ore and more homeowners are ditching fossil fuels and turning to solar power to save money and do their part for the environment. But, when it comes to battery storage, many are still on the fence about investing. A study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) shows that although the number of U.S. homes with PV storage has been increasing over the past few years, it still only accounted for 10% of solar homes in 2021.
We get it, batteries can be pricey. But in the long run, it's often worth the investment, even if your PV installation is connected to the power grid. In this article, we'll take a closer look at photovoltaic setups with energy storage and explore why it's a smart move for you and your wallet.
Types of solar systems
Solar systems are divided into three types: on grid, off grid, and hybrid.
Solar installations that are tied to the utility power grid, known as on grid parity solar systems, use the grid as a backup power source. This allows homeowners to send any excess energy generated by their solar panels back to the grid and receive credits on their bills. This type of systems works well for those who have consistent energy usage and live in areas with dependable access to traditional power.
Off grid systems are not connected to the distribution network and are typically used in remote locations where grid access is limited or unreliable. These setups rely solely on the energy produced by the panels and require a battery bank. This type of system is ideal for those who want to be completely self-sufficient and not dependent on the utility.
Hybrid systems, also referred to as grid tied with battery backup, combine the best of the two above-mentioned types. These systems are tied to the grid and can send excess energy back, but also have battery storage to provide power during outages.
Components of a hybrid PV installation
Solar panels are the heart of the system. These panels are made up of photovoltaic cells that absorb the sun's energy and convert it into a usable form of electricity for your home.
A hybrid inverter is a special kind of inverter that has all the features of a regular inverter but also includes advanced capabilities to handle power from different sources. It's made to change the energy produced by solar panels into AC power that you can use in your home. But unlike regular inverters, a hybrid inverter can also manage power from batteries and the power distribution network.
A battery bank plays a vital role in a hybrid PV setup as it stores excess energy generated by the solar panels during the day for use during times of low sunlight or at night. Without a battery bank, a PV system would only be able to use energy during daylight hours.
A charge controller manages the flow of electricity from the solar panels to the batteries. This prevents the battery from becoming overcharged or damaged and ensures that it is fully charged and ready to supply power through the inverter when necessary.
Benefits of grid tied PV systems with battery backup
Increased energy efficiency
A grid tied solar system with battery backup allows you to store all the extra energy your panels make during the day and use it later when the sun isn't shining. This means you can rely less on traditional electricity and instead power your home day and night using your own stored solar energy, reducing the overall energy consumption.
Imagine never losing power during a blackout! A grid tied PV system that includes a battery ensures that even when the grid goes down, you'll still have electricity to keep the lights on and power your daily routine.
Finally, PV modules paired with a battery can help you save money. For starters, they lower your dependence on costly grid tied power, which can be especially helpful for homeowners who don't have access to net metering in their area. Furthermore, these systems can also be used to shift energy usage, where energy is stored during non-peak hours when electricity is less expensive and then used during peak hours when the rates are higher.
Bottom line: Battery storage makes your PV setup even more dependable
To wrap it up, adding battery storage to a solar setup is a total no-brainer for anyone who wants to make sure their green energy system is always on point. It lets you save extra energy from the sun for when you need it most, like at night or on cloudy days. Plus, it can give you power during a blackout, which is huge if you want to be self-sufficient. All in all, battery storage is a smart investment for any PV installation and is definitely worth considering.