With the environmentally consciousness of most Australians today, it’s no surprise that many people are considering going off the grid altogether to not only save money from relying on an energy provider, but to switch solely to clean energy to power their homes.
Solar battery storage is a highly desirable technology upgrade to solar panels, helping homeowners extend the use of the electricity that they generate and create from their solar systems into all hours of the day.
You can add a battery to an existing solar panel installation for a stand-alone solar system that is solely off the grid. You can take better advantage of the power your system creates with solar battery storage, whether you already have an existing solar panel system or looking to install a system. However, like any important installation, it is crucial that you first take the right steps to understand how suitable and worthwhile of an investment it is for you.
Standalone systems are more common in rural and regional areas, where connecting to the grid is either impossible or incredibly expensive. But for those that are looking to gain independence from an energy provider and fossil fuel generated power, it can be a very valuable change.
Retrofit a Battery – Getting an Existing System Off the Grid
You can book a solar installer to fit a solar battery into your existing solar panel installation. However, how expensive, or long this process may take will depend on a few factors of your solar system design.
Your solar inverter should be suitable for connecting to solar battery storage. If it isn’t, you can either have a new one installed as part of your solar battery installation, or you can opt for an AC or DC coupled system to connect your battery storage into. You can select to go off the grid with this installation at an extra cost for a completely independent system.
Conversely, you can choose to stay on the grid to have an easy source of backup power from the mains.
What to Consider
For solar systems that are completely off the grid, both more solar panels and batteries are needed to compensate for days with bad weather conditions. A 5-day bracket is advised, therefore a solar system for these homes should be able to provide 5 times the household’s average daily usage.
Not every budget or property is suitable for this condition. Some may find that their roof is not large enough to install the number of solar panels needed or that their budget doesn’t allow for this cost.
Ask Yourself: What Do You Want Out of Your Solar System?
For Energy Independence or Less Carbon, select an off the grid system with battery storage
For Best Efficiency or Greater Savings, select a hybrid solar system with battery storage that’s on the grid
Installing a new Solar System with Battery Storage – On & Off Grids
If you are without a current solar system, you can also choose to install a solar battery at the same point of this installation. Some people choose to take on the choice of adding a solar battery to their system a bit later when the cost becomes cheaper, but prices for solar batteries have greatly decreased from once they were before, making them a great investment option to take on now.
Installing a solar battery at the same point you install your solar panels allows you to get the most out of them as soon as possible, for added savings and convenience down the line.
As is the case with retrofitting a solar battery for an existing system, you can also choose whether to make this a system that remains on the grid or one in which you can become solely independent.
As amazing as off the grid standalone systems are for powering your home completely off clean energy, they share a disadvantage with solar systems without solar panels; and that is waste. After filling up your solar batteries, your solar panels are bound to generate excess energy. Particularly when you aren’t always home throughout the day. Without a connection to the grid, this excess energy ends up at a loss with no extra benefit from it.
At the same time, solar systems that are connected to the grid but are without a solar battery are also without the benefit of the best use and value of their solar panels. Without a battery, excess power is sold to the energy provider at 10-20% of what they will charge you for the same amount later with the latest changes in feed in tariff rates.
For this reason, many Australians are moving to optimise their solar power with a system with battery storage that is also connected to the grid.