Does solar energy need to be used right away?
Yes. Storing electrical energy in large scale is not possible or practical with present technology.
There are some methods where we can use solar energy to pump back water to dam and can be used at peak load situations..THis is called pumped storage,small amounts of power can be stored in batteries after converting to DC,
No solar energy can be stored and used in various manners later.
Plants are masters of the storing of solar energy. The plants solar energy to fuel photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is used to produce glucose an energy chemical that plants store and use. Glucose can be used in respiration to produce ATP another energy chemical that is basically stored solar energy. e
Solar energy can be used to heat water. The heated water stores the solar energy. The stored solar energy in the heated water can be used at a later time.
Solar energy can be power batteries. Tessela has developed batteries that can collect solar energy and store the solar energy as chemical energy that can be used later.
Solar energy creates winds that have powered wind mills for centuries. The windmills were used to raise water into water tanks. The water in the tanks can be released using gravity at a later time.
Solar energy can be stored in several ways.