OutBack Power Enables Cost-Effective Energy Storage, Backup for Grid-Tied PV Systems

July 08, 2013 by Jeff Shepard

OutBack Power Technologies, Inc. announced the general availability of its FLEXcoupled ac coupling solution. The integrated system allows installers to more easily retrofit grid-tied solar power systems with advanced grid-hybrid capability, enabling owners to store energy from their PV systems while tied to the grid and use it during utility outages and emergencies. For owners of grid-tied systems, the AC Coupling GSLC175 system from OutBack Power delivers all of the energy storage benefits of grid-hybrid systems in an advanced, electro-mechanical solution that is cleaner, more compact, better performing and less expensive than competing options.

Energy-storage-based systems represent the largest growth area in solar installations today, but for the many owners of grid-tied, grid-dependent systems that don’t deliver electricity when the utility goes down, ac coupling is increasingly a viable option to maximize existing PV system investments by adding backup power functionality. With grid failure and instability on the rise and so-called 100-year storms now annual events, energy storage is essential to provide true power reliability and independence.

OutBack Power’s ac coupling system is unique in that its foundation is the Radian inverter/charger which already incorporates desirable ac coupling features including split-phase capability, dual ac inputs, transfer switching, power management flexibility, multiple operational modes for a wide range of energy scenarios, and greater dynamic stability. This enables a more elegant, advanced electro-mechanical coupling center (the GSLC 175-AC-120/240) to achieve ac coupling instead of relying on costly, complex frequency circuitry, transformers and diversion loads used in some conventional systems.

“OutBack Power’s ac coupling system allows us to increase storage capacity for customers and ensure that they don’t leave any PV power on the roof, regardless of the grid’s status,” said Jeff Shaw, owner of Gulf South Solar, an OutBack Power installer. “Our company is seeing interest from grid-tied system owners who are considering updating their systems to gain grid-hybrid advantages. This mirrors the forecasted growth for the ac coupling market over the next 10 years.”

Harvey Wilkinson, general manager of OutBack Power, said, “The owners of grid-tied solar power systems know how frustrating it is when the traditional utility goes down; they generate enough renewable energy to power their critical needs, but without the right bi-directional inverter and storage solution, their properties go dark when the grid fails. AC coupling from OutBack Power gives homeowners and businesses who’ve invested in solar energy the option to better manage their electricity and gain off-grid independence during outages, thus contributing to greater grid utilization and stability.”