How do solar batteries work?

Solar batteries store unused energy from your solar panels which you can use at night, on a cloudy day or if you’re using more energy to power appliances than your system is generating.

Here’s an example of how a system with SolarEdge battery storage technology works

Here’s how a solar system with Tesla Powerwall works

  • your solar panels convert sunlight to DC electricity (Direct Current).
  • any surplus DC electricity that your home doesn’t use charges Tesla Powerwall.
  • the inverter converts the DC electricity to AC (Alternating Current) for use in the home.
  • a special type of inverter also converts AC to DC to charge PowerWall.

Do I need a solar battery?

At the moment, the greatest shortcoming of solar power is that you need to use your solar energy at the time that it’s produced to get the greatest benefit. Not everybody can take full advantage of their solar panels’ output. This is where battery storage comes in.

Different types of solar battery storage – Hybrid vs Off-Grid

With a hybrid battery solution, you remain connected to the grid. You use your solar panels during the day, draw down from your battery overnight (or when there’s insufficient power to cover your household loads) and you always have the grid as your backup if your panels and batteries don’t provide sufficient power to cover all of your consumption. 95% of customers in metropolitan areas and 75% of customers in regional areas will opt for a hybrid system because they’re so much cheaper than an off-grid solution.
Solar energy with house and solar cell illustration
As the name suggests, with off-grid battery systems, you’re not connected to the grid. You use your solar panels during the day, draw down on your (larger) battery system when required and have a diesel or petrol generator as your backup for when your battery is depleted and the sun’s not shining.
Going completely off-grid is generally only advisable if:

  • you’re building a new home in a regional area and it’s going to cost you as much or more to install the poles and wires to your home as it is to install an off-grid system.
  • you get regular blackouts and/or brownouts.
  • you want to be 100% self-sufficient as far as your energy needs are concerned.
  • you want to stick it to the grid and you’re prepared to pay a premium to do this!.