Thinking about a solar battery? You’re not alone! Hundreds of thousands of Aussies have added a solar battery to their homes. A battery is a great way to save money and help reduce your impact on the environment. According to Solar Victoria, installing a solar battery can help a typical household save up to $640 a year.
Types of Solar Battery Systems
If you are considering a solar battery storage system for your property, there are three different systems available: DC coupled storage, AC coupled storage and Hybrid inverters.
All solar systems require an Inverter to convert the DC power from the solar panels to the AC power used by our homes. A typical inverter only does this one way. A hybrid inverter will allow DC Power to “pass through” into an appropriate battery to hold the power for later use.
Hybrid inverters can be considered if you are looking into batteries very soon, however they are no longer the most cost-effective option.
This kind of solar solution consists of solar panels, a hybrid inverter and a battery all rolled together into your solar system. This system takes the DC Power from the solar panels and stores it directly into the battery for later use. A DC Coupled set-up is used to switch between brands of inverters and batteries depending on market preference and was the most common battery set-up until only a few years ago.
DC Coupled systems typically suit off-grid applications and large to industrial scale business storage projects (1MWh or more of storage).
Where previously you needed to have a hybrid inverter connected to the solar panels to store the power, with an AC coupled system, the battery has its own inverter that takes some of the already made AC power from the main solar system and changes it to DC for itself. It then turns it back into AC power when needed. The biggest pro for this set-up is that it can work with essentially any solar system. As long as there is enough power to fill the battery, the household will benefit.
Another added benefit is that no additional inverters need to be installed on the wall, keeping the complexity to a minimum for homeowners.
AC Coupled systems typically suit all grid connect properties on a smaller scale e.g., homes and small to medium size businesses.
What’s a kWh?
The technical explanation:
This is a measure of how many 1000 watts are used per hour. For example, over the space of one hour, a 1000 Watt appliance will use 1kWh, whilst it will take 10 hours for a 100 Watt appliance to use 1kWh. With a storage capacity of 15kWh in your battery, you could operate a 1000 Watt appliance for 15 hours or a 100 Watt appliance for 150 hours.
What you really need to know:
The average four person household without a swimming pool, uses roughly 21.5 kWh of electricity per day. It’s important to understand your household consumption when considering solar battery storage.
How Big a Battery Do I Need?
The excess power you feed into the grid is the power that you can store in a battery, however if you regularly use power from the grid, a large battery will help to reduce your power bills. The size of the battery you need is based on your power needs.
A good way to determine how much battery storage you need is to think of your energy supply in terms of solar production hours and hours in which you will need grid or battery support to keep your household operating. Typically, the hours of the day you are able to run your home off of the power your solar is actively generating will account for around a third of your kWh consumption total. The other two thirds of your daily kWh consumption total will need to be supplemented by either the energy grid or a battery storage solution.
If your household is an average four person home consuming 21.5 kWh of electricity daily, you would need a battery with at least 14.3 kWh of storage capacity to supplement your consumption during non-solar production hours. If you were wanting additional blackout protection, you would require additional battery storage on top of this estimate again.
Quick FAQs about Battery Storage
What are the benefits of a battery storage system?
You can store the solar power your capture to use whenever required, making you more self-sufficient and less dependent on the grid. Blackouts can be a major issue for some people, and batteries can provide some protection against this, allowing you to continue using some key appliances when there is no power coming from the grid. In some cases, it is possible to back-up an entire home during a blackout using solar battery storage.
Islanding vs. Back-Up Power. What’s the difference?
The Tesla Powerwall 2 uses a technique called “Islanding” to both access back-up power storage and draw additional power generated from your solar panels back into the battery at the same time, essentially keeping your entire solar solution functioning and topping-up the power available to the home.
The Soltaro provides battery back-up to a home in the event of a black out, allowing a home to access the power stores inside of the battery but will not draw additional power from the solar panels, essentially shutting off the other components of the solar system.
How many types of batteries does Cola Solar install?
At Cola Solar we only install the highest quality batteries from leading brands. Our current battery options include the Tesla Powerwall 2 and Soltaro. We are both a Tesla Powerwall Premium Installer and Soltaro Approved Partner, so you can be sure that our product knowledge, expertise and service is of the highest quality.
How long does it take to install?
In the majority of situations, the battery will only take a couple of hours to install on your property. We provide solar battery storage in Bendigo as well as other areas of regional Victoria.
Can I get the battery installed anywhere?
We recommend installing all batteries in a covered area such as a garage. You may install it outside, but direct sun can cause it to heat, hence only east or south facing would work in the outdoors. It is also ideal for the battery to be close to the electricity switchboard.
Is there a Government rebate available?
Solar Victoria is supporting eligible Victorian households to install a solar battery, by providing a point of sale discount up to a maximum of $3,500. To check the eligibility criteria and find out more visit: https://www.solar.vic.gov.au/solar-battery-rebate
Best Practices When Using Your Solar Battery
During a blackout event it is important not to overload your solar system by using lots of high wattage appliances at the same time. We recommend familiarising yourself with the load requirements of your various household appliances to better understand how your household consumes power.
Download the corresponding app
Knowledge is power, and in the case of the intuitive applications both the Soltaro and Tesla Powerwall come with, this is absolutely true! These apps provide metrics that will help you understand how your solar is working and also how you are consuming your power.
Familiarise yourself with load shifting
Load shifting refers to when you adjust your household electricity use to consume more energy during the day when your solar is in peak production. By understanding which appliances are using the most power and then using them during daylight hours rather than in the evening, you will be able to optimise your use of your solar battery system. An example of this might be running your washing machine and dish washer during the day, rather than in the evenings. Or setting your air-conditioning or heating on a timer during the day so that your home reaches the ideal temperature during daylight hours, and you can then switch off your heating and cooling when it gets dark.