Solar power is the cleanest form of renewable energy. It can power homes and businesses with no carbon emissions, as well as slashing electricity bill costs.
The design of solar panels allows them to capture the sun’s ultraviolet rays and convert them into electricity to be used as it is produced as well as stored for use at a later time.
This conversion can also be described as the process of converting Direct Current (DC) to an Alternating Current (AC).
Due to the ever-increasing electricity prices and the drop in solar panel costs, solar power in Australia is rapidly becoming a popular alternative to grid energy.
All Grid offers a range of solar power systems that cater to the various needs of their customers.
While a standard solar power system captures sunlight and turns it into power for use during sunlight hours, it is unable to provide power without direct and constant sunlight. Many households use little energy during the day as people are at work or school. In these instances much of the electricity is exported back to the grid and the householder receives a Feed-in Tariff (FiT) from the retailer. The days of high FiTs are long gone for most householders so introducing storage can maximise the value of the solar generated energy. Solar storage options such as the WattGrid storage unit are able to capture all of a household’s excess power and store it for when it is needed later in the day.
Residential energy storage options
Solar energy storage for residential homes is becoming increasingly popular within Australia, due to the rapidly dropping prices of solar PV installation.
Batteries and other power storage products are used to store energy to use at a later time.
According to industry professionals, we are now in the ‘Age of energy storage’, thanks to a combination of solar integrated storage solutions and efficient grid technology.
All homes with a battery storage system installed must have an inverter that converts the electricity stored (DC) into electricity that can be used for appliances and sent back into the grid (AC). The market today has two popular options; hybrid inverters and battery inverters, both solutions which have varying strengths and weaknesses in regards to supporting energy storage systems.
Traditional Solar Inverters
A solar PV inverter’s fundamental function is to convert electricity that’s come from solar panels (DC) into useable electricity (AC). If this integral function cannot be undertaken, the product can not be known as an inverter. In Australia there are a number of popular brands of solar PV inverters such as Samil, Power-One, Fronius, SMA and Zeversolar.
Advantages: This technology has been tested over time, and widely utilized in solar systems connected to the grid worldwide
there are many various options available in the market
Disadvantages: If wanting to include battery storage, the side of the system with the battery will need a separate inverter
in order to maximise the system’s total efficiency, an additional energy management system may be needed
Hybrid inverters, which are also known as multi-mode inverters, can control inputs from a battery bank as well as solar panels at the same time. Depending on preference or cost-efficiency, the batteries are charged by solar panels or electricity from the grid.
Not only this, but they can also handle other inputs from sources such as generators, wind turbines and alternative power sources.
Advantages: Hybrid inverters offer an all-inclusive solution for solar storage systems which are connected to the grid. To allow expansion in the future they can also be installed with no battery. They have been used for a long time in power systems both stand-alone and off-grid, they are highly “intelligent” and can be programmed to maximise efficiency of the system overall, as well as savings.
Disadvantages: The design is less flexible than modular options which utilize separate battery inverters and PV and, in terms of efficiency, dedicated solar-only and battery-only inverters are rated higher.
Inverters that are battery specific can manage a battery bank’s discharging and charging. Similar to alternative inverters, their primary function is converting DC electricity to AC, however battery inverters also do the opposite- converting electricity from AC to DC so a battery bank can be charged. Homes without solar PV systems can have these battery inverters installed, for energy arbitration purposes, which involves using off-peak electricity from the grid (cheap electricity) to charge batteries.
Although, a lot of homes opt to have them installed so they can hold and store excess solar energy generated, to use for later. The inverter is modular in nature, which results in simple retrofitting onto solar PV systems already existing.
Advantages: Already installed solar PV systems can have these retrofitted onto them to add battery storage capabilities system design is more flexible thanks to the modular nature majority of the units have high durability and are sturdy as they have been previously used in stand-alone and off-grid systems