As you know, a solar system is made up of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and an inverter which are integrated with the electricity switchboard and meter which are connected to the grid. When a battery storage system is installed, it captures excess solar energy before it is sent back to the national grid.

There are two categories of customers purchasing solar storage systems, who are simply at different stages of the solar installation process:

1. Battery Ready Solar System

For customers with solar PV panels already installed, you are one step closer to a solar battery storage system and huge savings on your electricity bill. There are, however, a number of factors to consider in terms of your system’s ‘readiness’ for battery installation. In addition to solar panels, you will need a compatible inverter and power meter, as well as having these components installed correctly to support solar energy battery storage.

Finding a knowledgeable installer is the best way to assess every element (and potential cost) you will need to consider in upgrading your solar system with solar storage batteries.  

2. Solar Plus Storage Package

Although being new to solar panels as well as solar battery storage, first time solar customers have the advantage of installing entire solar storage systems at the same time – avoiding costly amendments to their existing solar storage systems that may not be fully compatible with solar energy battery storage.

Many solar PV panel providers are now offering storage solutions, so finding the most reliable and knowledgeable installer will ensure you receive the best advice and best system. Read reviews, get multiple quotes and ask advice from existing customers before making a decision.

How the System Works:

Solar storage systems follow a basic but high-tech process:

  1. Solar panels convert sunlight into DC (Direct Current) electricity
  2. Solar inverter directs electricity either straight to the home for use or to the solar panel battery storage system.
  3. When needed, the solar panel battery provides stored electricity to the home via the inverter.

As mentioned above, a home solar power storage system is made up of 3 central parts:

·         Solar Panels

There are three main types of solar cells. In the solar power storage process, the solar cells absorb the sun’s rays and produce low voltage DC electricity which is fed directly into the solar inverter.

Monocrystalline

Monocrystalline solar panels are cut from a chunk of silicon grown from a single crystal. This process is relatively costly, making them higher in cost but also higher in efficiency.

Polycrystalline

These panels have been cut from silicon grown from many different crystals. They are slightly lower in efficiency that monocrystalline panels. Similarly, their lower efficiency is matched by a lower cost.

Amorphous or Thin-film

These cells use thin sheets of silicon material and are the least efficient, but also most cost effective to produce of all solar cells. They are flexible and show potential for adaptation to many different uses. They are not typically used in home solar systems.

·         Solar Inverter

There are three different types of solar inverters, each serving slightly different purposes in the solar energy conversion process:

Solar PV inverters

Solar PV inverters are the most common inverters in Australia due to standard solar panel systems being more common than ones with solar power batteries. This inverter simply converts DC electricity from the solar panels to AC electricity for immediate consumption in the home. These inverters do not support a battery backup system and an additional inverter would need to be installed alongside the battery backup.

Battery inverters

Battery specific Inverters solely manage a battery bank’s discharging and charging. Similar to alternative inverters, their primary function is converting DC electricity to AC, however they can also do the opposite – converting electricity from AC to DC so a battery bank can be recharged with excess energy. They are an easy addition to already installed solar PV panel system with dedicated PV inverters and just need to add solar power battery capabilities.

Hybrid inverters

Hybrid or multi-mode inverters are a combination of solar PV and battery inverters, as they are able to convert electricity from solar panels as well as solar power battery storage simultaneously. Hybrid inverters offer an all solution for solar storage systems that are also connected to the grid. They are predicted to become the most popular type of inverter as more storage systems are installed. The one drawback of hybrid inverters is that they are less flexible and less efficient than dedicated solar-only and battery-only inverters.

·         Battery

Home battery storage systems have been available for a number of years, but the types of solar power batteries required have been expensive, cumbersome and have required a degree of knowledge to operate and maintain the equipment. There are various types of solar power batteries, all of which store direct current electricity flowing from solar panels through the inverter. They then store the energy and release it back into the home through the inverter as AC electricity.

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