All in One Solar Battery System
Solar batteries are an excellent addition to a solar energy system. They provide backup power during outages and help homeowners limit utility bills by avoiding peak demand rates.
They’re an ideal solution for areas with unreliable grids and for those wanting to reduce their carbon footprint. They also maximize solar panel savings in areas without full-retail net metering.
The solar panels that are part of your all-in-one battery system generate energy from sunlight. The amount of power they produce depends on the quality of the solar modules, how clean the module is (airborne dust can significantly reduce energy production), and the angle of incidence. Most solar modules use MPPT (maximum power point tracking) to ensure the most sunlight is absorbed at any given time.
The batteries that are part of your all-in-one solar battery system provide backup power in the event of a grid outage. They are also used to offset high utility rates during peak demand by sending electricity back to the grid in exchange for credits or rebates. This practice is known as “peak shaving.”
Battery systems can be DC-coupled or AC-coupled. If you choose an AC-coupled system, the solar battery uses an inverter to convert the DC electricity from your panels into AC for everyday use. When it’s time to charge the solar battery, that inverter will convert the AC electricity back into DC for storage in the battery.
It’s best to install your solar battery at the same time as you install your solar panels. That way, you can take advantage of any labor costs related to both systems at once, as well as any incentives and permits that may be available for both the solar panel and the battery.
The battery stores energy from solar panels as chemical power during the day and releases it at night and during power outages to keep your home’s appliances and fixtures running. Most all-in-one solar battery systems utilize lithium batteries, which offer a better balance of cost and energy density (i.e. more capacity per weight than lead-acid) compared to other options such as nickel-cadmium and sodium nickel chloride.
The capacity of a battery is also impacted by its charge and discharge efficiency, which determines how quickly and how deeply it can be recharged. Lithium batteries, in particular, are characterized by their high charge and discharge efficiencies which extend their lifespans when compared to lead-acid alternatives.
There are two types of lithium battery chemistries used for solar storage: NMC, or nickel-magnesium-cobalt, and LFP, or lithium-iron-phosphate. Both are well-established and proven for use with rooftop solar systems. NMC batteries are a little less expensive, but they are more sensitive to heat and have lower cycle life. all in one solar battery system LFP batteries are more expensive, but they have a higher cycle life and require less maintenance.
Whether you’re installing an all-in-one solar battery system with a new solar system or adding it to your existing one, the battery needs to be connected to a charge controller. A charge controller ensures that the battery isn’t overcharged, which can shorten its lifespan. Charge controllers come in two different varieties: MPPT and PWM. MPPT chargers are more efficient than PWM because they track the maximum power point of the solar panel, unlike PWM controllers that are limited to only a small portion of its input voltage range.
The charger that is part of an all in one solar battery system limits the rate at which current flows to the batteries and ensures that the battery bank doesn’t overcharge. The charger is also referred to as a charge controller or battery regulator and is crucial for the performance and longevity of your solar battery system.
Lithium batteries are ideal for home solar battery systems because they are more energy-efficient and have a higher Depth of Discharge than lead-acid batteries. They also require less maintenance and don’t lose as much capacity when idle. For commercial applications like telecommunications, electric power, and computer uninterruptible power supply facilities, larger lithium-ion batteries are often installed in battery rooms for long-term use.
There are two main types of solar charge controllers, MPPT and PWM. MPPTs are more efficient because they can track the maximum point of the voltage coming from the solar panels and convert it to the battery at a lower current than a PWM controller can.
The inverter is the brains of your solar battery system. It performs several functions, including converting DC current into AC power for your appliances. It can also monitor the system and provide a portal for communication with computer networks. Solar-plus-battery systems rely on advanced inverters to operate without support from the grid during outages.
Solar batteries create DC electricity, but that’s not the kind of current used by most household devices. You need an inverter to convert that energy into the alternating current (AC) used by most electrical devices.
Inverters use filters and other electronics to transform the varying DC voltage created by the all in one solar battery system battery bank into a clean, repeating AC signal. That pattern is often called a “sine wave” and it’s what you get from your utility company or most generators.
One type of inverter – the MPPT or Maximum Power Point Tracking inverter – maximizes the voltage from the solar panels and transfers it to the battery with minimal loss. Another, the PWM or Pulse Width Modulation inverter – uses pulses to control how fast the current flows into the battery.
Solar battery chargers limit how fast energy is sent to the battery, which helps to prevent overcharging and extends the lifespan of your storage system. Some inverters include these chargers, and others are separate. The best charge controllers are able to measure the capacity of the batteries they’re managing and adjust how much energy is being fed into them accordingly.