Batteries Coupled: DC or AC? How Should Your Decision Be Made?
The most difficult decision these days is which solar energy storage system to install at home because of the rising demand for energy storage batteries. Which is a better option, an AC-coupled battery storage system or a DC-coupled battery storage system, if you wish to retrofit and upgrade your current solar power system?
We must first help you grasp the differences between an AC-coupled battery storage system and a DC-coupled battery storage system, as well as their key characteristics before we can respond to your query.
The term “alternating current,” or AC, refers to a type of current that, unlike direct current (DC), which flows straight from positive to negative, changes direction over time. Because AC can transport electricity more efficiently, it is used in household appliances that we use daily. In essence, photovoltaic solar panels generate direct current (DC) electricity, which is also stored in DC form within the solar energy storage system.
An AC-coupled battery storage system: what is it?
We now know that solar systems generate DC electricity; but, to power commercial and residential appliances, we must convert this DC electricity to AC electricity. This is where AC-linked battery systems come into play. A new hybrid inverter system must be installed between the solar battery system and the solar panels if you choose to employ an AC-coupled system. The solar panels do not need to be connected directly to the storage batteries; instead, they can be connected to the hybrid inverter system, which can convert the DC and AC electricity from the solar batteries.
How Do Batteries Connected to an AC Source Operate?
How an AC coupling operates is that it has both a battery-powered system and a photovoltaic power system. Either of these two systems can function independently of the other without interfering with it, or they can be split off from the grid to create a micro-grid system.
DC solar energy from the solar panels travels to the solar inverter in an AC-coupled system, where it is converted to AC electricity. Your home appliances or another converter that transforms the AC power back into DC power for battery system storage can then use it. For any electricity stored in an AC-coupled system to be used in your home, it must be reversed three times: first from the panel to the inverter, then from the inverter to the storage battery, and lastly from the storage battery to your appliances.
What are AC-coupled battery storage systems' advantages and disadvantages?
Cons: Inefficient use of energy conversion. Much more energy is lost during the three conversion stages required to deliver electricity from the PV panel to your household appliance than with DC-coupled batteries.
Advantages include simplicity, ease of installation (AC-coupled batteries require no modifications to an existing system), higher compatibility, and the ability to charge solar batteries and the grid simultaneously. This last feature allows you to draw power backup from the grid if your solar panels aren’t producing any electricity.
What is a battery storage system that is DC-coupled?
DC storage systems integrate solar energy with a battery inverter, in contrast to AC-side storage systems. The solar batteries can be linked directly to the PV panels, and the energy from the storage battery system is then delivered to individual home appliances via a hybrid inverter, avoiding the need for additional equipment between the solar panels and the storage batteries.
How Does A DC-coupled Battery Storage System Work?
The DC coupling operates on the following principle: the battery is charged by the MPPT controller when the PV system is operating; the load of the home energy storage battery determines the amount of current that is released when the appliance load demands electricity.
In a DC-coupled storage system, DC solar energy travels straight from the photovoltaic panel to the home storage battery system. DC-coupled solar batteries, on the other hand, only need one power conversion as opposed to three. It charges the battery with DC power from the solar panel.
What Drawbacks and Advantages Can DC-coupled Battery Storage Systems Offer?
Cons: Installing DC-coupled batteries can be challenging, particularly for retrofitting pre-existing solar power systems. Additionally, proper communication between the inverter systems and the storage batteries you buy is necessary to guarantee that the batteries charge and discharge at the desired multiplication rates.
Advantages: Less energy is lost and a higher conversion efficiency thanks to the system’s single DC and AC conversion process. Additionally, it works better with recently installed solar systems. DC-coupled systems fit into smaller installation locations and require fewer solar modules.
Which Is Better: DC Coupled or AC Coupled Battery Storage?
- Comparison of costs
From an economical perspective, the controller is less expensive than the grid-connected inverter, and the switching switch is less expensive than the distribution cabinet. Additionally, the DC coupling program can be converted into an integrated control inverter, saving money on equipment and installation.
- A comparison of the application
DC coupling system: the connection is less flexible but tighter because the controller, battery, and inverter are all serial components. The design of the energy storage system can be decided based on demand rather than being directly related to the PV system. A DC coupling system is therefore more appropriate. However, the power of a system with a DC connection is often less than 500kW, therefore a larger system with an AC coupling has superior control.
- Comparison of efficiency
When it comes to PV usage efficiency, the two programs differ in certain ways. For example, if a user has a higher load during the day and a lower load at night, the AC coupling arrangement works better. PV modules can achieve an efficiency of over 96% when connected directly to the load power supply through a grid-connected inverter. In cases where the user experiences a lower load during the day and a higher load at night, it is preferable to utilize DC coupling, where the PV module stores electricity to the battery through the controller; this can result in an efficiency of over 95%.
In conclusion, several elements determine whether an AC or DC battery storage system is best for you, including
- Is it a retrofitted storage system or a newly designed system?
- When installing an existing system, are the appropriate connections left open?
- What is the size/power of your system, or what is the desired size?
- Do you wish to keep your options open and be able to operate the system without the need for a solar battery storage system?
Utilize Solar Batteries at Home to Boost Efficiency
Both solar battery system types are suitable for off-grid and backup power applications; however, an inverter intended for standalone use is required. One might choose to expand their PV self-consumption by selecting either an AC or DC battery storage solution. With a home solar battery system, you may use the solar energy that is already stored in the system even when there isn’t any sunlight. This gives you greater control over when you consume electricity and less reliance on the public grid and growing market rates. Therefore, by raising your percentage of self-consumption, you can lower your electricity bill.
Are solar panels with lithium-ion battery storage also on your list of things to consider? Obtain a free consultation right now. Since quality is our priority at BSLBATT LITHIUM, we exclusively utilize premium modules from leading LiFePo4 battery manufacturers like BYD or CATL. Being a home battery manufacturer, we’ll identify the best option for storing your AC or DC batteries.