Solar Battery Storage Setups

Retrofit

Retrofit Setup

A grid-connected solar power system that does not have a hybrid inverter still has the ability to retro-fit battery storage. To do this it will require adding a battery inverter, a metering unit and the battery to the solar power system.

A battery inverter is different from a solar inverter which your system will already have. A solar inverter will only convert DC power from the panels into AC power for your home. Battery inverters can convert DC power into AC and vice versa, which allows the battery to be charged by the excess energy the solar system has generated and discharge to power a household when the sun is not out.

 

Hybrid Or Battery Ready System

Hybrid Setup

A solar power system with a hybrid inverter is also known as a battery ready system. This is because a  hybrid inverter is an all-in-one inverter (solar and battery) having the ability to add battery storage without any other additional components. 

Whilst hybrid inverters are pricier than the standard solar inverter, opting for a hybrid can save you money long term if you’re planning to add a battery.

 

 

Off-grid / Standalone System

Standalone/Off-Grid System

An Off-Grid Solar System is also called a ‘stand-alone’ system. This solar power system is not connected to the grid and requires a battery system. Off-Grid solar power systems are rare and usually only found in rural areas that have difficulties connecting to the grid.

These systems must be designed to provide enough energy and storage to meet the needs of the home or property day and night with no assistance from the grid. A backup generator can be put in place in case the solar power system is not generating enough electricity due to weather conditions at certain times of the year.

Important note: For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost-effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Read about going off-grid here.

 

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.
 

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