DIY Solar Battery Backup – What You Need and Mistakes to Avoid
Updated: July 10, 2023
DIY Solar Battery Backup – What You Need and Mistakes to Avoid
While it goes without saying that you will need a high-capacity battery bank if you are planning to build an off-grid solar power system, many people forget that you can also add a battery backup to a grid-tied system.
A solar battery backup can act as an emergency power supply in the event that the grid fails, or it can simply allow you to access free and environmentally-friendly electricity during peak hours when electricity prices are raised.
All you need to do to create your own DIY solar battery backup is invest in one or more deep cycle solar batteries, as well as the other necessary components needed to allow those batteries to work efficiently.
If you are in an area that has an unreliable electrical grid, or you live somewhere that is susceptible to severe weather conditions, investing in a solar battery backup is one of the best decisions you can make. To help you build your own DIY solar battery backup, we are going to go over everything you will need, as well as list some common mistakes that you should try to avoid.
The Benefits of Adding a Solar Battery Backup to Your Solar Power System
Adding a solar battery backup to your existing system will offer plenty of financial benefits. When your solar panels are overproducing, or you have excess solar electricity, you can store it in batteries for emergency situations and for use when net metering prices are at their highest.
Unless you are running a fully off-grid system, where the electricity stored in your solar batteries is the only power you have access to, adding a solar battery backup to a grid-tied solar power system creates what is often known as a hybrid system.
Hybrid Solar Power Systems:
Essentially, a hybrid solar power system is a combination of a grid-tied system and an off-grid system.
You get the financial benefits and the flexibility you get with a grid-tied system, but also the added benefits of a reliable power storage system that will allow you to access solar electricity at your convenience.
Hybrid systems are connected to the grid, meaning the owner can choose to feed solar electricity into the grid for cash rebates and monthly discounts from the local utility company, but they also store some of the electricity in one or more solar batteries, for emergencies and use during peak hours.
For the average homeowner, it makes sense to maintain a connection with a local utility company, as satisfying all of your electricity needs with only solar power can be difficult, unless you own a massive plot of land that receives plenty of direct sunlight. Hybrid systems allow you to keep this connection, so you can feed into and draw from the grid, but you also get the benefits of a solar battery backup.
These solar-plus-storage systems allow you to get the maximum financial benefit from solar power by avoiding peak electricity prices.
What Do You Need to Build a Solar Power System with a Battery Backup?
Given that grid-tied systems are often the most cost-efficient types of solar power systems to install, it is no wonder that they are incredibly popular. If you currently run a grid-tied power system, you will be happy to learn that it is actually quite easy and affordable to retrofit your existing system with a solar battery backup.
If you do not currently have a solar power system, but you are looking to invest in one, we will explain how you can easily add a solar battery backup to any system you end up building.
The basic components you will need in order to equip your solar power system with a battery bank are as follows:
- An appropriate charge controller
- A solar power inverter
- One or more deep cycle solar batteries
- The necessary cables, mounts, and connectors
The charge controller plays a vital role in any solar storage system. While the main purpose of a charge controller is to regulate the flow of electricity from the solar panels to the battery bank and prevent overcharging issues, the more advanced charge controllers also prevent battery drain, which occurs when electricity flows from the battery to the solar panels when they are no longer producing electricity.
The power inverter, which you will be familiar with if you are currently operating a grid-tied system, converts the DC power your solar panels generate into AC power, which is required to power your electronic devices and appliances. Using a power inverter with a solar battery backup ensures that the electricity stored within your batteries can actually be used for charging and running your electronic devices and appliances.
Deep cycle batteries are specifically designed to handle the repeated charging and discharging that occurs when you are using solar power. Where other high-capacity batteries, like those you would find in your car, are designed to provide a quick burst of power, deep cycle solar batteries are meant to be used as a power bank that can supply a steady flow of electricity to any electronic device or appliance that is drawing power from them.
How to Build a DIY Solar Battery Storage
Calculate Your Load and Select Your Batteries:
Now that you know what you will need, you can actually assemble and install your DIY solar battery storage. The first step is calculating the amount of electricity you will need to store. By calculating your load, you will be able to figure out how many batteries your storage system will require.
Use our Solar Watt Hour Load Calculator to determine your storage needs. From there, select the number and type of batteries you will need to satisfy your load requirements.
You will be able to find exactly what you need by browsing our Deep Cycle Solar Battery Collection, which contains 12V, 24V, and 48V solar batteries from some of the most reputable brands in the industry
If you are looking to build a budget-friendly solar battery storage bank, we recommend taking a look at the BattleBorn 100Ah 12V Deep Cycle Battery. This lithium-ion solar battery can be 100% discharged, charges quickly and efficiently, features a built-in battery management system, and it is available at a low price. Best of all, it can be stacked, meaning you can connect numerous batteries to build a high-capacity battery bank for your solar power system.
Choose a Charge Controller:
The charge controller will regulate the voltage and current coming from your solar panels, so it is necessary to choose one that allows your solar power system to operate optimally at all times.
MPPT charge controllers tend to have the greatest level of efficiency, but they are also more expensive than the less complicated PWM options. Find the perfect charge controller for your particular battery bank and solar panel combination by shopping our Charge Controller Collection. We carry a wide range of both MPPT and PWM charge controllers with wide variety of different amp ratings.
Select a Power Inverter:
You will want a power inverter that has a power rating that is equal or more than the total load in watts of your system. This will ensure your system runs efficiently and the power stored within your batteries will be the correct type of current for your needs.
You will be able to find a wide variety of solar power inverters, as well as useful information about selecting the right inverter voltage for your battery bank by browsing our Solar Power Inverter Collection.
Wire Everything Together:
The first component you are going to wire is the charge controller. Most charge controller instruction manuals will tell you to connect the device to the batteries first, as this will allow it to get calibrated to the correct voltage for your batteries. Once it is connected properly, your charge controller’s indicator light should activate and tell you the charge status of your batteries.
Now you can connect your solar panels to the charge controller. Again, follow the steps as outlined in the charge controller’s instruction manual. From there, you simply have to connect the system to your power inverter, which will ensure your batteries are storing AC power, rather than DC power.
Mistakes to Avoid
Some of the most common mistakes people make when introducing a DIY solar battery storage to their solar power system is forgetting to make sure that each of the components they have purchased are compatible and operate at the same voltage.
People will also underestimate their actual power needs, which is why it is so important to do a proper load calculation before you select the number and type of deep cycle batteries you are going to purchase.
Some people will also purchase a low-quality and low voltage charge controller in an effort to save money. While these low voltage PWM charge controllers are cheaper, many of the higher voltage MPPT charge controllers are multi-voltage capable, meaning they can handle any voltage and can adapt with your system as you expand it.
It is also important to read your instruction manuals and seek out help when you are unsure of what to do. Rather than risk damaging your solar equipment, do your research. While you can certainly install a solar battery backup on your own, you should always take the time to make sure you know what you are doing.
Building a DIY solar battery backup does not have to be complicated or overly expensive. By selecting the correct components for your needs and wiring everything together with care, you can quickly and easily enjoy the freedom of accessing solar power at your convenience.
If you have any questions about building a solar battery backup, or any other questions relating to solar power, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always here to help!
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