Battery Storage Systems, Hybrid Systems, Home or Solar Batteries, and Energy Storage Systems (ESS) are all terms used to describe a range of battery products you can buy for your home.
Grid connected battery storage products do vary, but they all have one thing in common. Unlike off-grid systems, these batteries are designed for grid connected homes. They are designed to give you a level of energy independence and control that solar alone cannot provide.
There are solar self-consumption products like the Tesla Powerwall2, designed to drag excess solar in to the night instead of selling back to the grid, and to run selected circuits during blackouts; to higher capacity products like the Autonomy System which can run the entire property, or take you off-grid entirely.
For on grid storage, different brands of battery units will have different functionality. However generally speaking, a grid connect battery system works like this:
Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels convert sunlight to direct current (DC) electricity, which is then fed through the solar inverter to create usable alternating current (AC) electricity. AC electricity is then sent to the switchboard where it goes on to feed any household appliances that happen to be using electricity at the time. Any surplus electricity is then sent to the battery bank to recharge it.
The battery inverter/charger will stop the solar system from recharging the batteries once they are full, and diverts excess solar power not required by your appliances to the mains grid via your meter.
When your solar system is not producing electricity, your battery bank will send power to your household appliances. If the battery bank state-of-charge level gets too low or your loads exceed the batteries maximum output, the inverter/charger will once again allow electricity from the mains grid to take over or supplement.
Some hybrid products can continue powering selective backup circuits during power outages.
How much battery storage capacity to buy is probably your main consideration, but this depends on a few things:
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The Tesla Powerwall2 is perfect for people looking for an economical solar storage product to help reduce power bills and reliance on retailers. It stores 13.5kWh of energy and can deliver 5kW output.
The Autonomy ESS is the highest capacity and most flexible and versatile system available for on grid use. This system provides your building blocks for eventual grid disconnection and off-grid living.