Can I have a battery if my house has existing solar?
Absolutely! You can add a battery to an existing solar system. A home with existing solar will be equipped with an inverter. The role of an inverter is to take the solar electricity and invert (or convert) it into the type of electricity your house needs.
The choices are to take the existing inverter off and install a hybrid inverter or to stay with the inverter you’ve already got and add a battery inverter. The second option is what people usually choose, for good reason. Approvals can be more straightforward, and it’s also often less expensive to keep the existing inverter and purchase a battery with a battery inverter.
What if my house doesn’t have solar?
If you don’t have solar, go straight to a hybrid inverter. That way, you’ll have just one inverter box on the wall rather than two. Hybrid inverters can be directly connected to a battery, managing inputs from solar panels and the battery. They can charge batteries with power from the sun or the electricity grid.
How much backup do you need?
Another consideration is whether you should back up your house. During a blackout, do you want the ability to power your entire house with a full backup, or do you want partial backup – perhaps just the kitchen circuit, including the fridge, some lights, and a few power points?
If you’ve got a pool pump, you probably don’t want your battery to keep running during a blackout, so partial backup is often a good option. Many choose to go with no backup at all. The default, or the no backup arrangement, allows you to get the maximum value out of the solar electricity you’ve generated, but it’s connected to the grid directly.
If the grid goes down, the systems must be safe, so the battery will stop powering the house if there isn’t any backup. But, for a little extra cost, you can do a partial or full backup.
What battery suits you best?
Buyers should look at how much electricity they use and how much excess electricity their solar system generates. That way, you can be sure you match the battery to your energy environment.
If the battery is too large, the solar system will rarely be able to charge it fully. If it’s too small, the return on your investment will be reduced as you’ll be sending much of the power you’ve generated back to the grid. It’s important, therefore, to ensure your battery is the right size for your system and situation.
What are the leading brands?
LG Storage makes fantastic batteries and has for a long time. They’re one of the biggest battery manufacturers in the world. People like their batteries because they’re a recognisable and trusted brand, and their batteries come in a range of sizes to suit each customer’s situation.
Tesla Powerwalls are versatile and can be used on homes with or without existing solar. Powerwalls come with their own battery inverter, so using a lower-cost hybrid inverter isn’t an option with Tesla.
There are numerous options from major electronics companies, including Samsung, Sony and Panasonic, and well–known battery manufacturers such as BYD. That’s why a certain amount of research is vital before making your home battery smart.
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