How exactly do solar batteries work?

Solar systems for residential and commercial properties have come a long way in recent years and the biggest technological advances have been battery storage solutions.

The process all begins with the solar panels installed on your roof that harvest the sun’s rays and convert them into energy. Once sunlight hits these panels, it immediately converts the visible light into an electric current.

Previously, that meant the power needed to be consumed straight away or exported to the grid – and if the sun wasn’t shining, the solar system wasn’t working.

Modern solar systems still prioritise the needs of your household or business, but any excess energy is then diverted to the battery instead of shipped off to the grid. It means fewer bill credits, but it also means that you have solar power available at all times of the day or night and during inclement weather.

 

The four types of solar power systems

These all have their own unique benefits and ways of operating. So you can consider the best option for you, it is best to know how these different types of battery work. They include:

 

  • Lead-acid batteries: If you are looking for sleek and elegant, look elsewhere. These are big, blocky boxes that don’t offer as much aesthetic appeal as more contemporary designs. However, they use the most tried and tested technology on the market and they are always super reliable. They will be redundant one day, but not any time soon.
  • Lithium-ion: The popular Tesla Powerwall is a lithium-ion battery. Because this technology is the same as the batteries included in electric vehicles, it is constantly evolving and getting better by the year. All current models perform extremely well, but those in the pipeline for the near future are destined to be even more impressive.
  • Flow batteries: A new technology that has a cell filled with a water-based solution of zinc-bromide. Unfortunately, they can be more difficult to locate and are still considered an emerging technology, but these designs promise to have a much longer shelf life than lead-acid and lithium-ion, so it is a technology to keep an eye on.
  • Sodium nickel chloride batteries: This is another new technology that is directly challenging lithium-ion designs. They have several advantages including a no-fire risk, zero need for cooling and all components are fully recyclable, but at this early stage, they are prohibitively expensive and have a short lifespan.

 

Do solar panels need batteries to work?

No. You can still run with the traditional method of powering your house and exporting excess energy back to the grid for rebates.

 

What happens to solar power when batteries are full?

These battery storage systems include a charge controller which prevents power from bleeding back to the solar panels and will keep topping up the battery as energy is used so that it remains full. Any excess power is then sent to the grid.

 

How many solar batteries are needed to power a house?

In most instances, one or two batteries will be more than enough, although some larger households or businesses may require three to be fully powered by solar energy.

 

If you’d like to find out how a solar power system could benefit your property, get three free quotes on a tailored solution through Energy Matters.