Table Of Contents
Solar Battery Systems
There is an increase in the interest people now have in energy storage technologies, and this is for obvious reasons. However, many of those who are holding off do not know how an energy storage system works. Some of those who have already purchased one do not fully understand how it works yet.
If you fall into either of these two categories, understanding how energy storage systems work alongside solar panel systems can assist you in making up your mind about this alternative source of electricity.
There are different components in an energy storage system, and apart from what you get to see physically, there is a technical side of things which is what makes the entire system work. This has a lot to do with what takes place in the battery and how it stores energy.
What Are Solar Batteries And What Do They Do?
A solar battery is part of the physical component of the system that is designed to store excess electrical energy that was generated using solar panels installed on the roof of your building.
The energy that is stored this way can be used to power appliances in your home or office during periods when your solar panels cannot generate enough electricity, such as at night, on cloudy days, or perhaps when there is a power outage.
Excess electricity generated from solar power is transferred to the grid where there is no battery storage. When this happens, it means you have generated power and provided it for other people's use.
The Science Behind Solar Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries remain the most popular type of solar battery that is available at this time, although there are copious types of batteries. It uses the same technology employed in smartphones as well as other high-tech batteries. Lithium-ion batteries work through a chemical reaction where energy is stored before it is converted to electrical power.
Lithium-ion batteries release free electrons during this reaction, which move from the anode, which is negatively charged, to the cathode, which is positively charged. The movement of these ions is supported by a lithium-salt electrolyte, a liquid that is put inside the battery to balance the reaction. It does this by providing the necessary positive ions.
With the movement of these free electrons, a current is created, which is needed by people for electricity. Electricity is drawn when the battery is put to use, causing lithium-ions to flow back through the electrolyte toward the positive electrode. Concurrently, electrons flow from the anode to the cathode through the outer circuit, supplying power to the device plugged into the power source.
A home solar battery storage works with multiple ion battery cells with high-tech electronics that control the safety and performance of the solar battery system. As a result, solar batteries work as rechargeable batteries that need the initial energy input from the power of the sun to initiate the entire process of generating an electrical current.
Main Types Of Battery Storage Technologies
There are two main types of solar system batteries; lithium-ion and lead-acid. Solar panel companies typically prefer lithium-ion batteries for the fact that you can use them to store more electrical energy. They are also preferred because they can hold stored energy for more extended periods than other batteries and also possess a higher Depth of Discharge.
Depth of Discharge (DoD) is the degree to which a battery can be used in comparison with the total capacity. If a battery possesses a DoD of 95 per cent, you can draw up to 95 per cent of the full capacity of the battery without any issues and before a recharge is required.
Facts about lithium-ion battery
The higher DoD of the lithium-ion battery technology, its reliable lifespan, compact size, and its ability to hold more energy for a more extended period make the battery of choice for most manufacturers. However, because of its many benefits, lithium-ion batteries are pretty expensive when compared to lead-acid types.
Facts about lead-acid battery
The lead-acid battery has been around for a long time now and makes use of the same technology as that of most car batteries. They are commonly used as an off-grid power option for home energy storage systems. Although they are sold at moderate prices, they are beginning to decrease in popularity as a result of their low DoD and shorter lifespan.
General Overview Of How A Solar Battery Works
A solar battery is used to store energy that you may use later. If you have a solar system installed at home or office, this is how it works:
- The solar panels generate electricity using solar energy from the sun.
- Solar energy is stored in the form of direct current (DC) electricity. This energy can be converted to an alternating current (AC) using an inverter system.
- The alternating current (AC) is used to power appliances both at home and in the office.
- Any extra electricity generated and not used can be used to charge your battery.
- Your appliances can now be powered by the energy that has been stored in your battery when the sun sets.
How Solar Panels Work With Batteries
One needs to understand how solar panel systems work to properly understand how energy storage functions. Usually, at the time of installing solar panels, a 'grid-tied' net-metered solar panel system is also installed. With this, it is possible to export any excess electricity to the grid. You will be able to draw electricity from the grid in case you need more electricity than your panels can generate.
Net-metering makes it possible for you to run your electricity meter in reverse by putting extra energy onto the grid. You can run it forward anytime you pull from the grid. You get billed by your utility provider for the electricity you use.
There will not be any need for exporting excess solar production to the grid where you have a solar plus storage system. Instead, you can first use the electricity to charge your energy storage system. However, at the time the sun has gone down and you need electricity, you can begin to draw electricity from your solar battery instead of tapping from the primary grid.
The Benefits Of A Solar Plus Storage System
You will have the opportunity to get electricity from the battery when it has been charged directly from the grid. This is made possible by installing a battery that has a solar panel system. When this is the case, there are two significant implications:
Batteries give backup power
It is possible to continue to operate off-grid by pairing solar plus storage. However, you will still maintain a connection to the grid. This way, you can create a little energy island in your home. So, if it happens that there is a power outage, maybe as a result of extreme weather or utility shutoff, it will still be possible for you to keep your lights on.
There are two things you will need to note as regards backup power. The first is that by keeping a solar panel system that does not have a battery, there will be no power supply from the system in the event of a power outage. Electricity will not be sent onto transmission lines in this case as utility workers attempt to fix the problem, which would otherwise pose a safety risk.
The second thing is that most batteries can only provide backup power to a limited area within your home and not the entire house as you may want. If you don't install a smart electrical panel in your system, you may have to decide on which parts of your home you would like to back up with the battery. This might require you to get the loads onto a critical load panel.
You may decide to stack your batteries, in which case you will continue to add additional batteries up to the point where you have the storage capacity you need. It might be your wish to have backup power for the entire home. However, for most people, it makes excellent economic sense to buy enough batteries that can provide the level of backup they want.
Batteries cut down utility costs
Drawing electricity from your battery through a battery storage system with your solar panels rather than the electric grid helps you cut down utility costs.
Batteries can help you achieve this in two different ways. First, in case you are on a time of use or some other type of time-varying rate, you can draw electricity from your battery during periods of peak hours.
Also, suppose you are on a rate that has a demand charge, which is more commonly seen in commercial and industrial companies than in homeowners. In that case, the use of a battery can help you bring down monthly utility charges. If your demand is high, you will find that a storage system offers a lot of benefits.
Batteries store energy for later use
Now that you know how solar battery storage works, you can make the right decision on whether you should add storage to your solar panel system. However, some more information, specifically on how lithium-ion batteries store energy, will also be helpful.
How A Lithium Battery Works
The lithium-ion battery is the most common type of battery you will find in the market today. It can be used for energy storage in the home when coupled with the solar panel system. Lithium-ion batteries can be used for powering different types of appliances, including cell phones and even cars, and this makes it a well-understood and safe technology.
Lithium-ion batteries got their name from the way they work because they move lithium ions through a medium known as an electrolyte which is placed inside the batteries. The chemistry of these ions has shown them as particles that either gain or lose an electron, and when they move from an anode to a cathode, they produce free electrons.
This means electrons are released from lithium ions. As these free electrons build up, the batteries become charged - and store electricity. When the electricity that is stored in batteries gets used up, the battery gets discharged, and there is a reversal of the flow of lithium ions. This means the process may be repeated and you can charge then remove lithium-ion batteries several times over.
Lithium-ion batteries that are used as home energy storage battery systems work as a combination of several lithium-ion battery cells. They possess complex power electronics that take charge of the performance and safety of the entire battery system. They work by different chemistries and therefore have different attributes. You will find some that have improved power density or others that have longer lifetimes as a result of their chemistries.
Consult An Expert For Solar Battery Installation
It should not be a difficult thing for you to know what to do now if you are looking for an alternative source of energy supply that is cost-effective. The additional takeaway for you should be that you need to identify good batteries that can serve you well and the purpose you need them for in your home.
If you are a DIY type of person, be sure that you understand how a solar battery storage system works before you begin installing the setup. Safety is essential, especially when handling lithium-ion batteries because they can easily cause a fire. It is equally important that you call on a professional to take care of the installation of the solar energy system, which is better done together with the batteries.
A solar system expert will come to your home and work out your energy needs to decide what works best for your specific needs. They will also advise on whether a grid-tied battery would help you cut down on monthly utility costs and the initial installation charges. So, for fast and safe solar battery installation, contact a local solar expert today!