Battery Backup & Off Grid Power
You Can Be Prepared! – Solar Battery Backup
Grid-tied solar is wonderful technology, and the lower electric bills and environmental stewardship are meaningful. Adding batteries to your solar system changes the game and adds energy independence to that mix.
With a properly engineered battery backup system, your refrigerator and freezer stay on, the well pump runs, and small appliances can be used. Harsh storms and utility problems can be gotten through much more comfortably. In addition, systems can be designed for long term preparedness to ensure that you have reliable un-interruptible power 24/7 for extended periods of time without utility power.
mtvSolar offers two main types of battery systems: StorEdge/LG and Schneider/DEKA. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses and best applications:
StorEdge/LG is a combination of a SolarEdge “StorEdge” system with an LG Chem lithium battery. These systems have the following major benefits:
-Wall mounted LG Chem lithium battery storing 9.8kWh
-Optimized DC coupled Solar
-10 year battery warranty
-Ideal for smaller critical loads
-SolarEdge states that two batteries can be stacked soon
The downsides are lower surge capacity than equivalent lead acid system and inability to tie in a generator for battery charging. There is also a limit to how big the system can be made as inverter stacking isn’t possible. Lastly, lithium batteries don’t perform well or at all while frozen, so they must be installed in a climate controlled area.
If your goal is to keep your food from spoiling, lights, fans and alarm system operational and to run small appliances such as your coffee pot and toaster, this type of system is perfect for you.
Schneider/DEKA is a system comprising of a Schneider hybrid inverter and lead-acid batteries. These systems have the following major benefits:
-The technology has been around for decades
-Unlimited battery and inverter scalability
-Can fire up anything in your home
-Can tie in a generator for battery charging
The downside is they are labor intensive and more complicated. Lead batteries can’t be fully discharged without damage, so you need more capacity to make up for the power you can’t get out. They are heavy and take up floor space, however we do install the most compact lead technology available. Note that we do not install flooded batteries; therefore there is no danger of dangerous gases or leaking acid.
mtvSolar commonly installs both types of systems. When approached for energy storage, we examine your individual needs including solar array size and shading, loads, required flexibility and autonomy, and then suggest the most appropriate system type.
We highly advise against system designs utilizing only AC coupled battery backup. The primary deficiencies with these systems are no self recovery from exhausted batteries and surges on the output side of the inverter while in backup mode due to how they regulate. We have a blog on this specific topic linked here.
Battery systems are complicated, no matter what type. Don’t let a contractor put a battery in your home if they can’t answer these questions satisfactorily: Questions To Ask Your Contractor. Ready for a free estimate? Click here and a zero-pressure consultant will be in touch promptly.
Other articles you may be interested in include:
Why We Chose The Batteries That We Use
Living On Batteries During An Outage
DC/AC Coupled Design Practices for Battery Systems
Introducing Battery Backup in Two Phases
First LG Battery Backup Has Gone Live (Install Blog)
Charge Your Tesla With Solar Power – Even OffGrid!
A selection of our Battery System installations: http://www.mtvsolar.com/tag/battery-backup/