Solar Battery System Types Explained

Solar Storage Energy Diagram
17th March 2021

Many of us simply ask what do the different Solar Battery System types mean?

You’ve seen the literature and technical spec from many manufacturers. However, most of us aren’t that ‘technical’ and my not fully understand the information we see. 

  • DC coupled systems – Off-grid
  • AC coupled systems – Off-grid
  • AC coupled Battery Systems – Grid-tie
  • DC coupled Hybrid Systems – Grid-tie

We’ve compiled this explainer to help you understand the differences between each Solar Battery System Type in laymans terms. Our guide will help clarify and better understand why we have four Solar Battery System types and moreover, which you may need.

Firstly, the difference between AC and DC. 

  • (AC) stands for Alternating Current. This means the current flows rapidly forward and backwards.
  • (DC) stands for Direct Current. The current only flows in one direction.

So, why does are the different types of current used for?

Both (AC) and (DC) are widely used, but do have differing characteristics and purposes.

(AC) Alternating Current is used for power supply and distribution. This is what your power company uses to operate the grid. It is also used for heating, electrical equipment, motors and AC Coupled Solar batteries.

You will find that the majority of electrical appliances operate on AC current. This is why all homes and businesses have mains sockets that use (AC) providing power whenever it’s needed.

(DC) Direct current, DC is more widely used in many areas such as electronics boards. 

We’ve listed some below:

  • Batteries – Non-Chargeable and Re-Chargeable batteries can use (DC)
  • Solar Panels – Solar panels directly produce (DC). A device called an ‘Inverter’ is then required to convert the (DC) from the panels, into (AC) which can then be used within the home.
  • Electronic Equipment – Although many are powered by (AC) mains. Equipment such as computers, radios and mobile phones use (DC) to power their circuits. A power supply unit within the device converts the incoming (AC) to (DC) at the right voltage. 

Why do Solar Batteries come as AC or DC? 

As we’ve mentioned earlier, (AC) and (DC) have different characteristics’ and uses. This is also reflected in their use within the Solar Battery Industry.

DC Coupled Systems – Off Grid

Off grid installations have historically used a DC Coupled arrangement. They commonly use Solar Charge Controllers or Solar Regulators, to charge a battery from the Solar. This is used in addition to a battery inverter to supply AC power to the household appliances from the batteries. The battery inverter is normally able to manage a connected generator or local electricity grid to assist with the load or charge the batteries. 

Read more about DC coupled systems by clicking here

AC Coupled Systems – Off Grid

Usually reserved for larger scale off grid systems, (AC) uses a ‘solar string inverter’. A string inverter works by arranging your solar panels into groups connected into a ‘string’. This is usually coupled with a Multi-Mode Battery inverter. This type of inverter can manage the connected string inverters to feed the loads/ charge the batteries, and will also discharge the batteries to feed the load when the solar is insufficient. It can also manage a connected generator or local electricity grid to assist with the loads or charge the batteries. 

Read more about AC coupled systems by clicking here

AC Coupled Battery Systems – Grid-tied

(AC) batteries are a more recent addition to the Solar Battery range. They are perfect for grid connected homes who already have Solar Installations. Retrofitting these battery systems is a very quick and easy way to add Solar Battery storage to your existing Solar. They typically contain an inverter and charger within a compact unit, and use your existing solar system to charge your battery.

Read more about AC coupled Battery systems by clicking here

DC Coupled Hybrid Systems – Grid-tied

DC coupled Hybrid systems are frequently referred to as a grid tied DC Coupled Solar Battery Systems. These complete systems usually comprise of a Multi-Mode Inverter or Hybrid inverter, which is used to manage both the solar system and the battery within a single unit. 

Read more about DC coupled systems by clicking here

We hope this give you a brief introduction in to the world of Solar System Battery types. Click on the above links to visit pages on each type where we go into a little more technical information alongside visual diagrams.

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