Can we use solar panels without battery?

If you’re interested in purchasing a new solar system, then you likely have a lot of questions about how the system works and what you will need to suit your individual needs. One question that comes up often is whether or not a solar system needs a battery and how to get solar power without batteries. It’s really a trick question because although most systems don’t use batteries at all, use the electrical grid as a sort of flexible battery storage and on-demand power system. If this makes no sense, that’s fine, because we’re going to explain!

The Grid is like a Giant Battery – Grid-tied solar panel system

We all know that solar panels are only producing energy when they have access to the sun’s rays. Early in the morning (just before sunrise or when sunlight is still faint) and during the evening (when sunlight is fading) are times with lower solar production, but higher energy needs. During Nighttime, clouds you’ll need a lot of power, but when solar panel production is just getting momentum or tapering off. During these times people with solar power often draw power from the grid, which acts as a giant energy backup system. When the sun’s shining you use your fresh, solar-generated power when it’s not you draw from the grid. This kind of setup is called a grid-tied system. This could be considered a way to “store energy” without needing a battery system. You’ll probably produce even more energy than you need midday when the sun is shining fully. If you live in a state with net energy metering, you can send that excess power back to the grid and earn credit. This is essentially “storing” that energy on the grid to use later. When you need power at night, your system kicks into reverse and pulls the power you need. Even if you don’t produce extra electricity, you can still pull from the grid if you’re connected to it.

If you have your own battery installed, you don’t need the grid much, if at all. You store your own energy and pull from that. The grid is a backup to the backup.

When a Battery is Most Useful- Hybrid solar systems

A battery backup system might come in handy the most for people who live in areas with an unreliable power grid and Live in a region with a lot of natural disasters

If you simply like the idea of being completely independent of the grid or using 100% clean energy, a battery is probably your answer. While it would be nice to only pull your own clean energy back from the grid, that’s not necessarily how it works. When you pull grid power, it’s from a general pool, which could include sources from fossil fuel plants.

Hybrid systems are solar panels with battery banks and grid connections all working in concert together. The batteries are set to maximize using your own solar power (for some savings in Time of Use rate areas) and are available for when the grid goes down. In normal scenarios, if your own solar and battery generation isn’t enough, you’ll have grid power to draw from.

When a Battery is Required- Off-grid solar panel system

If you live in a remote, isolated area without a central utility grid, you will need a battery storage device to capture your solar generation for later use. This is essential if you want to have the lights on at night when your system isn’t generating.

When You Might Not Need a Solar Battery

If you’re fine withdrawing from the grid and not particularly worried about power outages, you might not need a battery.

A typical solar battery’s storage capacity is sized to provide electricity to critical loads for about one or two days in case of a power outage. So, while a solar battery could smooth out that power loss, it’s a matter of weighing the cost of a battery versus the benefits to you.

Using solar power alone without energy storage and just pulling from the grid will still significantly reduce your carbon footprint. But if you’re bothered by the idea of pulling power from fossil fuel plants at all, another option is selecting to use only renewable energy sources from your utility company when your panels aren’t producing. These renewable programs aren’t available everywhere yet, so check with your utility provider to see if it’s an option for you.

Lastly, although batteries themselves can qualify you for state rebates, such as Australia’s STCs, some state, and local rebates and incentive rates are only available for systems connected to the grid. So, if you were counting on tax breaks and incentives, make sure you know whether or not you qualify if you go completely off-grid.

If you get a battery and stay connected to the grid, you’ll still qualify. Just be sure you understand the stipulations of any programs you’d like to take advantage of before taking the leap from grid-reliance.

You can have both

After what you’ve read so far, it might seem like we think batteries are a bad idea. They aren’t a bad idea, but the financials behind purchasing and maintaining a battery system don’t necessarily make it a good idea unless you must have the security of a battery backup or you are living in an extremely remote setting.

The good news is that you can have both! Assuming that you have the money to spare, it is possible to install a new system, tie it to the grid, and then purchase a battery backup system. This scenario will allow the maximum amount of redundancy and security if you are genuinely worried about having solar power without batteries.

Hopefully, by this point, you understand the importance of having energy storage for your solar system and have decided whether or not you need batteries for your current or planned setup.

In this article, we have discussed it to help you who want to buy a solar system. Be sure to talk to a local installer or other professional before you go to any purchases. They will be able to give you more information about your particular situation and help you to understand if installing solar panels without batteries is a good idea.

If you have any questions about any of this, feel free to ask away!

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