Solar storage has become a popular addition to solar power systems in recent years, thanks to batteries becoming more efficient and more affordable. If you installed your system before this trend started, however, you might be feeling like you missed out and considering adding one to your existing system. The good news is it’s still possible to add a battery bank to your system, but it can be tricky to do it right. Keep reading to get a few tips that might help.
If You Have a Hybrid Inverter
Perhaps you anticipated that you’d want a battery bank sometime down the road. In that case, you deserve to be praised for your foresight! Having a hybrid inverter already installed in your system makes adding a battery bank significantly easier. Essentially, you’ll need to connect the batteries to the inverter, and your system will be ready to go. This is the easiest option available, and you can typically do this by yourself without much trouble.
If You Don’t Have a Hybrid Inverter
Without a hybrid inverter already installed in your system, you have a bit more of an obstacle to overcome. Grid-tied solar inverters are not designed to work with batteries, so you’ll have to find a way to work around that (assuming, of course, that you don’t want to hand over the money for a new hybrid inverter). To work around a grid-tied inverter, you’ll need a secondary inverter, known as a storage inverter, that charges the batteries. The good news is that these ones are typically much cheaper than buying a hybrid inverter.
Because batteries store DC power, your system will need to convert the DC power produced by your panels into AC power for your home (via your original inverter). This is then passed through your switchboard and either sent into your home for use or onto the storage inverter, which converts it back to DC power for battery storage. Because the power is undergoing multiple conversions, this method is less efficient than having a hybrid inverter; every conversion will result in some loss of power. However, it’s a cheaper and more flexible method of adding a battery bank if you don’t have a hybrid inverter already installed.
Choosing the Right Batteries
When building a battery bank, one key thing to keep in mind is the type of battery you’re getting. There are many chemical compositions for solar batteries, and they each have their pros and cons. You should first determine which battery type is right for you, then look for different manufacturers of that type. For example, if you want a flooded lead or AGM battery, you might look for “Crown Battery dealers near me” to find sellers of that battery type. Finding a quality, efficient battery that meets your needs and budget is key to successfully building your battery bank.