Solar system batteries are the storehouse of excess power for solar systems. However, they had been quite expensive for the past few years which had rendered them useless for many users. However, recently the prices for these have come down thus making them more available and efficient to the users. Batteries are mostly used for off-grid solar systems but now with declining prices, they are being used for grid-tied systems as well. So, the answer to the question of whether batteries can be added to the solar system is “yes”. With the market opening up to inexpensive batteries, installing them in the existing solar system is becoming a viable option for many.
1. How do Solar Batteries Function?
There are many agencies that provide batteries at a low cost and the service also comes with installation facilities. But before you buy or install solar system batteries you require to know how these function. This will help you make an informed choice. The solar panels on your terrace convert the sun rays into DC electricity. This DC electricity is then again sent to the inverter which converts it into AC electricity. Usually, all of us use AC power in our homes, offices, and businesses. The energy produced by the solar panels is used to turn on appliances and other electrical devices. However, sometimes our system produces more energy than can be consumed by the appliances to function. That excess energy is absorbed by the solar system batteries when you install them thus saving it for usage in a later period.
2. Adding a Solar System Battery to the Existing Solar System
Under normal circumstances installing solar system batteries to your solar system is possible. However, the percentage of failure depends on whether the solar system was designed to accommodate batteries or not. Here are some ways to install a battery into your existing solar system.
- Storage-Ready Solar System – This is the best-case scenario in which you were already aware at some point you wanted to install solar system batteries and just waiting for the prices to drop so that it can be done. Some people also want to install it at a low price to limit the upfront cost. This is the cheapest option and also the easiest. The inverter is ready for the installation of batteries whenever the owner is ready. This saves labour and also money.
- DC Coupled System – In case you could not buy a storage-ready mechanism, you can opt for a DC-coupled system. In this system, the inverter needs to be replaced by one which functions with a battery and the entire solar system. Also known as hybrid inverters, these are charged by the energy produced by the solar system. The rest of the mechanism is the same as in the DC power gets converted into AC through the battery-installed inverter before it can be used for consumption at home or office. The advantage of this system is that the panel loses less energy during conversion. This is a simple process and thus costs a little more due to the intensive labour involved to install it. Also, the inverter is quite expensive. Nonetheless, this is a good choice because the inverter needs replacement in 15 years’ time so you can replace it with one that comes from a solar system battery installation facility.
- AC Coupled System – In this system, there are 2 inverters and the new one uses the existing one to charge the battery as it has stored energy from the panels. DC power from the panels gets converted to AC inside the inverter like always and is sent to the building to be used. However, in case you are not using electricity at that point, the power is sent back to the solar system batteries for storage or to the grid if the battery is already charged. This is a low-cost option because of the complication involved. Battery stores power in the form of DC which needs to be converted to AC again to be used for some purpose. This requires an additional step and also a loss of energy in the middle. However, it more than makes up for the complication by being flexible in installation. It can be installed anywhere and is also compatible with various kinds of inverters.
3. Installing Solar System Batteries- Is It Necessary?
Solar system batteries can be used as backup power providers when there is a power outage in your locality. This is one of the biggest advantages of using batteries in your solar system. There are other advantages to it also. Some utilities charge TOUs or charge time-use rates. These rates fluctuate according to users based on the time of the day. When the demand for electricity is higher the rates are more and vice versa. So, you can save on your bills by using the battery-stored power during the time when rates are high. Likewise, in offices, the electricity rates can be really high during their peak consumption. This can also be mitigated by drawing power from battery backup instead of normal electricity from the board.
Each one of us can easily benefit from installing solar system batteries in the existing solar system at our homes or offices. It is a cost-effective option and also eco-friendly. All of us are aware of the natural resource crisis that is bringing our planet to the brink of destruction. This can be avoided by doing our bit and this bit is beneficial to everybody.