Solar Battery System Types – AC Vs DC-coupled

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13 October 2020

Energy

AC Vs DC

Before you choose the right solar battery, you first need to learn what AC and DC coupling means. Your solar battery storage system determines how effective your solar air conditioning will be.

There are two main ways to connect your power sources when you add battery storage to your solar energy system. AC and DC are the two main types of voltages used to conduct electricity.

Let’s find out what differentiates these two battery systems.

What is the Difference Between AC and DC Power?

AC stands for Alternating Current, and it means electric power first flows in one direction and then the other. This is the type of electric current on the main grid, and it’s suitable for your solar air-con.

DC power, on the other hand, stands for Direct current, and it means electricity flows in one direction only. This is the electric power that your solar panels generate from sunlight. The energy stored in your home’s solar battery is usually DC power.

Since your solar panels generate DC power and your solar air conditioning and other home appliances need AC power, you need a solar inverter to convert this energy to AC electricity. There are three main types of solar inverters in the market;

Traditional Inverters

This first type of inverter is also known as the central inverter because it draws power from your solar panels. If you have a solar air conditioner at home, you’ll need this kind of converter to keep it running.

It is usually a box that’s installed next to your home’s breaker box. It functions by combining all DC energy from your solar panels and converting it to DC power so that you can use your solar air conditioner Malaysia.

Micro-Inverters

The second type of inverter is an in-built component on individual solar panels. They are small inverters found on the backside of your panels. They allow your panels to individually and independently convert the harnessed DC power to AC energy.

DC-Optimizers

Lastly, we have the DC-optimizers that are devices that also go at the back of individual solar panels. Unlike Micro-inverters, they don’t convert DC to AC. Instead, they optimize conditions to ensure your home’s central inverter has an easy time converting DC to AC power. These converters work in a hybrid solar energy system that includes a traditional central inverter and in-built solar panel inverters.

Is a Battery DC or AC?

Batteries, like solar panels, store and produce DC power. Since your home’s electricity is AC, it means batteries in devices have converters that turn the AC power to DC energy.

DC batteries use the same solar inverters that your home uses to convert the stored DC energy to AC power. AC batteries, on the other hand, have an in-built inverter that directly does the conversion.

AC Vs DC -Storage Architecture

Comparing the strengths and weaknesses of these two battery storage systems helps you choose what is best for your home.

DC-Coupled Systems

The DC-coupled system is designed to connect directly to the main grid the same way as your solar panels. In which case, a hybrid inverter is required to create a synergy between the solar battery and the solar panels.

Strengths

  • There is less energy loss because it’s a one-way conversion.
  • Your system makes you eligible for Net Energy Metering if your solar panels can generate excess energy.
  • It is a simple system which translates to lower costs.
  • It is a smart option for people who’re just beginning their solar energy journey.

Weaknesses

  • If you already have a PV system, incorporating it is complex and costly.

AC-Coupled Systems

The AC-coupled system operates with two solar inverters; a conventional inverter and an additional storage inverter that charges your solar battery. It might seem like a complicated system, but it is very easy to setup. However, as compared to the DC-coupled system, it’s less efficient because it has to be charged.

Strengths

  • It is way more flexible than the DC-coupled system. The inclusion of two inverters allows you to adjust the location of the battery at will.
  • It is compatible with all kinds of solar inverters.
  • It is a cost-effective solution for people that already have a PV system.

Weaknesses

  • The system is slightly less efficient as compared to the DC-coupled system because of the AC-DC-AC conversion.
  • The system will have more points of failure because you’ll have one inverter in a different location.

Which Is Better for your Solar and Storage Needs?

If you already have a solar energy system at home, you should go with the AC-coupled system because it’s flexible and easy to set up. However, if you’re just starting your solar journey, you should go with the DC-coupled system; if you generate excess energy, you get to sell it to the main grid.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the difference between these two solar battery systems helps you make the right purchase. Ensure that you work with a professional who understands what is best for your home. Solar energy systems are here to stay, and you might as well jump on the bandwagon because it’s a system that pays for itself.

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