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Can You Use Solar Without Batteries? (We Find Out)

Are you wondering if you can use solar without batteries? It is an essential question because the use of batteries will change the costs and the setup necessary to take advantage of solar energy.

In general, it is possible to use solar without batteries. But it limits the time when you have access to energy. An on-grid (grid-tied) setup can connect you to the utility company and allow you to use their batteries to store extra energy. Then you can access it when needed. 

Let’s look at all the options. 

Can I Use Solar Panels And An Inverter Without A Battery?

It is possible to use solar panels and inverters without batteries if you use solar energy to directly charge or operate devices that run on DC (direct current). For example, some home electronics and the HVAC system run on DC. 

DC is an electrical current that constantly flows in one direction. It is the type of current you see in flashlights or any other device that runs on batteries. However, the electricity from the wall outlet is AC (alternating current). 

AC is a type of electricity that flows back and forth at regular intervals. Modern appliances run on AC because it is more convenient. It is the reason an inverter is necessary. The inverter can transform DC into AC, allowing solar energy to power all devices in your house. 

If you choose to use solar panels to charge your electric devices directly, you should get those that can work with DC. Otherwise, you can still use solar electricity without batteries if you have an inverter. 

What Is A Solar Inverter?

A solar inverter is part of a solar system. It aims to change the DC (direct current) generated by the solar panes and transform it into AC (alternate current). But, it also aims to connect your system to the grid and, in general, provide online communications. 

People use inverters to connect the solar system to the internet so that you can have real-time information about the energy produced and other essential data. Without a solar inverter, it is impossible to power all the appliances that work only with AC. 

A solar inverter can do the following:

  • Transform DC into AC
  • Increasing efficiency in power output
  • Connect to the grid

Can The Off-Grid Solar System Work Without Batteries?

An off-grid solar system is supposed to work only through solar energy since it has no connection with the grid. However, it is impossible to run such an off-grid solar system without batteries. So when there is sunlight, the extra energy is charging batteries. 

During the night or when the sun is blocked, the household can still use solar energy through the batteries. There are still some advantages to using an off-grid solar system. 

Here are the main advantages:

  1. Be independent in case of power outages
  2. Keep the utility bills low 
  3. They are relatively easy to install
  4. Eco-friendly
  5. Necessary to have for isolated locations

Some parts of the country are often subject to power outages, and an off-grid solar system is an excellent investment to keep the electricity running. Unfortunately, those living in rural areas and isolated often have no way to connect with the grid.

In those cases, an off-grid solar system is essential. But, it is possible to decide to have an off-grid solar system set up to reduce the utility bills, regardless of the location. 

How To Use Solar Energy Without Batteries 

It is still possible to use solar energy without a battery with a grid-tied solar system setup. A grid-tied system allows solar panels to store the extra energy generated from exposure to sunlight to the local utility grid. 

When you need electricity that can’t come from solar, you can get it from the grid. In this way, you are not wasting electricity, and you do not need to spend money to set up an in-house storage system. 

But how does it work?

  1. The extra energy generated goes to the local electricity company that will use it to serve other people or store it.
  2. You get credits for it. 
  3. You will get it from the grid when you can’t use solar energy because there is no sunlight.
  4. What you consume is detracted from the credits you already have 
  5. You pay only for the electricity consumed, exciding the credits. 

It is also possible to have a hybrid system, where your use the grid and batteries together. The design of this system is to use solar panels when possible. The system will draw energy from the grid when the panels can’t provide energy. 

Lastly, the batteries will provide power if the panels and the grid are not working, like in the case of outages. 

Advantages Of A Grid-Tied Solar System

A grid-tied solar system allows a household to use solar without the need for batteries. While reducing installation costs, it also provides excellent economic benefits regarding utility bills. Here are all the advantages of such a system:

  1. It is less expensive to set up
  2. You have unlimited energy storage available (the grid)
  3. You can still benefit from solar energy most of the time
  4. It is efficient in terms of energy consumption
  5. Low maintenance required 

A grid-tied solar system will not waste any electricity generated by solar. The energy is either used or sent to the grid. Since you are not keeping batteries in the house, you do not have to worry about maintenance. 

Can we use solar energy directly?

You can use solar energy directly without going through a battery using a grid-tied solar system or an off-grid system that uses an inverter. But, remember that you can use solar only during the day if you do not use battery storage. 

Solar panels convert the sunlight into electricity with a DC output. If you want to use this electricity to power other devices that work with AC, you need a converter. You can use the electricity the panels produce right away to power the required devices only with this setup. 

What Happens When Solar Batteries Are Full?

When solar batteries are charged, they will stop storing solar energy. So although solar panels will keep producing energy, they will not hold power until some of the charges are released, allowing new battery space. 

In general, batteries can charge to 100% within one day. However, in the case of acid batteries, overcharging can create a problem and become dangerous for the production of hydrogen gas. This type of gas can generate fire or explosions. 

If you have to use batteries, it is better to use lithium because they don’t generate hydrogen gas. In addition, lithium batteries have an internal battery management system that constantly monitors their safety. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do Solar Batteries Last?

Typically, solar batteries last between 5 to 15 years. You can make your batteries last longer by using them only when strictly necessary. In addition, you should avoid overcharging by making sure the batteries are empty before charging them again. Fortunately, most batteries do this automatically. 

What Are The Negatives Of Solar Energy?

Solar energy has a lot of advantages. For example, it is a renewable source of energy and unlimited. It is possible to use it to reduce energy bills with a grid-tied system or using solar panels with a battery system. You can generate a type of energy in places where the grid can’t arrive yet, with low maintenance costs. 

Can I Connect The Solar Panel Directly To The Battery?

It is possible to connect a solar panel directly with a battery. It is necessary to check that the voltage is appropriate. A solar panel can directly charge a 12 or 24 voltage battery. It is essential to ensure that the batteries and the panels are compatible.

Sources

  1. Scientific Committees, “Alternating current & Direct current”, https://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/opinions_layman/en/electromagnetic-fields/glossary/abc/alternating-current.htm, accessed March 26, 2022
  2. Solar Energy Group, “Panels without solar battery storage?”, https://www.sunengis.com/is-it-worth-installing-solar-panels-without-solar-battery-storage/ ,accessed March 26, 2022
  3. Wikipedia, “Solar inverter”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_inverter, Accessed March 26, 2022
  4. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, “Battery Storage for My Solar Energy System?”,https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/articles/should-i-get-battery-storage-my-solar-energy-system,  accessed March 26, 2022
  5. Solar, “Can I Use Solar Panels Without A Battery?”,https://www.solar.com/learn/can-i-use-solar-panels-without-a-battery/#:~:text=With%20all%20the%20solar%20battery,it’s%20not%20essential%20for%20everyone, accessed March 26, 2022

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