Solar Panel Connection With UPS (Best Solutions)

Clean and relatively predictable, solar technology has made some significant advancements in recent decades. Many households (ours included) are moving to off-grid solar or hybrid systems, but when electronic devices that need a constant connection to electricity are involved, things become complicated.

A UPS is a critical tool to protect your devices, but can a solar panel be connected to a UPS? The article below investigates the issues relating to connecting a solar panel with a UPS. Some of the points include:

  • How are solar panels connected to a UPS
  • Types of Solar Systems that might use a UPS
  • Are there store-bought products, or do you need to make your own
  • And is it necessary to connect a UPS to a solar system

When connecting a UPS to a solar system, there are some critical questions to ask yourself beforehand. Why do I need a UPS connection? Can my solar system support a UPS? Is there a difference between a solar UPS and an Inverter, and should I use a regular UPS too?

Ups Power Connections
Ups Power Connections

The Ins And Outs Of Connecting A UPS To A Solar Panel

With the rate at which we humans are burning fossil fuels, alternative energy sources have become a greater necessity. Solar power systems have seen incredible improvements over the last few decades, with whole households switching to solar power.

These systems can either be with or without battery banks.

Most solar systems include:

  • A Solar Panel

This is the part that converts solar energy into DC.

  • A Charge Controller

This unit regulates the current and voltage traveling from the panels to the load, sending additional power to the battery bank. They prevent the battery from being overcharged.

  • Consumption monitor

Not critical, but it will allow you to monitor how much power you use in a day.

What the solar panels are mounted on, on the roof.

  • An Inverter (or UPS)

Sting inverters, microinverters, and Optimizer systems convert DC (current) from the solar panel into AC (current) to be used by the load. They can be an off-grid, hybrid, or grid-tied solar systems.

  • A Battery/Battery Bank

Batteries store additional power produced to power the load when current from the panels is lost.

Solar Panel Off Grid Setup With Generator Infographic 1
Solar Panel Off Grid Setup With Generator Infographic 1

Solar Power Systems, UPSs, And Inverters

Solar panels can be connected to a solar or a regular UPS.

Solar UPSs have a solar charge controller in their design, allowing the solar panel to charge the UPS’s battery. A hybrid system uses solar power and grid electricity to charge the UPS’s battery.

There is a bit of confusion between a solar UPS and a solar inverter. Fundamentally they achieve the same purpose, converting DC into AC power for electronics, and charging a battery in the case of hybrid or off-grid inverters.

A UPS has a built-in inverter, whereas separate inverters require a charge controller to be connected to ensure the correct amount of current is sent to it.

Soalr Panel System Diagram Solar Panels Inverter Charge Controller Photovoltaic Effect And Charging - Sol Voltaics: Solar Panel Information
Solar Panel And Li-Ion Battery Generation System For The Home. Renewable Energy Concept. Simplified Diagram Of An Off-Grid System. Solar Panel, Battery, Charge Controller, And Inverter. Vector.

Solar UPS In A Solar Power System

In the case of solar-powered homes, many operate on a grid-tied system. Grid-tied systems are connected to the electricity grid while having solar power as a backup in case of an outage.

A battery is not typically used in a situation like this. However, your house will often have its electricity turned off if there is a power cut (to prevent injury to anyone working on the line by supplying power to the grid).

If, however, you have a UPS/inverter and a battery bank connected to the system, you can have uninterrupted power as intended because your appliances run directly off the stored energy in the battery. This is a hybrid system, and many stores sell a UPS (or hybrid/off-grid inverter) designed specifically for solar power.

A solar UPS/inverter works the same way as a regular UPS, with the difference being that a solar one has its batteries charged by the sun, while a standard UPS battery chargers by power supplied from the grid.

A solar UPS/inverter connects the solar panels and the batteries in the system.

With a built-in charge controller, the battery connected to the UPS is charged by surplus DC, which comes from the solar panels, which the load does not need.

(e.g., if your panels produce 500w, while your load is only 250W, the remaining 250w is directed to charge your battery via the built-in charge controller).

UPSs have a built-in inverter, which transforms the stored DC into AC, which most appliances need to operate when the power goes out.

Many store-bought solar UPS/Inverters are hybrid models. These dual power source UPSs are connected to the power grid and solar panels.

Some solar UPSs are designed to prefer solar power, only switching to the mains when an internal sensor detects that solar energy has dropped below a voltage threshold (nighttime, overcast conditions, etc.).

Inverter Connections From The Base Power And Solar Panels
Inverter Connections From The Base Power And Solar Panels

Some Examples Of Solar UPSs And Hybrid Inverters On The Market

Although there is some debate, a hybrid inverter is fundamentally a solar UPS.

Below are some examples of solar UPSs and Hybrid Inverters available.

Product NameCost (Estimated)Specs
Luminous Solar Hybrid 1100$100 (Amazon)700VA, 12V Rating 98% efficiency fast charging with 40A, 12V Charge Controller
Microtek Msun 2200VA PWM 2550/24V Solar Inverter$170 (Moglix)2200 VA, 24V 50A, Pure Sine Wave
Sol-Ark 12K Hybrid Inverter/Charger$7,452.00 (Real Goods)120/208/240VAC, 185A, 48V nominal

Outback Radian Multi-Mode Inverter
$ 2,182.98 (Iron Edison)170-280VAC, 200-260V nominal
Temank Solar Hybrid Inverter$549.89 (Amazon)3000W, 24V DC, 110V-120V AC

There are many products available. In the USA, the majority of what you will find is Inverters.

Regular UPS In A Solar Power System

There is quite a high cost when it comes to store-bought solar UPSs. Therefore, some people have taken it upon themselves to take their pre-existing (owned) UPSs and modify them to support a solar power system.

The addition of a charge controller is the most significant modification. This addition allows the battery to be sufficiently charged while supplying the UPS with DC power, which will convert the current to AC for use by the load.

An alternative method of incorporating a UPS into a solar system is:

  • Solar Panels
  • Charge Controller
  • Solar Battery
  • Inverter
  • Home/Regular UPS
  • Appliances

Using this method, your UPS will be charged by solar power instead of the grid while providing extra support for your electronics (although probably unnecessary).

Solar Panels On A Campervan Mobile Home In The Countryside - Sol Voltaics: Solar Panel Information
Solar Panels On A Campervan Mobile Home In The Countryside

Is It Viable To Connect A Regular UPS To A Solar Panel?

When deciding if connecting a regular UPS to solar is viable, it is essential to determine what goal you are trying to achieve.

A great idea is if you are trying to charge the UPS’s battery without using the grid. However, when using the UPS as a backup power source, it is crucial to ensure that the solar system is big enough to run as an “off-grid” system.

This size consideration would ensure that the UPS is charged during the day while the solar system powers the appliances connected so that the UPS could effectively work once the sunsets.

You will garner no real benefit from adding a UPS if the system is not big enough.

If, however, you have the money to install a big enough solar system, installing an off-grid or hybrid system is far more convenient, which will act like a UPS.

Conclusion

Many products on the market allow your solar system to work with both solar power and the grid. Off-grid and hybrid systems have charged batteries and are then used when there is a break in the electricity, functioning the same way as a UPS. Although you can install a regular UPS to the solar system, it doesn’t seem worthwhile.

Sources

Solar Panels Brands FAQ

Which solar panel brands are the most popular?

Some of the most popular solar panel brands on the market these days are:
1. LG
2. SunPower
3. Panasonic
4. Silfab
5. Canadian Solar
6. JinkoSolar
7. Trina Solar
8. Q Cells

What can solar power be used for?

Solar power can be used for almost anything that requires electrical power, from TVs to fridges and other household appliances. However, any appliances with an element, such as a geyser or kettle, require a massive amount of electricity to function, and so you’ll need a hefty solar system to run this kind of appliance. 

What to know before buying solar panels?

There are several questions to ask yourself before buying solar panels, including:
1. What is your budget?
2. How much power do you need?
3. Are you looking to supplement your electricity usage or replace it?
4. Your location (how much sun do you get daily?)
5. Also, knowing about the various available solar brands and a little about the installation process will be a great help too.

Which solar panel is best for the home?

This depends on your needs and your budget, but most users agree that LG electronics make some of the best solar panels out there. SunPower is superior in its panel efficiency, while Canadian Solar is some of the best solar panels for the money. 

Which brand is The best portable solar Panel? 

When it comes to portable solar, some of the brands leading the market are:
1. Bluetti
2. Jackery Solar
3. Renogy
4. Ecoflow
5. Goal Zero

Are there any solar brands based in the USA?

Certainly! US brands are making some great panels these days. Some of these brands include:
1. LG Solar
2. Tesla
3. Sunrun
4. Auxin Solar
5. Convalt energy

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