Solar batteries are a game changer for both residential and commercial solar systems. Previous decade people used to complain about solar energy being inefficient, but with new advances in technology the solar panels are becoming more and more efficient and customer friendly. Solar batteries is such an invention. Here is everything you need to know about solar batteries.
What Is A Solar Battery?
Solar batteries are nothing but batteries charged with energy by solar panels. Battery storage is the next big thing in the renewable sector. Solar panels were a disruptive technology for many utilities, now with solar batteries and inverters, solar energy is on the verge of another disruption.
Solar batteries provide many benefits to solar panel owners including savings and disaster resiliency. If your current electric utility has energy-per-unit rate hour, having additional solar energy stored could ease your stress of paying electricity bill. Areas, with zero net-metering, solar batteries could save a lot of money.
Aside from saving money, solar batteries makes you independent from electrical utilities. If for any unfortunate reason your home suffers a serious blackout, you can power your home for a long period of time using the electricity stored in solar batteries. The traditional method of powering your home is using a diesel generator. Which is not cost-friendly and emits green-house gases.
Guide To Choose Batteries For Your Solar Panels
If you are considering installing a solar battery in your current solar PV system, this guide will help you with all the knowledge necessary in your decision making process.
Can You Go Off-Grid With Solar Batteries?
Sorry to burst your bubble, but installing a solar panel will not make you completely independent. Most solar systems cannot produce energy constantly and hence cannot be home’s only power source. Which is why majority of homeowners maintain a connection with their utility company.
A typical solar panel system includes solar panels, inverter, equipments to mount your solar panels and a performance monitoring system. The solar panel receives direct sunlight from the sun and convert that light into electricity. This electricity is then transferred to the inverter, which then converts it into a form that you use to power your home appliances.
The majority of solar panels are connected to a power grid. When your solar panels are producing more energy than you need to utilize, the excess energy is fed back into the power grid. Conversely, when your solar panel system generates electricity less than the required amount the excess electricity is derived from the power grid. This process is known as net metering.
With solar batteries it is possible for you to go completely off the grid. Residential scale solar batteries can store the excess energy stored in the day light to power your house at night. This can be beneficial in areas where net metering system is not available or the utility company doesn’t have a good policy to harness the energy.
The trickier position is to store excess energy in summer when the electricity generation is maximum and using the energy in winter when the energy production is at the lowest. But with current scenario, story excessive energy in winter is not cost-effective since you need to store a large amount of energy to eliminate the distribution and storage losses.
How Does Solar Batteries Store The Solar energy?
A typical solar battery work by converting the DC produced by the solar panels into AC to later use it for your domesticated purposes. In Some cases, the solar batteries have their own inverter which converts the DC into AC. The higher your battery capacity, the more energy it can store.
When you plan to install a solar battery in your solar PV system, you can store the excess energy produced to store in your solar batteries instead of sending it to the power grid. If your solar panels are producing more energy, the excess energy is stored in the batteries and when you solar panels are producing less energy, the energy is drawn from the battery. If you battery gets full only then the energy is transferred to the external power grid. And it is only after your battery is fully depleted that you will draw energy from your batteries.
In practical terms, the solar batteries will help your house be independent from the external utilities.
When You Should Install A solar Battery
Solar energy has been around for decades, but solar batteries is relatively new in the market. While solar batteries can offer a significant amount of advantages to the homeowner, the overall savings depends on various factors. You need to carefully evaluate these options before you take any further step.
With the typical solar battery and net metering option, solar battery won’t save you any additional money since the financial plans for net metering is similar to solar batteries.
But some utilities has some special tariffs and cost cutting when it comes to solar batteries. If your net metering has any of these policies, energy storage could help you save more money with solar panels.
How Time-of-Use electricity rates affect your solar financing plans?
Many countries have flexible rates when it comes to charge for electricity. If you have TOU rates, the per-KWh that you pay for electricity changes according to the time of the day. Electricity will cost more during peak hours, since then the demands are high. The electricity will cost less, when the demands are low. If you install a solar battery, you can use your excess energy during peak hours when the costs are high and the electricity from your utility company when the costs are low.
How demand charges affect your solar financing Plans?
Some utility companies have demand charges for residential customers, which depends on the amount of energy you consume. The fee might depend on the amount of energy you consume during peak hours. It may also depend on the total amount of energy you consume in a month. If your utilities collects the demand charges, you can save this money by utilizing your energy stored in solar batteries.
How net-metering credits affect your solar financial plans?
In areas with true net-metering, the credits received for your excess electricity is equal to the credits you pay for consuming that electricity. But in many cases, the credits you receive while feeding the excess electricity is less than the credits you pay for utilizing that energy. In such cases, having a solar battery will make economic sense, since you can utilize the energy produced to its maximum potential.
How To Evaluate Your Solar Storage Options?
If you plan to opt for solar storage batteries, you need to evaluate some specification before you choose the right battery gaining the maximum benefit.
As you come across solar storage options, you will come across many technical specification. Here we lay down the most important parameters you need to consider while evaluating your options.
Capacity and Power:
Capacity is the total amount of solar energy your battery can store. It is measured in kilowatt-hour. Most solar batteries are stackable, meaning that you can add extra batteries to increase the capacity.
While capacity may tell you the amount of energy stored, it doesn’t give you the full picture. To tell you how a battery may perform, you need to know its power output. Power output is nothing but the amount of energy it can deliver per hour. Batteries with high capacity and low power will be able to run only smaller appliances but for a longer period of time. A battery with small capacity and higher power output will be able to run all your appliances but for a shorter period of time.
The depth of discharge depends on the amount of energy from the battery that has been utilized. For most batteries the DoD is 90%. It means you shouldn’t use more than 90% of the battery before recharging it. Higher DoD means you can utilize more of your battery capacity.
Efficiency is the percentage of energy that can be used out of the total energy saved. Having a high efficiency means you will be able to utilize maximum benefit out of your battery.
Battery Life and Warranty:
Your battery will follow a cycle daily. That is you charge your battery each day and it drains daily. The ability of your battery to hold charges will deplete the more you use it.
Your battery manufacturer will guarantee you a certain number of cycles of useful lives. The storage capacity will decrease naturally, most manufacturers will guarantee that your battery will hold a certain number of charges over the course of the warranty.
Solar Battery Lifespan:
The general usage for a solar battery lifespan is around 5 to 15 years. The typical lifespan of your solar panel system us around 25 years. Hence if you install a oalr battery today, you are likely to change the battery again before the warranty of your solar panel expires. But with current technologies, it is expected that solar batteries will follow suit as the energy storage solutions grows.
Whether you are trying to go greener or save money, solar batteries will definitely help you fulfill both the goals. Solar systems are popping at an unprecedented rate, with solar battery technology in place, this renewable form can really become invincible.