A functional solar system is a combination of various components, including solar panels, inverter, net meter, and more. Aside from that, many of our solar power clients also opt for solar batteries. These batteries store excess energy that you can use as a backup. But the question is, are solar batteries worth the investment?
In this post, we will answer this question by listing the benefits and limits of solar batteries. We will also give you a quick preview of the cost considerations before you avail of this component.
Read on and learn more about how solar batteries work!
How do solar batteries work?
Solar batteries, or solar energy storage systems, are devices that store electricity from your solar panels. Their main purpose is to store excess energy for use when the sun is not shining. This can be during the night or on cloudy days.
By storing excess energy, solar batteries enable homeowners and businesses to become more self-sufficient. It also reduces their reliance on the grid while enjoying added peace of mind.
Moreover, the mechanism of solar batteries is relatively simple. When solar panels produce electricity, the excess energy is directed toward charging the battery. This stored energy can then be utilized when the demand for electricity exceeds the supply from the solar panels. In this way, solar batteries act as a buffer, ensuring a constant and reliable power supply.
While it’s an optional component for solar systems, we highly recommend that you consider getting one. This way, your home or commercial space is protected against outages and energy cost fluctuations.
Pros and Cons of Solar Batteries
As with any optional product or service, solar batteries have their own share of pros and cons. Still, the advantages always outweigh the minor downsides. Here’s what our experts have to say about this aspect.
Pros of solar batteries
- Energy Resilience. One of the main solar battery benefits is energy resilience. It allows you to have a backup power source during extended power outages or emergencies. This can be especially important in areas prone to natural disasters or frequent grid failures.
- Grid Support. Solar batteries can help support the grid by reducing strain during peak demand periods. Using your battery’s stored energy during peak hours can greatly reduce the grid’s load. Overall, this contributes to the positive environmental impact of solar batteries.
- Demand Charge Reduction. In some regions, utility companies impose demand charges based on the highest amount of power used during a specific period. Solar batteries can help reduce these charges, resulting in additional cost savings. This is possible because you have stored energy and you don’t have to connect to the grid for most of your electricity needs.
- Remote and Off-Grid Applications. The importance of solar batteries can’t be stressed enough for remote areas. Solar batteries are essential for off-grid installations where access to the utility grid is limited or nonexistent. They enable reliable and continuous power supply without the need for traditional generators.
- Increased Property Value. If you’re looking for a good reason to add solar batteries to your system, this might be it. Investing in a solar battery system can potentially increase the value of your property. Potential homebuyers may be attracted to energy independence and cost savings.
Cons of solar batteries
- High Initial Cost. Solar batteries can be expensive, which means you need to shell out a big upfront investment. The cost of the battery system, installation, and additional components can add up. This makes solar systems a financial challenge for some homeowners who are on a budget.
- Limited Storage Capacity. Solar batteries have a limited storage capacity, which means they can only store a certain amount of energy. If you have more energy than your battery can store, the excess can be sent to the grid. Worse, it will be wasted, which reduces the overall benefit of the system.
- Efficiency Losses. No battery is 100% efficient, meaning that there will be some energy loss during the charging and discharging process. These efficiency losses can vary depending on the type and quality of the battery. Overall, it will result in a slight reduction in the amount of usable energy stored.
- Lifespan and Replacement Costs. The average lifespan of solar batteries ranges from 5 to 15 years. Still, it depends on the type and usage. As the battery ages, its capacity and performance may degrade, requiring replacement. The replacement cost can be expensive, especially if you need to get it before the payback period ends.
- Maintenance Requirements. While maintenance requirements for solar batteries are generally low, they still require some attention. Maintenance tasks include regular inspections, cleaning, and occasional calibration. Failing to do all these can reduce battery performance and life expectancy.
Cost Savings with Solar Batteries
- Reduced Energy Bills. By storing excess energy, you can lower your reliance on the grid and reduce your energy bills. This is especially beneficial for areas with time-of-use pricing, where electricity rates vary throughout the day.
- Time-of-Use Optimization. Some utility companies offer time-of-use (TOU) pricing, which charges higher rates during peak hours. With a solar battery, you can avoid purchasing electricity during those peak hours, so you can save money.
- Rebates and Incentives. Many governments and utility companies provide rebates and incentives for solar batteries. These financial incentives can help offset the initial cost and make the investment more affordable. Research the available incentives in your area to see if you qualify.
Types of Solar Batteries
1. Lead-Acid Batteries
2. Lithium-Ion Batteries
3. Saltwater Batteries
Factors to Consider When Buying Solar Batteries
- Storage Capacity. You should assess your energy needs and choose a battery that meets your requirements. Consider the size of your solar energy system and the amount of excess energy you generate.
- Efficiency. Look for batteries with high round-trip efficiency. This indicates how much energy can be stored and discharged without losing too much power. Higher efficiency means more usable energy for your household.
- Warranty. You also need to consider the length and terms of the battery warranty. This will also give you provide peace of mind should the battery turns out defective. Also, long warranty coverage also means that the manufacturer swears by their battery’s performance.
- Compatibility. Ensure that the battery you choose is compatible with your existing solar panel system and inverter. Feel free to call us at Local Solar Service for a free consultation about which battery matches your system.
- Cost. The cost of the solar battery is the leading concern of many of our clients. The good news is that there are many affordable solar battery options. You can also get them through financing, which we also offer.
- Installation and Maintenance. You should also think about the installation and maintenance requirements of the battery you’ll choose. Some batteries may require professional installation, while others are designed for easy DIY installation.