Solar Batteries

What are they and how do they work?

What Batteries do.

What do batteries do?

Essentially batteries store unused energy produced by your solar panels, to be used overnight, in times of inclement weather or when power is charged at premium rates (Time-of-Use tariff customers). Batteries are a sustainable way to create your own energy supply rather than relying on energy from the grid (Ergon, Energex etc). 

Batteries are a logical extension of solar power systems and are increasing in popularity at a staggering rate. 

Why Install a Solar Battery?

Blue number 1 in circle. Electrical Sensations Toowoomba

Less dependent on the grid

The main purpose of solar batteries is to store your excess solar power generated through the day time. It can then be used while the sun isn’t shining. That means you are less dependent on grid power and more energy selfsufficient.

Blue number 2 in circle. Electrical Sensations Toowoomba

Blackout Protection

You want to have ‘blackout protection’, which can be a big advantage for many households in areas where the grid reliability is not fantastic. Be aware that not all batteries can provide power in a blackout.

Blue number 3 in circle. Electrical Sensations Toowoomba

Reduce TIME-OF-USE TARIFF costs

For customers on the time-of-use tariff, installing a solar battery can be an effective way to save money by using the battery when power prices are at their highest. 

Battery Storage FAQs

Can I add batteries to my existing solar system?

Yes, you can!  Although, there are a lot of factors to consider.  Firstly need to have enough panels to produce extra power to charge the batteries, or enough space on the roof to add additional panels.  You also need permission from Ergon/Energex and a suitable location for the batteries to be installed. There are ‘all-in-one’ solutions available, such as the SonnenBatterie and Tesla PowerWall, that have the battery as well as the inverter/charger/controller in one enclosure.  There are a lot of details to get right when designing hybrid solar power systems. It isn’t as easy as grabbing any cheap batteries off eBay and hooking them up. If you are considering batteries, give us a call. We are more than happy to go through the options for batteries with you. 

What does 'grid-connected' mean?

Grid-connected means that the solar power system is connected to the electricity grid (the Ergon/Energex network) that currently supplies you with power. At night time and in periods of inclement weather, you will be buying power from your electricity supplier if your solar power system is not producing enough power to meet your consumption.

What's the difference between 'hybrid' and 'off-grid' systems?

Both hybrid and off-grid/standalone systems contain solar and batteries, however hybrid solar systems are connected to the grid (Ergon, Energex etc). In off-grid/standalone systems, they are not connected to the grid and use a generator as a backup electricity supply instead. 

Can all batteries supply power in a black–out?

This one is a common misconception. Not all batteries have the ability to supply power in a blackout. 

If that is something that is important to you, make sure you mention it to your designer so provisions can be made and the appropriate products recommended.

Things to look out for

Off grid (standalone) solar power system. Featuring BYD Batteries, Fronius Inverter and Selectronic Inverter. Installed by Electrical Sensations Toowoomba
Nigel Phillips and Blake standing in front of Electrical Sensations ute in Toowoomba
  • Not all batteries can provide power in a blackout. If that is something that is important to you, it is imperative to make that known to your designer from the outset.
  • Know that there is a difference between the ‘nominal capacity’ and ‘usable capacity’ of a battery. Most batteries keep some energy in a kind of ‘reserve’ to avoid being damaged. The usable capacity is the number that matters and is typically around 90% Of the nominal capacity.
  • Be aware that every battery has a limit to the amount of power it can output at any one time. So, if you plan to use your air-con, oven, microwave, clothes drier (for example) at the same time, your battery will not keep up and you will be buying the excess from the grid. Staggering high usage items will result in the more efficient use of your batteries.
  • Having a battery doesn’t mean you are offgrid. The vast majority of solar and battery systems will maintain a grid connection to give you the power you need to get through the bad weather days or periods of increased consumption. For offgrid systems think remote locations where getting power to the block is not possible, practical or economically viable.