The idea of having an energy-independent home is quite enticing for any homeowner. It comes with a lot of advantages, the main one being the fact that you won’t be affected by utility rate fluctuations. Also, you’ll be promoting the ‘green energy’ campaign, which is currently being recommended as a way of preserving the environment. Fortunately, it’s an attainable dream given the rapid advancement in the world of energy storage. All you need is a set of solar panels or a solar energy provider, and a battery backup to satisfy your needs.
Solar batteries are an integral part of this setup since they ensure a continuous supply of power if the grid goes down. This article will break down the seemingly complex operation of these storage devices into a few easy-to-understand steps. The discussion will revolve around a battery that’s already paired with a solar system rather than a standalone solar battery storage.
Feeding the Solar Energy
When sunlight rays hit the panels, the visible light is converted to electrical energy. The electrical current flows into the battery and is stored as DC electricity. It’s worth noting that there are two types of solar batteries: AC-coupled and DC-coupled. The latter has a built-in inverter that can convert the electricity current to DC or AC. As such, the DC solar electricity will flow from the panels to an external power inverter, which will convert it to AC energy that can either be used by your home appliances or stored in the AC battery. What the built-in inverter will do in this case is convert the AC electricity back to DC for storage.
As for a DC-coupled system, the battery doesn’t have a built-in inverter. As such, the DC electricity from the solar panels flows to the battery via a charge controller. Unlike in an AC setup, the power inverter in this system is only connected to your home’s wiring. As such, electricity from the solar panels or your storage battery is converted from DC to AC before flowing to your home appliances. What determines how much energy is stored in the battery? Read on to find out more.
The Charging Process
As power flows from the solar panels, your home’s electricity setup will take precedence. Therefore, electricity directly feeds your appliances, like refrigerators, TVs, and lights. Often, this energy from solar panels can be more than what you need. For instance, on a hot afternoon, a lot of power is produced, yet your home isn’t using much of it. In such a scenario, net metering occurs, wherein the extra energy flows back to the grid. However, you can use this overflow to charge up your batteries.
The amount of electricity stored in the battery depends on how fast it charges up. If, for example, your home doesn’t use up too much power, then the charging process will be quick. Also, if you’re connected to huge panels, then a lot of electric energy will flow to your home, which means the batteries will charge up a lot faster. Once your battery is full, the charge controller will prevent it from overcharging.
Why Do You Need A Solar Battery?
1. To shield you from power outages
If you’re connected to a grid, there’ll always be a few moments when the transmission system malfunctions or is shut down for maintenance. As soon as this happens, the system will isolate your home from the grid and activate the backup source. In this case, the battery will operate like a backup generator.
2. Time-of-use rate plans
On these plans, you’ll be charged according to the amount of electricity you use, as well as the time during which you use it. TOU states that the power drawn from the grid at night is more valuable than the extra energy produced during the day. As such, by storing the extra energy and using it at night, you’ll reduce the overall cost of electricity in your home.
With the world embracing ‘green energy,’ solar panels are gradually replacing the traditional sources of electricity. Solar batteries play a crucial role in ensuring that you have a reliable power supply in your home. AC-couple storage batteries have a built-in inverter, which converts the electric current to DC or AC, depending on the direction. On the other hand, a DC-couple battery doesn’t have this feature. Both batteries, however, store electric energy in DC regardless of the setup. The speed at which electricity is stored in the batteries depends on the size of the panels and the amount used by your home appliances.