If you are installing a solar panel system and want the option of battery storage in the future, it is helpful to plan accordingly.
Battery technology advances are changing the energy landscape. As solar storage capabilities increase, residential and commercial customers have more energy storage options.
Unfortunately, lithium-ion batteries are still relatively expensive at this time, but some solar customers are preparing by installing a solar panel system with future storage capabilities.
If the solar system is designed with this in mind, batteries can be added later relatively easily.
It is more difficult and costly to add battery storage in the future if the solar system is not battery ready. The same solar panels can be used but it requires replacing or adding additional components.
If you are installing a solar system and want the option of battery storage in the future, it is helpful to plan accordingly.
Upgrading a solar system to have battery storage
If a solar system is not battery ready and storage capabilities are added, it is more costly. Either the solar inverter would need to be replaced or an inverter would need to be added for an AC-coupled solution.
The latter does result in some efficiency loss but likely has a lower upfront cost compared to replacing the inverter completely.
Installing solar components that are battery ready
The inverter in a grid-tied solar system converts DC power from the solar panel into AC current for use in the household. For solar systems with battery storage, the inverter needs to also be able to convert the power back to DC current that can be stored in the battery.
Many inverters can perform the former task but not the latter.
Choosing a solar system with an inverter that has battery storage abilities is one way to prepare for adding batteries in the future. This would enable the solar system to operate only as a grid-tied solar panel system until batteries and the additional components are added.
In addition to reducing overall solar equipment costs, the labor expenses associated with adding storage are likely less because it is a simpler and quicker project.
Read more: PV Buzz