Essential Clean Energy Guides

Solar Batteries: Your Comprehensive Guide

In the move towards greener living, solar power is a key player. At the heart of this shift are home solar batteries, which let us store solar energy for later use. This guide will introduce you to the basic knowledge when buying solar batteries, including how they work, the types you can choose from, and their benefits.

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This guide focuses exclusively on solar batteries. To understand how a solar power system works and provides clean energy for your home, read our Solar PV System guide.

Picture of the front left of a SolarEdge home battery

Understanding Home Solar Batteries

Home solar batteries are designed to store excess energy generated by solar panels during the day, making this power available for use at night or during periods when the sun isn't shining. This technology enables homeowners to maximise the use of their solar energy system, ensuring that the clean, renewable power they generate doesn't go to waste.

At the core of a home solar battery system is the principle of energy storage and release. During daylight hours, solar panels capture sunlight and convert it into electricity. Often, this energy production exceeds the immediate needs of the home. The solar battery stores this excess power instead of sending it back to the grid.

Later, when the solar panels aren't producing electricity (such as at night or on cloudy days), the stored energy can be drawn from the battery to power the home, reducing or even eliminating reliance on the grid.

Backup or no backup

The idea that having home solar battery storage means you'll always have backup power is a common misunderstanding. While many home batteries do provide backup, the level of backup you get can vary a lot. It depends on how much power the battery can store, how much energy your home uses, and how the system is set up.

Not all batteries are powerful enough to run everything in your home during a power cut. Some might only support essential items like lights and a wifi and a TV. Also, the way the battery is connected to your home's electrical system matters. Some systems might need you to switch them on manually when there's a power cut, and others might not power all parts of your home.

It's also important to choose the right company to install your battery. A good installer will understand these complexities and can help ensure your battery system meets your needs for backup power. They'll take into account your home's energy use, the battery's capabilities, and how to set it all up correctly.

What does AC and DC Coupled mean?

When integrating solar batteries into a solar energy system, the choice between AC (Alternating Current) and DC (Direct Current) coupled systems is crucial. Each has its advantages and specific applications, impacting how efficiently solar energy is stored and used.

DC Coupled Systems:

DC coupling involves connecting the solar panels directly to the battery system via a charge controller. This setup is efficient in terms of energy conversion, as it avoids the double conversion process (DC to AC, then back to DC) that occurs in AC coupled systems.

Energy is stored directly in the battery from the solar panels without needing to convert it, making this method more efficient for direct solar energy storage. DC coupled systems are often simpler and less expensive to install, making them an attractive option for new installations or systems primarily designed for off-grid use.

AC Coupled Systems:

AC coupling involves connecting the solar panels to an inverter, which converts the DC electricity generated by the panels into AC electricity for home use. The battery is also connected to an inverter to store energy in AC form. This method is versatile, allowing for the integration of batteries into existing solar panel systems without modifying the original setup.

It's particularly beneficial for grid-tied systems and can provide more flexibility in terms of scaling and upgrading. However, the double conversion process can result in slightly lower overall efficiency compared to DC systems.


Efficiency: DC coupled systems are generally more efficient due to direct storage of DC electricity, avoiding energy loss through conversion.

Installation: DC systems are simpler and often cheaper to install, ideal for new or off-grid installations. AC systems, however, offer easier integration into existing grid-tied solar setups.

Flexibility: AC coupled systems are more adaptable if you want to add more batteries later or if you're adding batteries to a solar system you already have. They make it easier to grow or change your system as needed.

Ultimately, the choice between AC and DC coupled solar batteries depends on the specific needs of the homeowner, including the current solar installation, energy usage patterns, and budget considerations.

Consider Energy vs Power

In the context of a home battery system, understanding the difference between energy and power is crucial for choosing the right system for your needs and for using it effectively.

Energy is the total amount of electricity that a battery can store and provide over time, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). It's like the size of your fuel tank – it tells you how much fuel (in this case, electricity) you can store.

A battery with a higher energy capacity can power your home for longer periods without needing to recharge. For example, if you have a battery with a capacity of 10 kWh, it could supply 1 kilowatt (kW) of electricity for 10 hours, or 2 kW for 5 hours, and so on.

Power, on the other hand, is the rate at which the battery can deliver or charge from that stored energy, measured in kilowatts (kW). It's akin to the power of your car's engine – it determines how fast you can use the energy. A battery with a higher power rating can run more appliances simultaneously or charge/discharge more quickly. For instance, a 5 kW battery can deliver enough power to run a few large appliances at once (like a fridge and a washing machine), but a 10 kW battery could handle much more at the same time.

When choosing a home battery:

Consider energy capacity (kWh) to ensure it has enough storage to meet your energy needs over a certain period, especially during power outages or when you want to maximise your use of solar energy at night.

Look at the power rating (kW) to make sure it can handle your highest power demands at any one time, allowing you to run multiple appliances simultaneously without issues.

Balancing these two factors according to your home's energy consumption patterns and your objectives for solar storage will help you select the most appropriate and efficient battery system. Most of all, ensure you choose a Solar Installer who understands the complexities of installing battery systems.

Solar Battery Chemistry

Lithium-ion batteries, widely used in various applications including electric vehicles and solar batteries, come in different types based on their chemical composition. Each type has distinct characteristics, affecting energy density, longevity, safety, and cost. Here's a brief overview of the two main types used for home energy storage:

  1. Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (LiNiMnCoO2 or NMC): Offering a balance between high energy density, longer lifespan, and better safety, NMC batteries are popular in electric vehicles and energy storage systems. They are versatile and widely regarded as a good all-around choice. Brands that use NMC chemistry include the Tesla Powerwall 2 and SolarEdge Home.
  2. Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFP): Characterised by its excellent thermal stability and safety, this type has a lower energy density but offers a significantly longer lifespan. It's commonly used in applications where safety and longevity are priorities, such as in stationary home energy storage systems and some electric vehicles. Brands that use LFP chemistry include sonnenBatterie Evo, SunPower Reserve and Enphase IQ.

Each type of lithium-ion battery offers a unique set of advantages and trade-offs, making them suitable for different applications based on the specific requirements for energy density, safety, lifespan, and cost.


In summary, this guide has given you a thorough look into home solar batteries, showing how they can help you save money, reduce your carbon footprint, and become more energy-independent. We've covered how solar batteries work, the different types available, and the benefits they offer.

Choosing the right battery involves understanding the balance between backup power needs, the difference between AC and DC systems, and the importance of energy capacity versus power output. We've also touched on the types of battery chemistries available, like Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) and Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP), each with its own pros and cons.

Remember, the key to a successful solar battery setup is selecting the right installer who can guide you through these choices based on your specific needs. This guide aims to empower you with the knowledge to make informed decisions for a greener, more sustainable home energy solution.

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Start your journey towards a greener future today

Our expert team excels in renewables and energy-saving solutions. We offer comprehensive advice and information to help you confidently start your journey into renewable energy.

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