Solar power systems utilise a surprising number of components.
It’s not just solar panels, batteries, and inverters.
It’s also wiring, mounting brackets, transfer switches, and so much more.
If you have a larger solar power system that includes a circuit panel that integrates with your home’s electrical wiring, you may also need to purchase electrical switches known as relay modules.
Choosing the correct relay module is essential to effectively integrate solar power into your home wiring. Relay devices are a crucial component in optimising efficiency, power management, and the safety of your solar power system.
In this article, you will learn about relays and their use in solar power systems, as well as how to choose the right relay module for your setup.
What is a Relay in Electrical Systems, and How Does it Work?
A relay is a type of switch used in electrical systems to control a circuit. The relay usually consists of a coil that converts electrical signals into mechanical actions. A low power signal is sent to the relay, creating a magnetic field that can influence and control larger electrical circuits.
Relays play an integral role in the functioning of many electrical devices, such as cars, home appliances, and power distribution systems.
What are Relay Modules in Solar Power Systems?
Relay modules are used for many different functions in solar power systems. The right relay switch can provide safety features, manage the flow of power, and optimise energy consumption. Specific uses may include:
- Battery Charging: Many solar power systems utilise solar batteries or portable power stations to store electricity charge for later use. In these systems, a relay module may connect and disconnect to protect the battery depending on its current charge level. This prevents overcharging and other potential battery damage.
- Safety: Relay modules can perform as safety mechanisms in a solar power system. For instance, if overheating, overvoltage, or other issues are detected, the relay will disconnect the malfunctioning section of the system to prevent danger and damage.
- Load Control: Relay modules can connect and disconnect electrical loads within the system depending on the battery capacity, current, or other factors. For example, if the battery capacity drops too low, then the relay can shut off high-power appliances to avoid drawing too much power from the solar battery.
- Grid-Tied Systems: In grid-tied solar systems, relays are often used to switch between grid power and solar power as needed. When the solar system stops producing sufficient electricity (at night or on a cloudy day), the relay will automatically switch the home’s electrical system to grid power.
Within EcoFlow’s Smart Home Ecosystem, relay modules are an integral part of how the Smart Panel and smartphone app features function. Due to the safety features of the relay modules, you can confidently harness the power output of up to eight 400W Rigid Solar Panels.
The electricity generated can be stored in a DELTA Pro power portable station for later use. If anything ever goes wrong, any of the circuits flowing through a relay module can be shut down automatically or manually.
How to Choose the Right Relay Module for Your Home
The right relay module for your home depends on the other components of your system. For example, if you are employing EcoFlow’s Smart Home Ecosystem, you will need relay modules that are compatible with the Smart Home Panel.
In addition to being system-compatible, the relay module also needs to be able to handle the currents that will flow through it. Choose a relay module that matches the current rating for the circuit breaker upstream of that load circuit. The EcoFlow Relay Module is available in 3 power ratings: 15A, 20A, and 30A.
Can I Install a Solar Relay Module Myself?
Unless you’re a licensed electrician, you should not install a solar relay module yourself.
Solar relay modules are integral to the safety and optimal performance of your system. If they’re installed incorrectly, catastrophic failure can occur and cause harm to your home and family.
Electricians and solar professionals have extensive experience with high-powered solar systems. They deeply understand the inner workings of electrical systems and will install your solar relay modules in a safe manner that’s compliant with local regulations and standards.
Even if you’re extremely confident in your DIY electrical abilities, other issues will still present themselves. Self-installations typically void the warranties of relay modules and other expensive solar equipment. If something goes wrong after a self-installation, you will be liable for the damage and likely have to repurchase the equipment.
Warranty violations aren’t just limited to the relay module or circuit panel. Depending on the manufacturer, it can also include other balances of system components that fail after being handled by an unauthorised installer or maintenance professional.
Many solar power system components can be installed yourself, especially if you choose a manufacturer like EcoFlow.
However, in the case of solar relay modules and related equipment, it’s best to leave the job to a professional.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Use of Relay Modules?
A relay module is a vital component used in many electrical systems, including solar power systems, appliances, and vehicles. Relay switches provide a layer of safety, triggering mechanical actions when they receive specific electrical signals. In solar power systems, relay modules add safety, efficiency, and power management features.
Relay modules are an essential component of residential solar power systems. Choosing the right ones, and hiring a professional to install them, can make a huge difference in the safety, functionality, and efficiency of your renewable energy system.
EcoFlow is a leading designer of innovative solar products. Its flagship solar power solution — the Smart Home Ecosystem — uses relay modules to assist with automation, energy management, and battery integration.