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How Solar Power Batteries Work

Jessica PirroOctober 23, 20197730

When it comes to solar-powered systems there are three main parts of the solar panel installation that everyone is going to want to know how it works, solar panels, solar power inverters, and solar power batteries. 

How Do Batteries Work for Solar Power?

In part one of the three-part series, we discussed how solar panels work. In part two, how solar power inverters work and finally in part three we are going to explain how solar power batteries work.

Solar Power Batteries for Residential Solar Panel Installations

When a homeowner is thinking of getting a solar panel installation, if they don’t understand how a solar power battery works, they may just look at it like an added cost. But, for a homeowner to understand how important a solar power battery is for a solar-powered system, they are going to need to understand how a solar power battery works.

For a typical solar-powered system, solar panels, a solar power inverter, mounting equipment for the solar panels, and a performance monitoring system that is going to track the solar electricity production, are included. The solar panels are going to collect the sun’s energy and convert it into solar electricity, which is passed through the solar power inverter and converted into a form that you can use to solar power to give your home power.

Most of the residential solar panel installations are connected to the electricity grid, which is also known as grid-tied. When your solar panels are producing more solar electricity than your home needs, the extrasolar power is going to be sent back to the grid. In contrast, when your solar-powered system isn’t producing solar electricity, such as the night hours, you can draw power from the grid.

A lot of the times, you can receive a credit on your utility bill for the solar electricity that you are sending back to the grid. Later on, when you are using more electricity than your solar panel installation is producing, you can use those credits instead of having yo pay your utility. This is called net metering.

How Can You Store Solar Power from Panels?

Solar power batteries work by storing the solar electricity that is produced by the solar panels and storing it for later use. In certain cases, solar power batteries have their solar power inverter and offer an integrated energy conversion. The higher the solar power battery capacity, the more solar energy it can store.

When you get a solar panel installation with a solar power battery as a part of your solar-powered system, you can store the excess solar electricity at your home instead of sending it back to the grid. If your solar panels are producing more solar electricity than you need, the excess solar electricity goes towards charging the solar power battery. When your solar panel installation isn’t producing solar electricity, you will be able to draw the energy that has been previously stored in the solar power battery for night use. You will only send the electricity back to the grid when the solar power battery is fully charged, and you will only draw energy from the grid when your solar power battery is out of charge.

Solar Power Batteries and Blackouts

Power outages are getting more and more popular these days because the aging grid system is going to take years, as well as billions of dollars to fix and upgrade. As a means of protection, a lot of homeowners are making the switch to solar-powered systems.

Solar power customers will also have the option of getting a solar power battery that can be used in conjunction with a solar-powered system. The solar power batteries can store the excess solar electricity during the peak sunshine hours and can be used when the solar panels aren’t producing solar electricity.

When a power outage occurs, your solar power battery is going to turn on and disconnect from the distribution solar panel. This is done for safety purposes. The solar panels are then shut off during power outages by your utility to remove the electrocution hazards to their workers.

Solar Power Grid Storage

Solar power batteries, along with other energy storage technologies may not be too common, but it isn’t expecting to be the case for long. It is expected that it will become a $2.5 billion market in the United States by 2020.

The reason that solar power is expected to grow is that the same benefit that solar power batteries offer to homeowners, mainly the ability to store solar power for later use, can also be applied at a larger scale of the entire electricity grid. Energy storage technologies, such as solar power batteries, provide electric utilities and energy users more flexibility in the way that they generate and use electricity, particularly solar electricity.

The electric utilities and grid managers have a complex task. They need to provide their customers with consistent and reliable access to the electricity that powers their homes and businesses. To achieve that, they must ensure that there’s enough electricity on the grid to match their demand. If there’s too little or too much solar electricity in the solar-powered system at a given moment, the customers are going to be more likely to experience blackouts.

The more solar-powered system storage technologies, like solar power batteries, electric utilities, and gird, operators can easily manage the flow of solar electricity. Meaning, in the long run, solar electricity will be more integrated into our nation's electricity mix, which includes the residential solar-powered systems.

Should You Install a Solar Power Battery

If you can save money by getting a solar panel installation with a solar power battery is going to depend on the way that your utility company will compensate you for your solar electricity. Most of the utility companies will offer full net metering, which means that you will not see any additional savings on your monthly electrical bill if you install a solar battery.

But, there are many situations where a solar power battery can improve the economics for solar panels for your home or business. If your utility has time-of-use rates or demand charges or does not offer net metering, solar power batteries can help you save more when you install a solar-powered system.

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