Every second, the sun transmits 126 trillion horsepower of energy to the earth, according to scientists. On the sun’s surface, the nuclei of hydrogen atoms constantly fusing together release vast amounts of energy through nuclear fusion. This massive quantity of light and energy spreads across the surface of the earth, sustaining life, and powering our lives.

Brown house with roof solar panels

Thanks to recent technological breakthroughs in the science of photovoltaics, solar power is spreading across the world to harness the incredible power of the sun. In many neighborhoods, you see solar panels being installed. In some homes, solar battery systems are included as part of a home energy system where the home is almost entirely energy dependent. These homes only need electricity from their local power grid at peak times. And when there is a power outage, these homes with solar battery storage stay fully operational.

Solar Battery Technology

Generating solar power is not a simple matter of the solar panels soaking up the sun and sending electricity down a few wires into a house. Photovoltaics is a complex science of converting sunlight into electricity using semiconductors and solar inverters, involving physics, photochemistry, and electrochemistry. Once the photovoltaic cells in the solar panels capture electrons from the sun, this energy is in the form of direct current (DC) electricity. But a house operates on alternating current (AC) electricity. A solar inverter is a critical piece of equipment that makes this conversion possible.

A solar inverter mounts to the side of a house and then relegates and distributes the AC power inside the house. Or to have backup solar power, the solar inverter is also connected to a backup power battery bank. Solar batteries are maintenance-free. When power is needed in the home, the batteries turn on automatically without any interruptions to appliances and devices inside a home.

Adding Solar Battery Power

Rarely is a house completely powered by solar power. Most often, a house receives power from both the solar panels on the roof and the power grid operated by the local power company. Solar batteries can be integrated into a home’s solar system to store electricity so there is less dependence on the power grid. But it is not a good idea to completely detach from the local power grid, in case there is ever a breakdown in a home’s solar equipment.

Adding a bank of solar batteries is not a simple process of plugging in new batteries. Other equipment is required, such as a grid-tie inverter designed to integrate with a solar battery bank. The inverter senses grid voltage and frequency, and integrates power demand from the house when the solar power source is waning. This will ensure that there is power coming into the house at all times.

House with pool and solar panels

Three Solar Inverter Options

There are three options for adding a grid-tie solar inverter to work with a home’s solar batteries:

  • - Option #1 – AC Coupling. In this system, a grid-tied inverter is paired to the solar inverter connected to the house’s electrical system and the solar battery bank. The AC coupling feature will automatically shift the electrical frequency and pull power from the grid when solar energy levels begin to drop inside the home. In this case, the off-grid inverter serves as a secondary power source.
  • - Option #2: DC Coupling. In this system, a manual switch is connected to the battery bank. Unlike AC coupling, which automatically allows electricity to flow from the grid or the solar panels, the DC coupling system gives you the ability to manually control the system and the flow of electricity. The disadvantage of this method is it can’t be programmed. The upside is that you decide when you want power to come from the grid, or flow from the solar panels into the batteries.
  • - Option #3: Storage-Ready Inverter. This option involves adding a storage-ready inverter. This option is best if you live in an area where the power frequently goes out, or you want to power the house the majority of the time with solar power over electricity from the grid. Storage-ready inverters also offer metering and are required if you sell electricity generated by your home’s solar panels to your local power company.

To learn more about integrating solar-battery storage into your solar-powered home, call the experts at The PowerStore, Inc., at 888-244-2979.