Maybe 1 + 1 can equal 3. At least with one energy match-up. Two North Carolina universities help show how.

Energy Consumers says that is good thinking, too, because energy companies and consumers need to put together power system in new ways.

Here’s the story. When a power system combines energy storage and solar power generation, the end result is greater than the sum of its parts in terms of the system’s ability to handle peak energy demand, says a news item from NC State.

The idea is to generate power with solar when the sun is out, and if the power is not immediately needed, store it for later. That takes care of a major issue with intermittent renewables – use the power or lose it. That means that the entire energy system benefits from more flexibility.

The research paper is, “The Symbiotic Relationship of Solar Power and Energy Storage in Providing Capacity Value.”

The researchers are from NC State and NC Central Universities.

“Electric utilities are tasked with ensuring they can reliably meet consumer energy demands,” says Joseph DeCarolis, co-author of a paper and a professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at NC State. “Quantifying the reliability benefits of different generation sources informs where investments will be made.” That from the news release from NC State.

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Feature image is a solar installation from NCSU Centennial Campus website