The Ins and Outs of AC Coupling and DC Coupling
Solar battery technology has continued to advance in the past few years. With this, we have seen more and more solar battery products enter the market. To best understand the full breadth of these new products, it’s key to realize how they fit into the rest of the solar system. This is where coupling comes in. In the latest installment of our energy storage series, we will discuss what AC and DC Coupling is and the benefits that these battery systems provide.
What is AC Coupling?
AC coupling refers to installing the solar battery within a PV system after the inverter converts the DC solar energy into AC electricity. AC coupled systems require a dedicated battery inverter to process AC electricity to DC electricity to charge the battery. AC-coupled batteries are a new, innovative technology that offers in-depth monitoring and control of the battery system. AC-coupled systems were developed as a way for batteries to be easily added to a pre-existing solar system, but can be installed at the same time as a new solar array just as easily. It can be difficult to backup an entire home with AC batteries, and complete off-grid systems with AC batteries are rare.
What are the benefits of AC Coupling
With an AC-coupled system you can tap into a lot of great benefits for your solar system. These include smart battery management, simplified install, and batteries capable of being included/added to any existing solar installation. Additionally, some AC batteries can charge themselves with grid electricity.
What is DC Coupling
DC coupling involves installing the battery in a manner that allows DC solar energy to flow directly into the battery to charge it. In these systems, the energy from the panels goes directly from the solar panels to the inverter to the battery and stays at a DC flow the entire time. Additionally, in a DC-coupled arrangement, the inverter is used to both convert DC solar energy into AC electricity as well as charge the battery. DC-coupled battery systems are usually very efficient. This is because the battery is charged directly by DC, instead of a battery inverter converting AC back to DC. However, they can be complex to install in certain situations.
DC-coupled systems should be installed at the time of installing the solar array, as a specialized inverter is required - but it is possible to retrofit existing solar systems to include DC-coupled batteries. Because of the transformer components and greater efficiencies included in DC-coupled systems, they are often capable of very high energy outputs as well. DC-coupled systems are also ideal for off-grid arrangements. Modern DC-coupled systems offer the same smart management and monitoring capabilities as AC-coupled systems.
What are the benefits of DC Coupling
While DC Coupling has many great advantages the two key ones to focus on are the high efficiency that can be achieved with these systems and the high battery output. With these tools at your side, large battery projects can be easily tackled.
Find out which battery technology is the right fit for your next customer project. If you are looking to learn more from your local rep about the AC and DC batteries that are available to you today contact us now!