Grid Tied Plus Storage

Grid-Tied System With Battery Backup

A grid-tied solar power system that is also connected to the grid and has battery-backup or storage system.

If your business or home is considering solar but you absolutely can’t suffer an outage, a grid-tied solar system with a battery backup could be a great option for you. With a battery backup system, you’ll be able to run the essentials: lights, computers, refrigerator, television and even heating (depending on battery size).

You will also save more with a battery backup system. Your battery stores up energy during off-peak hours and puts it to use when electricity costs are high during peak hours. It works for you — even when it’s not an emergency. It’s like creating your own micro-grid.

We are often asked how the cost of adding a battery backup compares to non-battery options. Opting for battery backup can add about 30-60 percent to the overall cost of your solar project. This is primarily due to the cost of the battery and other necessary equipment.

The battery storage serves multiple purpose, firstly it provides backup power during power outage and blackouts. But more importantly, it allows customer to use their battery storage at peak rate hours and re-charge it from Grid when the Utilities rates are lower. This is very common solution for places where Utilities charge their customer tier rate and/or if there is a Solar export limit or if there is no net-metering option available. Battery system are little higher in cost due to additional cost of batteries as well as labor and complex design and safety code requirement.

The are two major type of battery storage system commonly refer as DC-couple and AC couple system. The DC couple systems are more efficient since these systems has less component and least amount of energy conversion from DC to AC and or AC to DC. These systems mostly installed outright as a new system. The most common, economical, and reliable system is SolarEdge system with LG chem Lithium Ion battery. It is very efficient, robust, and high-quality system since both companies, i.e. SolarEdge and LG have been making these system for decades.

Another question we frequently receive: “What if I already have a grid-tied system? Can I add a battery backup to it?”

This is determined on a case-by-case basis. Our technicians evaluate the existing system and make a decision based on a few different factors. For example, if your system was designed a long time ago and is not compatible, it would require extensive work. Many newer systems are very easy to work with, though. Don’t hesitate to contact Solora Solar to learn what we can do for you.

The retrofitting and add battery to existing system also known as AC-couple system, meaning if customer already has a Grid-tied system, and now want to add battery storage, then this would be the best option instead of replacing and installing a complete new system, since the retrofit will only require battery inverter such as Outback, SolArk or Schneider inverter with battery bank such as Outback battery, or Lithium Ion SimpliFi batteries.

There are couple of other options available with AC-coupling, such as Enphase Encharge system or Tesla Powerwall. Both systems can be installed as outright new system or can be retro-fit with some existing grid-tied systems. Please check with our Sales department if existing system can qualify for retrofit storage option.

The Enphase option is probably the simplest and straight forward system specially if customer already have an Enphase inverter grid-tied system and wants to add battery backup. The Encharge system can be added to existing Enphase system seamlessly with very few additional components.

Tesla Powerwall option can work with most string inverter without additional battery inverter since battery pack has its own battery inverter, although Tesla Powerwall can have longer lead time sometime up to twelve weeks.

While grid-tied systems with battery storage offer more flexibility, they are not without disadvantages. Charging and discharging batteries reduces the overall efficiency of the system and these systems are more complex to design and install and therefore more expensive.
Solora Solar has designed and installed several of these systems all over Washington State.

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