Victron’s BatteryLife Advantage

Victron Energy Storage Systems (ESS) are leading the charge in dependable, high performance and high quality power solutions in South Africa. Having been in the industry for almost 50-years, Victron Energy has developed hardware and software solutions to position itself at the pinnacle of the industry, cemented by strong R&D and high-quality products.

Today, in our Tech-Tuesday, we’ll be highlighting one of Victron’s great innovations, the operating mode called “Optimised with BatteryLife”. 

In a Victron ESS, renewable energy is prioritised to be served to the Loads first (Consumers of electrical energy / AC Appliances). Any excess renewable energy (solar power, specifically) is then used to charge the battery, and then any further excess solar power may be used to export power to the Grid (if permitted and configured to do so).

The term “Loads” consists of the SUM of Essential and Non-essential circuits on the premises, also referred to as “Critical Loads” and “AC Loads” by Victron.

In the illustration above, the total consumption (Loads) is indicated to be 1325W, which consists of 1010W of Non-Essential / AC Loads and 315W of Essential / Critical loads. 

Here, the renewable energy consists of solar power, as well as solar energy that has been stored in the battery. The extent of battery usage (renewable energy) is defined by a simple system setting called the Minimum battery state-of-charge (SoC) – “Minimum SoC”, where this setting defines the battery level at which the system shall stop discharging the battery, and reserve the remaining battery energy for a Mains power failure. Once the battery level reaches this set-point (e.g. 50%), the inverter system will seamlessly transition to supplying the Loads from Mains power. 

In the illustration above we can see that live solar power generation (PV Charger) is indicated as 1898W, while the battery is discharging, from 96%, in support of the solar power, at 2956W. The combination of the solar AND battery power is offsetting the total Loads (essential and non-essential), leaving just a small contribution from Grid of 99W.

In the illustration to the right, we can see that the system is configured with a Minimum SoC setting of 40%, which means that the battery will stop discharging energy once it reaches 40%, leaving the remainder for backup during a Mains power failure (e.g loadshedding). An easy slider allows for rapid and convenient adjustment of the Minimum SoC setting, whether from the smartphone App or the comfort of your laptop/desktop. 

While this seemingly provides robust control, how does an installer or end-user recommend or choose an optimal Minimum SoC value?

The above question presents a dilemma for many power systems, specifically due to the typical seasonal changes in home energy consumption as well as the potential seasonal changes in solar energy production. 

Well, so what? What are the risks? 

In the absence of pro-actively monitoring and regularly adjusting the Minimum SoC setting, the user could experience several performance compromises, including: 

  • Curtailed solar energy yield
  • Insufficient stored battery energy to sustain operation during grid failure
  • Battery SoC % drift due to infrequent synchronisation
  • * Battery cell imbalance due to insufficient duration spent within the balancing threshold of the battery management system (BMS)

*Assumes system is equipped with a battery that utilises a BMS (e.g. most commercially available lithium battery products).

Victron’s answer to this is a clever algorithm, called “Optimised with BatteryLife”. BatteryLife tries to ensure that the battery will always be recharged to 100% SoC – every day. This is how it works: 

During periods of poor weather when solar energy is reduced, BatteryLife will dynamically raise the Low SoC limit which has been set. This has the effect of making less power available for consumption. It raises this level by 5% each day until the energy which the system draws from the battery during a 24hr period matches the energy being replaced. The aim is for the battery to operate at or near 100% SoC.

When weather conditions change, and more solar energy becomes available, the system will once again lower the Low SoC limit, day by day, making more battery capacity available for use (it will eventually return to the user-preset limit) – whilst still ensuring that the battery SoC ends each day at or close to 100%.

In the illustration above you can see the BatteryLife algorithm at work. The blue chart shows the “Active SoC” percentage, for a particular installation site, starting at 70% in the middle of August and reducing gradually down to 40% by the beginning of September. This coincides with the warming weather that was experienced from the middle of August and a corresponding reduction in the installation site energy consumption. The BatteryLife feature ensured that solar energy yield was optimised, while still maintaining the customer’s minimum reserve energy for sustained operation during Mains failure.

In the illustration to the left, we can see that the BatteryLife feature has identified an Active SoC Limit of 40%, even though the user has indicated and set 20% as their Minimum SoC setting. In this instance, the system will stop discharging the battery at 40%, effectively reserving more battery energy for backup and promoting the battery to reach 100% through charging from excess solar power. 

Many battery products are mandating this feature be enabled in Victron equipped systems as it not only promotes optimal performance of the battery product, but the whole system too.

Victron’s BatteryLife feature allows users to retain control, but with the convenience of automation powered by machine learning. This feature marries convenience with performance optimisation, and is a giant leap forward in the pursuit of a completely self-managed and autonomous power system.

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What our clients say

Based on 82 reviews
Sandy Doubell
Sandy Doubell
The service we experienced with Green House was excellent. The planning info was open and clear with almost up to the minute updates. The product is the best on market, the installation people and the quality of workmanship was impressive. All happy and on time, well priced for the quality product and service. I would recommend Green House to any persons looking at any upgrades or new systems.
Gary Allemann
Gary Allemann
Have been a client for a number of years. Good solution and continuing good service
Reinhardt Nel
Reinhardt Nel
Professional service, great installation team, awesome aftersales service
Greenhouse lives up to its promise of excellence.From the first phone call to look at their services we were treated with the utmost professionalism.All steps of instalation were communicated on a daily basis and Patrick our consultant was available on call anytime we had any queries. Greenhouse comes with a five star rating from us.Thank you to the whole team !
Megan D'Arcy
Megan D'Arcy
Everything about Greenhouse Solar is amazing. The initial consultation, design of the system (set up for scaling up in the future), and after sales service is exceptional. The 24/7 helpline is handy to have for troubleshooting, although, due to the high-end components used (Victron, FreedomWon, JA panels), issues have been non-existent since I had the system been installed. The annual maintenance call-out is a great value-add, too. With solar becoming an essential option for many, it's critical to get the right advice and have the installation done to code. I highly recommend Greenhouse.
Horst Frenzel
Horst Frenzel
Super fast response to the damage caused by a lightning strike, followed up by quality repairs and excellent workmanship. Thanks for the excellent service!
Irene Cowley
Irene Cowley
Excellent service. The guys are very knowledgeable. They can help you work out the best ways forward to meet your budget and your needs. The installation teams are excellent. Work professionally and efficiently. We have been most impressed over many years now.
Sergio Coelho
Sergio Coelho
The folks at GreenHouse did a sterling job installing an upgrade to my home solar system. They knew that it would be challenging to sort out the comms between the Victron equipment and the SMA inverter but in the end their team made it look easy.
Hennie Meeding
Hennie Meeding
Absolutely satisfied with the service received from GreenHouse. From quote by Ethanne to installation by Mike and his team all were done professionally and efficiently. I highly recommend GreenHouse to walk the solar journey with you… After a year of absolutely no issues we recently had a lightning strike and GreenHouse had to assist to get us up and going again. It turned out that the only item that needed replavement was the controller - and this was replaced in no time…. Yes I would say Greenhouse is “fast and knowledgeable” in this new market segment where it is difficult to choose a supplier!.