AC Coupled vs DC Coupled Solar Batteries

Solar batteries can be a fantastic way to increase your home energy efficiency and even offer you an opportunity to sell energy back to the grid. However, with both AC-coupled and DC-coupled solar batteries available, it can be difficult to decide which one best fits your solar set-up.

In this blog, we’ll explore AC coupled vs DC coupled solar batteries, so you can decide what works best for you. 

What Is The Difference Between AC and DC Coupled Batteries? 

To begin analysing the AC-coupled vs DC-coupled battery debate, it’s important first to understand the difference between the two. 

The key distinction is that the path electricity takes from your solar panel to the battery differs. Solar panels naturally generate DC electricity, but home electrics are powered by AC electricity. This means the energy collected from your solar panels must be converted or transformed into AC electricity. 

So, in an AC Coupled system, the process looks something like this:

  1. DC energy generated from solar panels 
  2. The solar inverter turns DC energy into AC electricity 
  3. AC electricity powers your home 
  4. Extra electricity goes to the AC battery for storage 

In a DC-coupled system, it happens like this:

  1. DC energy generated from solar panels 
  2. DC energy flows to a charge controller 
  3. Charge controller sends DC energy to DC battery 
  4. Battery powers home (converts into AC)

The main difference being in an AC-coupled system, the energy is inverted up to three times to get to the battery, but in a DC-coupled system, it’s only inverted once. 

The Pros And Cons Of AC Coupled Solar Batteries 

AC-coupled solar batteries are the most common type of solar battery found in home set-ups. This is mainly because they are easy and cost-effective to install, making them a simple option for those investing in solar energy for the first time. 

The Pros Of AC-Coupled Systems 

The main benefit of AC-coupled systems over DC is that they allow batteries to take charge from solar panels and the grid. This means that if your solar devices are not generating enough energy to get your battery to a full charge, it can draw energy from the grid, which helps fuel it. 

The Cons Of AC-Coupled Systems 

The main issue you may run into with AC-coupled systems is that solar electricity will have to be inverted three times to be used by home appliances (as detailed above). While generally, this doesn’t have too much effect, it can result in minor energy loss during conversions. 

The Pros And Cons Of DC Coupled Solar Batteries 

DC-coupled batteries are slightly rarer than AC-coupled batteries; however, they’re known for their high energy efficiency and smart technology.

The Pros Of DC-Coupled Systems 

DC-coupled solar batteries are often seen as being the more efficient choice. Solar energy is converted between AC and DC only once, leading to higher energy efficiency. This means you’ll be able to utilise all the energy you store effectively, which is particularly useful if you sell energy stored in your battery back to the grid. 

The Cons Of DC-Coupled Systems 

The main negative you may face with a DC system is that they’re more complicated and, therefore, more expensive to install. They also take a longer time to set up, which may bother people looking to get their installation done quickly. 

Which Type Of Solar Battery Should I Get?

All in all, which solar battery you choose to buy comes down to the solar set-up you have. If you already have solar panels or tiles, it’ll be easier and cheaper to install an AC-coupled battery, as installing a DC-coupled battery would mean you’d have to also purchase and re-wire for an inverter. 

However, if you do not yet have your solar panels and are planning to invest all at once, a DC system is the most efficient choice for preventing energy loss. If you are willing to pay a higher upfront cost for installation, it could give you better ROI in the long run. 

Invest In Solar Battery Storage With Smartly 

Whether you have a solar system which you need a battery to optimise, or you have yet to install one and would like to arrange both the panels and the battery, Smartly can help you. 

We have an excellent selection of solar panels and batteries and can help you with everything from purchasing to installation.  

Get in touch with one of our knowledgeable advisors to find out more. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have about AC Coupled vs DC Coupled solar batteries, so you can make an informed decision about going solar!