Solar Battery System and Going Off-The-Grid
Posted on December 20 2018
Installing a solar battery with your solar panel system entirely depends on the utility of the generated energy. If you need stable and round the clock energy, then you need a solar battery. If you are only looking for daytime solar power usage, then you can simply use it directly from the solar cells. Solar panel systems are one of the most rapidly growing industry, and according to TIME magazine solar power generation would boost 16 times by 2040, and the global value of the market will soar to 422 billion USD by 2022 an estimate by statista.
A stadium powered completely by solar cells in Taiwan. via landmarkdividend
In our previous SUAOKI blog, we explained how you could use a solar cell to directly run your appliances without the need of any solar battery bank. However, it is not a good idea to do so. If you are wondering why? Here is your answer: as the sunshine and its intensity changes with clouds hovering around, solar panels can instantaneously change the generated power and voltage by significant margins. This uncertainty in flowing energy is damaging for your electrical devices, as you always run a risk of damaging them, and of course, we don't want to burn the appliances, right? So, although you can run your devices directly from a solar PV cell, it is not recommended to do so. The solution is to install solar batteries, yes we know they are expensive, but they are your energy storage device that supplies stable and safe energy.
Solar powered home. via patch
Is a solar battery worth the investment?
Why deciding to install a solar battery in your solar system is so important, you may ask? Solar battery bank or storage batteries are not cheap and require a big budget, on top of that they are also inefficient. So you have to take a big decision of including a solar battery in your system or not. A conventional wet-cell battery can only provide output power at a maximum 50% of its capacity, and the expensive lithium-ion battery offers up to 80% of the energy stored. That means if you buy a 200 Amps battery, then the usable energy from the battery will only be 100 Amps in case of a wet-cell battery, or 160 Amps if it is a lithium-ion battery. If you drain the battery cells below the above-specified levels, then they will have a negative impact on the battery life.
Panda shaped solar farm in China. via electric
Although your decision to include solar battery pack to your PV system drastically depends on how you will use the renewable energy system for and how much is your budget, however, for the long run and the safety of your appliance, it is strongly advised to install a battery bank to your system.
Solar power system without a solar battery
A solar system without solar battery provides energy that is directly dependent on the available radiation of the sun at any given time in a day. On a cloudy day, because of the continuously changing radiation of the sun, the generated voltage alters drastically which may lead to damaging your appliance (and then, of course, you have to spend extra $$ to fix them or buy new machines).
Another disadvantage of a system without solar battery is that you can only receive the free energy during the daytime. You have to rely on the grid for night-time electric power and for days when there is no sun which is another limitation if you are planning to go off the grid.
Solar power system with a solar battery
On the other hand, a system with storage battery allows you to store the extra energy that your panels are generating during the daytime in the solar battery. Later you can use this stored energy at night or during non-sunny days. A typical solar energy generation and energy consumption of a household are shown in the picture below.
Average solar consumption day. via energysage
Besides, it gives you a constant voltage and current out of the solar battery. The stable supply of power from the storage battery bank is reliable and safe for your appliances. With a solar power battery system, you will have peace of mind that you are not going to run out of power, and it will also come handy as backup power if there is a power outage in your area.
So if you just want to use your solar-generated electricity occasionally and as a secondary option, for example, to power up some of your electrical devices on your boat or yacht, or use it at your home to run some machines for a couple of hours during the daytime only, etc. then you do not necessarily need storage batteries. In this case, you can use the energy from the solar panels directly but with an addition of a regulator to control the amount of voltage and the current flowing to your devices. On the other hand, if you want to get off the grid entirely, and do not want to risk your appliance being damaged by the fluctuating voltages, then you definitely need storage batteries. However, you have to have a significant budget to be able to afford a solar battery bank.
A solar farm on a lake. via HuffingtonPost
If you still have any questions, please do leave us a comment below and we will help you with your queries. Stay tuned for the next geeky blog.