guide on how to set up solar battery power at home
Materials & Tools
l 12V solar panel — or any good 100 watt solar panel
l Solar charge controller
l 150W inverter
To connect charge controller to battery:
To connect inverter to battery:
To connect solar panel to charge controller:
Screwdriver,Only needed if making your own battery cables:Wire cutter,Wire stripper,Wire crimper,Heat gun.
1. Step 1: Understand the Solar Wiring Diagram
Here’s the solar panel wiring diagram for this system:
Here are the main points to understand about it:
A basic solar panel setup consists of 4 main components. These are a battery, solar panel, charge controller, and inverter.
Don’t connect the solar panel directly to the battery. Doing so can damage the battery. You need to instead connect both to a charge controller that regulates the incoming solar energy to safely charge the battery. Most charge controllers require you to connect the battery first and then the solar panel (and reverse this order when doing disconnections). Consult your controller’s manual for the recommended installation order.
Protect your system with a fuse between each connection. Place a fuse between the battery and charge controller, battery and inverter, and solar panel and charge controller (on the positive wires of each connection).
Don’t overdischarge the battery. Some batteries, such as lead acid batteries, don’t have a built-in BMS to protect against overdischarge. Give yourself some cushion when sizing your battery, and monitor your battery’s voltage through the LED indicators on your charge controller.
2. Step-by-step guide to set up solar battery power unit
Step 1: Gather solar power components
It all begins with gathering the basic ingredients of a solar power unit. You will need four major items – solar panels, charge controller, inverter, and a battery pack. In addition to these items, you will require a breaker, meter, MC4 connector, and fuses among other things.
Step 2: Calculate your power load
Before getting to the solar installation task, it is crucial to sum up the power that you use at your home. This isn’t rocket science. All you have to do is to note down the home appliances that you use on a daily basis, which include television, lights, fan, and so on. Next, add the time for which these appliances run in a day. Go through the specification chart in your household electric appliances to check their usage duration or run time, and their power rating.
Now calculate the ‘Watt-Hour’ by multiplying the runtime of an appliance with its power rating. Follow this step for each electrical device, then sum up the individual watt-hour numbers to get the grand total. You can also simplify this calculation by using an online off-grid load calculator.
Step 3: Select and charge the battery
A major hiccup with solar power is that it doesn’t provide electricity when the sun goes down. However, you can easily crack this problem by using a battery. A lead-acid or a lithium-ion battery stores solar power generated during the daytime and discharges it at night. This provides a steady supply of energy, provided you have selected the optimum battery storage capacity. You will need a power controller to monitor your battery’s charging. These come between the panels and the battery. Such controllers are typically fitted with a small LED light that announces the charging state of the battery, and it adjusts the power that flows into the battery.
Step 4: Set up the inverter
Solar arrays produce electricity in direct current (DC), but electrical appliances use power in the form of alternating current (AC). Inverter is a device that saves the day by allowing you to use electrical devices without using adaptors. Inverters come in varying power wattages and types including square wave, modified sine-wave, and pure sine-wave inverters.
Step 5: Fix the solar panels on your roof
Once the battery, controller, and inverters are ready, you need to get started with mounting the solar panels. Select the best spot for the panels on the roof or on open ground that receives an unhindered supply of the sun’s radiation. You can either make a mounting stand yourself or get it from the market. The tilt of the mounting stand should almost be equal to the latitude angle of your location. The proper setting of the solar panels is critical for their operation & maintenance. Hence, it is essential to ensure that the panels face the sun throughout the day.
In the last phase of this step, wire the solar panels. You can trace a small junction box at the back of the solar panel. The junction box has negative and positive signs of polarity. In a large sized-panel, the junction box has terminal wires too with an MC4 connector. However, you will have to align the junction box with external wires yourself if you use small solar panels. Use the black and red wire for negative and positive terminal connections, respectively.
Step 6: Connect the solar panels with battery
You need to connect the solar panels with the battery. In certain PV systems, these come paired together, so you don’t have to put in the additional effort. In cases that are not given as a single unit, you need to make series and parallel connections. You can make a series connection by connecting a device’s positive terminal with another device’s negative terminal. For a parallel connection, you need to connect one device’s negative terminal with another device’s negative terminal and so on.
Step 7: Setup stands for inverter and battery
Your residential solar unit is incomplete without stands for the battery and inverter. Again, you have the option of building the stands or getting them. Once the allocated positions for the inverter and battery are ready, you can start working on the wiring. Start with wiring the controller. The first connection from the left is for connecting the controller with the solar panels. The second connection is for pairing the battery with the controller. The last connection is for connecting the controller to the direct DC load connection.
3. How to prepare your home for solar battery installation
If you already have rooftop panels or if you're planning to install them, here's how to ensure your home and system are ready to add battery storage when you want to.
Find the Right Location
Some batteries are rated for indoor use only, which means they perform best when they're inside and sheltered from the elements.
Before buying a battery, ensure you have a suitable indoor location for it. This might be a garage or an insulated shed. Note: Depending on the construction of your garage and garage door, it can be about 10 to 12 degrees warmer in there than the outdoor temperature.
Install Your Solar Panel System With Battery Storage in Mind
For some homeowners, investing in solar and battery storage is too much of a financial commitment to take on at the same time. But you don't have to make the investment all at once. If you are considering a solar panel installation ahead of a battery installation, be sure to let your installer know this is a possibility, as it can affect how they choose to install and wire your panels.
Understand Your Energy Usage
A common misconception among homeowners is that a single battery storage unit can back-up the whole home in the event of a power failure. While this is possible, you will likely need more batteries to achieve this, which can make the cost of the installation go up accordingly.
Instead, many homeowners buy just one or two batteries and then select which of their appliances are the most essential to keep running during an outage.
Choose Your Essential Loads
Once you understand your energy usage patterns, you can consider which appliances and equipment you need your battery to keep running during a power failure and therefore, those which will form your backed-up or essential loads.
Review Your Energy Bills
Before investing in solar panels, with or without a battery, it's worth digging out your energy bills to understand what pricing plan you're on. That's because there are some utility pricing models where solar and solar-plus-storage can really help you save money. For example, many utilities are starting to charge customers time-of-use rates, which means you pay more or less for your electricity depending on demand.
If you're on a TOU plan, solar-plus-storage allows you to keep your bills down by enabling you to switch from grid electricity to your stored energy during times of peak demand and higher prices.
By taking these simple measures to prepare your home for solar-plus-storage you can save time and money further down the line.
4. 6 Factors that Affect the Solar Battery Price
Solar batteries can significantly increase the value of a solar system for homeowners, particularly for resiliency against grid outages. Since there are multiple options on the market today, solar battery price can vary widely.
Solar Battery Price Factor 1: Capacity
The biggest factor that impacts the price of a solar battery is its capacity – the total amount of energy that it can store. Typically home batteries can store between 10 and 20kWh of electricity.
Solar Battery Price Factor 2: DC vs AC
Solar Battery Price Factor 3: Balance of System (BOS) Equipment
The backup gateway is a device that detects power outages and, when one is detected, isolates the home from the electric grid. In that respect, it’s similar to a transfer switch for a generator. This is a critical component for allowing the solar battery to provide backup power without backfeeding power to the grid.
Critical Loads Panel
Most solar batteries have enough power to back up circuits up to 30amps. Therefore, the majority of battery systems do not back up the entire home, but rather just the circuits that are most important to the homeowner.
Solar Battery Price Factor 4: Labor
Solar Battery Price Factor 5: Miscellaneous
Solar Battery Price Factor 6: Incentives