What is the Best Battery for a Solar Panel System?
When you install solar to reduce your carbon footprint and energy costs, it’s almost counterproductive to pay the high Time of Use rates billed by your utility company during peak hours. Unfortunately, you can’t control when the clouds will cover up the sun, and you can’t control the fact that it goes down every night. The good news is there is something you can do to avoid having to rely on your utility company when solar isn’t available. To keep energy costs down, continue to do your part for the environment and gain more control over the way you use energy, look to a solar battery.
Why Solar Batteries Make Sense
Solar home battery installation won’t make sense for every solar customer, though the way energy systems are changing around the U.S., they are beginning to make more and more sense. The following are some ways solar batteries benefit solar customers.
- Utility companies have peak hours figured out so they make the most money off even their solar customers. When your panels are the most productive during the day, utility costs are lower. When use goes up after the sun has gone down, utility costs are higher. Customers with solar batteries can steer around these TOU rates, which are becoming a popular way for utility companies to charge their customers.
- Many homeowners have diesel generators as backup power, but you can get around that as well when you have a battery included in your energy system. Though your system is connected to the electric grid, meaning your power can still go out, your battery will hold on to power so when the grid shuts down, your household doesn’t have to.
- There are some financial incentives included with battery storage, depending on which state you live in. The investment tax credit is available to all customers in the U.S., offering a certain percentage of savings if you charge solely from your own solar source. California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program and Maryland’s solar battery tax credit are some other examples, with other states offering their own credits and incentives.
How Battery Systems Work
During a nice, sun-filled day, your solar panels will produce more energy than you’ll use. Rather than it going back to the grid, your solar home battery stores it for use during peak hours when the sun isn’t shining. If your battery fills to 100%, only then will it send electricity to the grid. Your energy system also won’t need to pull from the grid unless it is 100% depleted.
There are two types of battery systems, and you should understand the difference so you know which one is preferred:
- AC-Coupled Solar Batteries – With this type of system, your solar panel power gets converted from DC power to AC power through a standard grid connect inverter. The battery inverter then converts it back to DC, and that’s how it gets stored in the battery. When you are ready to use the power, the batter inverter takes it from DC back to AC, and that’s how the loads are supplied. While this seems complicated, this is typically the system of choice.
- DC-Coupled Solar Batteries – This system works by the solar panels directing power straight to the battery from a battery charger. There is no conversion that takes place.