Here at Plico, we’re passionate about solar battery technology. We recently wrote an article outlining some of the different types of solar batteries on the market, but we didn’t answer the question of how do solar batteries work.
Let’s look at the way your solar battery functions in your solar + battery solution, as well as how lithium-ion solar batteries work.
How do solar panels work with batteries?
As we look at the process of your solar plus storage system, you’ll see what an integral part a battery plays.
With your solar and battery package installed, you’ll start generating and storing your excess solar energy in a process that looks like this:
- The sun is out and shining down on your solar panels.
- Your solar panels absorb this light and create direct current (DC) energy.
- This energy is sent to your solar inverter, whose job is to convert this DC energy into alternating current (AC) energy. Why? Because that’s the type of electrical current your household appliances require.
- Your switchboard directs your solar electricity where it is needed.
- If your solar system is generating more energy than you need, the DC electricity will go directly to charging your battery, without converting to AC.
- Your battery then stores your energy, so it’s ready for use when you need it.
- When the sun isn’t creating energy for you, your battery will kick into life, sending its stored electricity to the battery inverter.
- The inverter will then convert the energy from DC to AC for household use.
- Your switchboard will distribute your electricity.
- If you run out of stored energy, your house will pull electricity from the grid.
What’s the difference between AC-coupled and DC-coupled battery storage?
As you can probably surmise from the above information, there are two different types of solar battery installations – AC-coupled and DC-coupled – and while they both store your solar energy, they function on different currents and have individual pros and cons.
Firstly, solar batteries are the most important aspect of your solar energy storage system – they are what help you save money and gain greater energy independence. So you’re winning just from choosing to integrate one into your solar system. This being said, DC-coupled batteries tend to have the edge over their counterparts in efficiency and in many cases longevity.
Although AC-coupled solar batteries are usually favoured when a battery is getting added to an existing solar system.
AC-coupled solar batteries can provide an easier installation which equates to lower upfront costs. Plico members, however, don’t pay any big upfront costs for their solar power system or its installation and maintenance.
How do lithium-ion batteries work?
Plico uses a lithium-ion solar battery that’s tried and tested in Australian conditions. How do lithium batteries function, you ask?
The two most popular types of lithium-ion solar power batteries are Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) and Nickle Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC). Plico has chosen to use LFP batteries for several reasons, including their higher level of flame retardation and greater cycle life.
Lithium-ion batteries store and release their energy through the transfer of electrons. These electrons flow back and forth between the negatively-charged anode to the positively-charged cathode.
For more information on the cost benefits of solar batteries, have a look at our post titled Are Solar Batteries Worth It?
Solar doesn’t have to be complicated with Plico’s solar + battery solution.
Solar can sometimes seem more complicated than it is. In the end, what you’re doing is becoming more energy independent while saving money and helping the environment in the process. Still curious? Read how Plico’s solar + battery solution stacks up against Telsa’s Powerwall.
Recently there's been a spotlight on fires associated with LG solar batteries. Plico has never used LG batteries in its solar + battery systems, and while the ACCC statement alerting consumers to the LG fires mentions Redback Technologies, a Plico partner, we have never used any of the recalled technology. Plico has a long history of providing the highest quality, safest equipment, installed by qualified local experts. Read Plico's CEO Robbie Campbell's statement on the LG battery recall here.