When considering a solar system, you’ll be faced with many choices based on your needs and usage. One of those choices, is what type of system to install. On-grid, off-grid or hybrid? Somewhere in there, you’ll hear about battery storage, too. We’ll explore the different types of solar systems, and the benefits and drawbacks of battery storage, to help you decide what’s right for you.

The three types of solar systems

There’s three types of solar systems – on-grid, off-grid and hybrid. Simply put, these are:

  • On-grid: Connected to the main power grid, on-grid systems allow excess energy to be sold back to the grid. It’s the most common type of solar system for homes and businesses
  • Off-grid: As the name implies, off-grid systems are not connected to the grid, so they rely on battery storage to provide electricity. They’re commonly used for caravans and boats
  • Hybrid: A hybrid system is connected to the grid (allowing for the sale of excess energy), but with battery storage too, allowing for backup power during grid outages (emergencies, severe weather events) or periods of low sunlight

So to answer the original question is battery storage necessary, the short answer is no. But there’s many advantages of the battery storage that comes with a hybrid system.

The benefits of battery storage

Solar batteries take your solar system to the next level by offering the following advantages for you:

  • System efficiency: By storing excess energy in a battery, rather than sending it back to the grid, you can reduce your amount of wasted energy, and use it in your home
  • Energy independence: Acting as a source to draw energy during the night-time, batteries help to reduce your reliance on the grid and therefore achieve greater energy independence for you
  • Backup power: Stay connected to your own source of power during grid outages so you can avoid stress and disruptions to your household routines
  • Sustainability impacts: By using more of the solar energy your system is generating for you, you can reduce your carbon footprint even more, and play a bigger part in a more sustainable future too
  • Cost savings: By using your stored energy for longer and taking advantage of it during peak hours, you can save even more money on your energy bills!

Is battery storage right for me?

Consider this. You’re a working couple or family unit, and you work full-time outside of your home. To get the most out of solar energy provided from an on-grid system, you would run your household appliances (e.g. dishwasher, washing machine, dryer) throughout the day while the solar power is peaking. But you’re not able to take advantage of this peak daytime period, because you’re at work. So you need to run these appliances in the evenings, when there is less energy to draw from. If this sounds like you, the best way to maximise your solar investment, is to have a battery storage solution (a hybrid system), so that you can draw upon the energy that was created (and stored) during the daytime while you were out of the house.

Similarly, if you have an electric vehicle that you will be charging from home, a battery storage solution is going to make the most sense for you. So that you can pull from stored energy.

So, is battery storage necessary?

The answer to this question really relies on your energy needs, usage patterns and budget. If your needs, usage and budget allow, a battery storage solution will really help you to maximise your investment when going solar! It will provide system efficiency, energy independence, backup power and cost savings too, while being great for the environment.