As the year’s pass, so does innovations in the solar PV system progress. Decades ago, the only thing you needed was a solar battery, solar panel, and light bulbs. Nowadays, solar power is used to power powerful devices like washers, computers, and large industrial appliances.
Additional devices like charge controllers, UPS, and inverters are required for solar power to work efficiently with this appliance.
In this article, we will go deep into the use of UPS in solar PV systems. We will discuss what UPS is, what it does, and if it is essential. We will also discuss whether solar batteries can be used in UPS. Don’t go anywhere.
Can we use the solar battery in UPS?
UPS which stands for Uninterrupted Power supply is a device that acts as backup power storage. This is not to be confused with a solar battery. UPS holds a small amount of power and enables devices such as computers to shut down safely in a power outage.
Uninterrupted power supply devices charge backup cannot be used to power a home or other devices. Its backup charge only lasts for 10-15minutes. That is why it is used in devices that can become damaged by a sudden power outage.
If you want your UPS to last longer, you need to connect it to a solar battery. A solar battery collects solar energy from the sun and uses it to power appliances when there is no solar energy supply.
Most solar batteries can hold a charge for more than 24hours. They can there charge a UPS. Although UPS discharge and recharges even in the absence of a solar storm.
Can I use the solar battery as a standard battery?
A solar battery and a standard battery are similar in so many ways. The only difference is that a solar battery is enhanced to accommodate deep cycles of multiple discharge and recharge.
Most solar batteries are rated 12V-24V and 50ah, precisely the same as standard batteries.
Standard batteries can handle a few recharges and discharges. For this reason, they are used until they are depleted and then renewed. A solar battery, on the hand, lasts for hours. Then it is recharged again.
To use a solar battery as a standard battery, you need to connect it to an inverter and charge controllers. A charge controller ensures the solar battery does not discharge completely when connected to power-hungry devices and also ensures they do not overcharge in case the sun is too hot.
On the other hand, an inverter converts the solar energy collected by the solar panel into an Alternating current used to power appliances.
Can I charge the UPS battery with a solar panel?
Uninterrupted power supply devices consume a lot of electricity. To reduce the bills associated with this device, you can connect it to your home solar PV system.
This device will use the power stored by the solar battery to charge. The charge will then be used to automatically power devices that are easily damaged in a power outage.
I already have a UPS system. Can I still install solar?
Since UPS consumes a lot of power, you can add a solar PV system to the UPS system. This will reduce the electricity bill you pay when using UPS.
UPS devices have multiple discharge and recharge cycles. Therefore need to be connected to a powerful solar battery.
The installed solar panel also be strong enough to charge the solar battery and power the home entirely. Otherwise, installing a solar PV system will be unnecessary.
You can use the following procedure to add a home solar system to your UPS system.
How to install a solar system to an existing UPS system
Most UPS systems use a grid-tied system. This means they are connected to the main electricity line and use electricity to run. From the guide above, we have seen it is possible to connect the solar PV system to an existing UPS system. We will dive into it.
Step 1: Selecting solar batteries
Since UPS devices require a steady supply of power, you will need to install a powerful solar battery.
Standard solar batteries are rated 12-24V. It would be best to choose a solar battery that can satisfy your load.
Step 2: Choosing a charge controllers
Charge controllers ensure your solar battery utilizes the available solar energy. It also prevents the solar battery from being overcharged and discharged.
If you power a large load, you will need to install an MPPT charge controller. MPPT allows the solar panel to send more current than the output. On the other hand, the PWM charge controller requires the production and the input to be balanced.
Step 3: Choosing solar panels
The solar panel should have the capacity to power your home, charge the UPS and fully charge the solar battery.
If you use a 12V solar battery, you should install multiple 12V solar panels.
UPS devices have an inbuilt solar inverter. It can therefore convert DC to AC on its own.
Step 4: wiring
Wiring the connections are where the complications come. If you have no expertise in the field, hiring a qualified electrician is better. However, you have some knowledge of the subject. This video can connect your solar home system to your existing UPS system.
Is A UPS system essential?
Apart from protecting devices from getting damaged by a sudden power outage, UPS devices have other benefits for your devices.
- It ensures continuity: UPS device acts as a power backup storage system. You can continue using your appliance for 10 minutes top and shut it down safely.
- UPS converts DC into AC: solar panel sends current in one direction. This current cannot be used on devices. It would be best to have a medium that converts DC into alternating current. This is usually what an inverter does. Luckily, UPS has an inbuilt inverter. Therefore it converts DC into AC.
- UPS acts as a filter: the solar panel sends a large current to the solar battery in one direction. A UPS device will refine the power by leaving the solar battery and power devices with clean energy with no abnormalities.
Install a solar battery to ensure UPS is always powered and the utility bill is reduced.
UPS devices are essential devices that are important in protecting delicate devices from getting damaged in a sudden power outage.
These devices cannot hold power that can power large appliances like refrigerators and washers. Therefore if you want to cut your utility bill and power your appliances, you can install a home solar PV system to your existing UPS system.
The guide above will provide you with the information you need to use the UPS system in your home.
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”.