also?

Can you help? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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7 Responses to Solar Power. Does it store energy? I don’t really understand..?

  1. Those solar gadgets store electricity because they contain batteries, not because they have solar panels. The panels are merely a device that converts light into electricity, the panels themselves don’t store anything at all. Most solar-powered lights have a sensor (shielded so their own light can’t be seen by the sensor) in them, that only switches them on when it’s dark.

    April 16, 2014 at 5:51 pm

  2. dear friend some time not work ok means low sun time but all time hot water lights. avalible. why i am tell you. my home fixed solar water heater 5 years back very good working. my moms house fixed solar ups 3 housr coming power cutting time .

    April 16, 2014 at 6:01 pm

  3. As answered by the colleague, Solar panels produce energy, the batteries store it.
    what is usually done for outdoor lighting is that there is an integrated sensor that senses the available light, and automatically turns on the light when the value is low enough (usually turns on at 13 lux and off at 50). another way to do this is to set a programmable timer..
    anyway, in all cases the panels produce energy as long as the sun is shining, to keep this energy useful it is stored until you use it.
    in the case of the house, the energy is there for your use. the batteries are charged and you can use the energy anytime you want until it is all gone.
    at some places (especially europe) there is something called the feed in tariff, where you produce energy and feed the grid as long as you are not using it. you will get paid for the energy you supply the grid with. this way no need for batteries.
    So you can power your house fully from solar as long as the system installed is big enough to satisfy your energy demand.

    N a e
    April 16, 2014 at 6:03 pm

  4. At the base of the solar apparatus are a set of batteries that are charged through the solar panels and those batteries supply the power to the bulbs that lights up after sun set. Solar power is a great way to conserve energy and be eco friendly. Another way is to conserve water. Water and energy are closely linked. There are numerous simple and inexpensive things you can do to conserve water to read them visit

    BeWaterWise Rep
    April 16, 2014 at 6:13 pm

  5. Difdi explained the solar lights well

    For whole house photovoltaic, people in remote cabins do use batteries but as a practical matter, most homes with solar installed stay connected to the grid, driving the power meter backwards during the day, and letting it run forwards at night – no batteries involved.

    The (wonderfully entertaining) movie “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” unfortunately gave many people the wrong impression when Nemo says “the solar panels are fully charged..”

    April 16, 2014 at 6:48 pm

  6. There are 2 types of systems, obviously a garden light will need to store energy or it’s no use at night, so it has a battery that is charged during the day to light the bulbs at night. Some home solar systems have a battery bank, which charge during the day with whatever energy isn’t being used. These are generally used in homes that are off the grid or in remote locations. These are expensive and generally larger. You need to get a system large enough to provide all your electricity needs for the shortest day of the year, plus enough power and batteries to suit your needs for the longest nights of the year.

    The other type of system uses the same type of panels, but there are no batteries. These can be much smaller because you only need to offset part of your usage if you want. Homes with these systems are still tied to the grid and when they need more energy than they are producing or it is dark, the house just draws what it needs from the grid. Many utilities will buy back the excess energy, basically during the day the meter will run backwards and at night run forward, so with a large system you can actually get a credit on your utility bill.

    April 16, 2014 at 7:22 pm

  7. You have received a lot of good answers about how solar power works for a home system. Try checking out the referenced source for some videos showing you the process. After all a picture is worth a thousand words.

    April 16, 2014 at 7:31 pm

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