Formula Sun Solar 2021 | All Rights Reserved
What comes to mind when you think of solar power? Probably the large panels you see on the roof of a nearby home or gracing the top of a car park at local businesses. But solar power can energize a home in another unique way: solar batteries.
Solar batteries are not the most common use for solar power, but they do offer some unique benefits. Cost factors into the evaluation of any home improvement project, and an update or revamp of your energy infrastructure is no different. That makes it quite worth exploring whether solar batteries are a good idea for you.
We’re going to take a closer look at solar energy, what solar batteries cost, and why they are (or aren’t) worth the money.
Before you can consider whether to opt for solar batteries, you need a clear understanding of how solar power works and what it can save a homeowner.
At a high level, solar power is generated when energy from the sun reacts with the materials contained in the cells on solar panels. As the energy flows through the panels, they create electricity which is captured by the system installed in your home (or business). That energy is used to power the home in real time or returned to the power grid if you happen to produce more electricity than you need at the moment.
Solar panels are typically a great investment for a home. While they can cost anywhere between $3,000-$10,000 to install, they usually pay for themselves within five years. At that point, they not only power your home but also subsidize your electric bill with long-term savings on the utility costs.
Solar power is also a great option for green energy since it creates clean, renewable power that does not require fossil fuels, deplete other natural resources, or contribute to carbon emissions.
With all of the benefits of solar panels, why should homeowners explore solar batteries? Solar panels thrive and produce energy in tandem with the sun. If you have a cloudy day or an understandably dark night, your panels will produce much less (or zero) energy to power your home.
This is why many solar panel systems are integrated into an existing electrical utility. While the solar panels can power your home during the day, they can lag or fail to produce enough energy at other times. This means your home must run off of the local electrical grid for power in off-peak solar hours or complete outages.
In contrast, solar batteries are designed to charge up from the electricity generated by solar panels. They connect to your existing solar panel system and store up energy for use on demand later when you need it most.
Some common uses for solar batteries include:
If solar batteries sound appealing given the flexibility they provide, you might want to know how many you need to purchase. Homes usually require about 20kWh of power each day, and a standard 5kW solar panel system is more than sufficient.
Solar batteries will capture any excess energy from that system and store it for future use. A reputable solar installer can recommend how many batteries, and at what size, might work best for your home based on your energy consumption and what might presumably be left over. This is all based on the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) that you need to store.
To run your entire home completely on solar battery power overnight and remain independent of the local power grid, you would need 11kWh of battery power. A single battery of this size can cost upwards of $15,000, but purchasing multiple smaller batteries may also be rather inefficient or costly to set up with your existing solar power system.
This is why it is important to consider what you want to use the solar battery for in the first place. Likely, you can get away with a much smaller unit to power essentials for shorter periods of time.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to solar batteries. A variety of features can drive the costs up, and it’s important to make sure you are only paying for what you truly need when it comes to solar power.
We’re not just talking about physical size. Batteries come in different wattages, and generally speaking, the more power they can store, the more expensive they will be.
Solar batteries need to be hooked into your solar power system, but they can’t be left out to the elements. You’ll need dry, covered place to store them, ideally near the power switchboard or inverter.
This can increase costs if you don’t have an existing shed or garage structure or if you have to run electrical lines to your solar battery location.
The work to transform the power created in solar panels to energy that can be stored in a solar battery is done within an inverter. If you’ve already had your solar panels installed, your provider also installed an inverter so you can use the energy.
However, if your system is older or not set up for energy storage, you might need an inverter replacement or a different coupling solution to be able to connect your battery.
Solar battery installation should be managed by a licensed and insured solar power installer. Tinkering with your existing solar power system yourself can cause damage to the system, the battery, and to you. Installs can take 2-3 hours, and fees for labor may be charged separately from the battery itself. If you need changes to your existing system, such as a new inverter, the job will take longer and likely drive up the installation costs.
The materials that make up the solar batteries themselves also affect pricing. From the hard costs of substances to lifespan and cost of replacement, the type is also worth consideration. Solar batteries come in five main types, but only two are used for residential solar systems:
Since there are a few factors to consider, solar panel storage batteries cost will vary. We put together this table to give you a high-level idea of prices. Note that these numbers do not include installation fees. You will want to check with your installation provider for an accurate estimate.
|Battery Size||Average Cost|
For most homeowners, the answer to this is no. While solar panel systems can pay for themselves in just a few years, solar batteries large enough to power your home can be quite cost prohibitive. Unless you live in an area with intermittent power or you have a strong desire to live off of the grid, solar panels may be enough for your electricity needs.
Solar batteries have more practical uses when they are portable and used away from the home. Campers, RV owners, boaters, and others for whom electrical power is simply unavailable can find solar batteries a convenient option. Off-grid portable solar batteries are usually between 1.2-1.5kWh and cost between $300-900.
Clearly, a solar battery is a big purchase and investment in your home, so you want to be sure you understand what you are buying before you spend a dollar. Perhaps you have your eye on a specific battery based on your power consumption and size needs. Here are some more questions ask before you move forward.
Different manufacturers will offer different guarantees for their products. Most have a lifespan of 10 years, but this can vary based on light or heavy use. Some batteries are warrantied for the number of cycles, or actual usage, rather than just on the number of years alone. Yet another warranty measure is throughput, or the amount of MWh it can release before the unit starts to degrade.
Depth of discharge (DoD) indicates how much energy is removed or used from the battery compared to how much it can actually hold. This metric matters because you will want to get as much power as possible from each full battery charge. The more times you charge a battery, the shorter it’s expected lifespan will be.
Solar batteries and solar panels are related but certainly quite different. Make sure that any solar provider you contract to install your battery is knowledgeable with solar batteries and the specific unit or model you choose. They’ll need to be able to manage the connection to your solar panel system, inverter, and power grid without compromising the integrity of your (very expensive) solar battery.
Perth receives nearly six hours of sun each day, making solar power a great way to offset the rising local costs of electricity from most utility providers. Perth residents can also take advantage of rebates and discounts through Australia’s renewable energy incentives. Check with your installer to see whether your solar battery qualifies for any of these discounts.
While they can be expensive, solar batteries can be right sized to help homeowners meet their specific power needs. To start, you’ll want to confirm how much power you think you will need (or want to have in reserve) and compare that to your current solar panel system output. If you are using a lot of the power already generated, it may take a while to charge up your battery.
Solar panel storage batteries cost might be worthwhile for peace of mind in the event of an outage. But it’s up to each homeowner to decide if this upfront expense presents enough value for the price. Remember, even with a good warranty, solar batteries will not typically last more than 10 years, so you’ll be looking at replacement expenses or depleted power storage over time.
Remember that the cost of installation is not included when pricing out solar batteries. You’ll want to ask your solar provider to itemize the battery as well as installation and warranties so you are clear on exactly what you are paying for.
Here at Formula Sun Solar, we understand that solar batteries are a big investment for homeowners. That’s why we back up our work with professional installation by CEC licensed electricians and a 10-year warranty. We’ll help you choose the best solar battery for your home from inverter and type to ideal storage capacity.
Since 2006, we’ve provided Perth and the surrounding area with leading solar panel installation. Call us on 0491 288 808 for a free quote.