Yes, you can use a solar panel and an inverter without a battery, though the functionality will be somewhat limited compared to a system that includes a battery.
Here are a few key points to consider:
- Direct Usage During Daylight: Without a battery, the solar panel system can only provide power during daylight hours. This means that any electricity generated must be used in real-time.
- Grid-Tied Systems: If your system is connected to the power grid (grid-tied), you can use solar power during the day and draw from the grid when the solar panels aren’t producing electricity (e.g., at night or on cloudy days). In some regions, you might be able to sell excess power back to the grid.
- Inverter Functionality: The inverter converts the DC electricity produced by the solar panels into AC electricity, which is what most home appliances use. Without a battery, the inverter will only work when the solar panels are generating enough power.
- Lack of Power Storage: Without a battery, there’s no way to store energy for use when the solar panels aren’t producing electricity. This can be a limitation if you need power during non-sunny hours.
- Dependence on Weather and Sunlight: The system’s effectiveness will highly depend on weather conditions and sunlight availability. On cloudy days or during the night, without a battery, there will be no power supply from the solar panels.
- Simpler and Lower Initial Cost: A system without a battery is simpler and typically has a lower initial cost. However, this might be offset by the lack of power availability outside of daylight hours.
- Potential for Future Expansion: You can always add a battery to the system later if you find that your needs change.
How to connect solar panel and inverter without battery
Step 1: Check the voltage of the panel and inverter
The inverter has a voltage limit that it can handle. Let us assume the voltage limit of the inverter is 15 volts, and the voltage supplied by the solar panel is 18.7 volts.
Step 2: calculate the difference
to get the amount of power that needs to be stepped down, you should subtract the voltage of the inverter from the panel’s voltage.
18.7 volts – 15 volts = 3.7 volts
Step 3: Calculate the number of diodes needed
To step down, the power will be using diodes. The power stepped down by each diode is 0.6 volts.
To calculate the number of diodes required, we will divide each diode’s voltage to be stepped down.
3.7 volts / 0.6 volts = 6. 1667
However, we cannot work with a decimal value when referring to an object. Besides, the diodes used should be greater or equal to your value. Thus the total number of diodes used should be 7.
Step 4: Connect the diodes in a series
Take seven diodes and connect them in series.
Step 5: Connect the diodes with the panel and the inverter
Lastly, connect one end of the diodes to the panel and the other to the inverter. That is how you can use solar panels and inverters without batteries.
Which is better, solar with or without battery?
A solar battery is used to store excess power, which can be drawn later when the panels cant generate more power due to lack of solar energy.
However, adding the battery into the system involves complex economics. First, its initial cost is quite high, and it consists of a lot of maintenance costs in the long run.
Do I mean that it is better to solar without a battery? Give me a second, and I will make everything plain to you.
If you have an off-grid setup, then you will need a battery. An on-grid design cannot access the grid’s power when it cannot produce the required power. As a result, you will likely experience blackouts at night or on a cloudy day.
However, if you have an on-grid, you can be sure of a reliable power source at any time. To help you understand, below are the advantages and disadvantages of having a panel without a battery.
Advantages of solar without battery
- Low initial cost
- Less labor is needed during installation
- Low maintenance
Disadvantages of a solar panel without battery
- You are likely to experience blackouts if you are using an off-grid setup
- You must step down the power when wiring the panel
- You need to have a hybrid type inverter, usually high cost.
Conclusion: The solar panel is better without a battery if you have an on-grid design. Nonetheless, you will have to step down the voltage when doing the wiring. Otherwise, you will need a battery for a reliable source of power.
Eng. Matthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar.
After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as a Solar Electrical Engineer for several multi-national solar energy companies.
He has a wide range of experiences including solar system requirement analysis, planning, maintaining, debugging and even solar device development through research.
He now shares his 20 years of expertise through his articles on the walkingsolar website.
Further, he is also the author of two books on Solar Technology, “Solar Power for Villages” and “DIY Solar System for Dummies”.