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Can I Add Batteries To My Solar System?

For years, excess energy has been stored in solar systems and batteries.  However, only a small number of, mostly of off-grid solar systems made sense until recently because of its high cost and low efficiency.  Nevertheless, with battery prices constantly decreasing and batteries themselves becoming increasingly powerful, many grid-conveyed solar systems also become a viable option. Batteries might not be important if you built your system a few years ago.  Nonetheless, as the market changes and the technology improves, you may want to benefit from energy storage. 

When you ask whether you can or cannot mount your new solar panel with batteries, the answer is yes! Solar electricity can be incorporated with the current solar panel in many ways. However, the difficulty level depends on whether your system is designed with the intent to do that or not, in many cases it is possible to add a battery to the existing grid-tied solar system. Having a battery installed in your new solar cell is here. The best case scenario is that you knew that, when your system is installed, you would eventually want to install batteries.  Perhaps you waited for prices to drop or wanted to keep up the initial investment as low as possible during installation. You have planned for the future in any way. When it makes financial sense for you, your inverter is ready to install a charger. This is the cheapest and easiest option and requires fewer work and materials than the other two. 

There are two major ways to incorporate your battery into your network if you did not mount a storage-ready system–DC coupled and AC coupled.

DC Coupled System

Your inverter will be replaced by a DC Coupled System which works with a solar battery.  These are referred to as hybrid inverters. Battery charging uses DC power generated by your solar panels. Power is transmitted from there through the hybrid inverter, which converted the power into AC input.  The AC electricity can be used at home or at the company or in the grid. When you take this route, during the conversion process, your device wastes less of the energy your panels generate. This is because power only travels from DC to AC while all energy collected within the battery goes from AC to DC (to charge the battery) and back to AC in the AC Coupling Unit (explained next).  Nonetheless, the cost of the inverter and the more complex research would likely cost this alternative more.

When you have a solar system for some duration and your inverter is nearing the end of its lifetime, DC Coupling might be a perfect choice for you. The most string inverters last 15 years so you could use a battery to replace your inverter a bit earlier.


AC Coupled System

In addition to the second inverter and the “loading inverter” that charges the battery, the next device, an AC Coupled Unit, uses the standard inverter.  The DC electricity generated by the panels is turned into AC power to the inverter as always. If you use power, your generator, when you generate more energy than you use, or your battery, the inverter takes it to the grid from here. 

Installing AC Coupling is typically easier and offers standardization flexibility, works with a number of inverters and is probably a cheaper option.  It’s a little less effective, though. Electricity generated on the grid and used at home is AC, but DC electricity can be contained in the batteries. To order to supply electricity, the battery must then be changed to AC power in your home or business.  This additional step leads to a lack of more energy than DC linking.


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