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How solar works

The 6 easy steps of solar PV and battery storage

Solar PV is a well established technology, with solar batteries being a little newer to the home technology market. This blog will explain how solar PV and battery storage technology work together in 6 easy steps!

solar panels on roof

1. Solar panels

Solar panels can be installed either on your roof or on the ground. They work by turning ambient daylight into DC (direct current) electricity. DC electricity cannot be used in our homes, so the electricity needs to be turned into AC (alternating current).

Solar inverter

2. Solar inverter

It is the inverter’s task to turn the DC into AC. This means the electricity can be used to power your home appliances and be exported to the National Grid.

Before reaching the inverter, the energy will go through a DC isolator switch, located next to the inverter. The DC isolator switch provides a way of cutting off the system during installation or future maintenance.

After flowing through the inverter, the energy will go to the AC isolator switch.


3. Fusebox

The fusebox distributes the energy to any appliances that are currently switched on. For example, if your kettle is boiling and your television is on, the solar energy will automatically go to these appliances. If there are no appliances on, or more energy is produced than is currently needed, energy will go to the battery to be stored.

Sonnen Battery storage in a home

4. Solar battery storage

A battery always stores energy in a direct current (DC) and has its own inverter which will convert the current in exactly the same way as a solar PV inverter, just the other way around!

The bigger the size of the battery (kWh) the more that can be stored. However, there are many considerations as to which battery will be suited to you, our advisers can assist with this. You can use our web chat service to ask any questions about our range of batteries.

Light bulb

5. Maximising a solar battery

You can also top up your battery with energy from the grid, during cheap off-peak times, these are known as Time-Of-Use tariffs. These tariffs having fluctuating rates throughout the day and night so that you can benefit from lower bills. This also benefits energy suppliers and the grid. By shifting some of the demand for energy from on-peak times, to off-peak times, this reduces the strain on the National Grid.

City at night

6. Exporting energy

If there are no appliances running and the battery is full to capacity, energy will be sent to the National Grid, essentially for somebody else to use. Each property generating solar energy is, therefore, its own little power station. This is why battery storage is such a crucial component to your solar PV system so that you can maximise energy bill savings. Without a battery, solar energy will be instantly sent back to the grid if the energy cannot be used straight away.

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