Demystifying Solar Batteries: What Is A Solar Battery And How Does It Work?

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It’s reported that as many as 1.5 million homes in the UK are now kitted out with solar panels. This is great news as the country moves towards more sustainable energy consumption. But there is a way to make your solar panels even more efficient; solar batteries.

But what are solar batteries and how do they work? Let’s find out.

What Is A Solar Battery?

When you have solar panels installed on your property they work when there is sunlight. This means that the panels are only able to produce energy during the day.

But quite often, your panels will harvest way more energy than they need to power your property so there is excess that could be used during the night.

However, this is only possible when using a solar battery. Solar batteries are components that can be added to a solar power system and are able to store excess energy for future use.

Without a solar battery, any excess power that is produced is sent back to the grid. This means that you aren’t getting the most out of your investment.

How Do Solar Batteries Work - The Science Bit

Most solar batteries are lithium-ion batteries such as the high-voltage LG chem RESU battery supplied by SolarEdge. These batteries work via a chemical reaction which occurs when lithium ions emit free electrons…stay with me, I know this feels like a high school science lesson, but I promise it’s simple.

Once those electrons are released, they move from a negative anode to a positive cathode via an internal liquid, known as lithium-salt electrolyte. This liquid is also designed to ensure balance between the ions inside the battery. It is this process that creates an electrical current from this chemical reaction.

When you want to use this current, the process is somewhat reversed with lithium ions moving back through the electrolytes towards a positive electrode. While this is happening, there’s electron movement around the outer battery circuit as well which is what creates the energy to power your devices.

Other Types Of Solar Batteries

Now, with all of that in mind, lithium ion batteries tend to be the most expensive to the consumer. But while there are other types of batteries that can be used for this purpose, lithium ion and its tried and tested technology continues to be the most efficient.

Other types of batteries include lead-acid, nickel-cadmium and flow batteries. However, while these all have their place in various industries, they’re not the optimal choice as solar batteries.

Can I Install Solar Batteries To An Existing Solar Panel System?

When you have a solar panel system installed, most companies will offer you the option to have solar batteries fitted at the same time. The great benefit of this is that not only are you all ready to take full advantage of your new system but it’s also much cheaper to have the batteries installed at the same time as the rest of the system.

That said, there will be homes out there that have already had solar panels installed. Taking the system out and reinstalling an entirely new one doesn’t seem like the most cost-effective idea, does it?

But the good news is that it is possible to have solar batteries installed alongside your current system. Typically you would choose from either the LG chem RESU battery I mentioned earlier or a 48v lithium ion battery.

What’s An Inverter?

An inverter is part of a solar panel system and is designed to convert the current from DC to AC, essentially making the electricity usable inside your home.

When installing solar batteries, you’ll need to connect the batteries to an inverter. Which type of inverter you choose will depend on your current setup. For example, you may need a different type of inverter when installing an entirely new system such as the StorEdge Single Phase or Three Phase inverter.

On the other hand, if you already have solar panels in place, you would opt for something along the lines of the SolarEdge StorEdge inverter.

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