Solar battery storage systems don’t come cheap. You need to factor in the individual components as well as the scale of the system.
But how much are these components? And what setup would work best based on your situation?
Join us in finding out the cost of a solar battery storage system. But first, what exactly is a solar battery storage system?
What Is a Solar Battery Storage System?
If you’re asking yourself, should I get a battery with my solar system before purchasing it, it’s best you understand the purpose of the battery.
A solar battery is designed specifically for solar systems. It’s an energy storage solution that works with your solar system to store electricity that the panels generate during the day.
The purpose of it is to use the power that’s stored once the sun goes down.
A solar panel can’t harness electricity at night so having a solar system with a battery backup is beneficial to those in your home.
Types of Solar Battery Storage
There are 2 types of solar battery storage options, hybrid, and off-grid.
The former uses a battery in the system that’s supported by both solar powers as well as being grid-tied.
This means that your panels generate energy during the day and the surplus electricity is sent to the batteries for later use.
However, once the batteries are charged, the excess electricity is fed back to the grid.
Off-grid means you don’t rely on the grid at all and you independently supply power to your home using your solar system.
Having an off-grid solar system means you need more solar panels as well as bigger or multiple batteries to compensate for the grid not supplying you power.
While we know the basic components of a solar system, when you add a battery to existing solar systems, more components become essential.
One of these components is the charge controller.
Charge Controllers for Solar Batteries
Charge controllers are devices that regulate the voltage and current flowing from the panels to the batteries. This prevents electrical failure and overcharging.
These controllers come in 2 options, PWM or MPPT.
Pulse Wave Modulation is the cheaper option, having a conversion efficiency rate of around 75%.
This means they offer a low current and voltage rating so they are perfect for 200 to 300W solar panels that are connected in series.
An MPPT controller makes use of conversion technology, making for a high-efficiency rate of 95%.
You won’t need to worry about the voltage of the solar panel and battery storage unit matching as the controller can convert PV power at a high voltage.
Out of the two controllers, MPPT is more efficient and doesn’t require other MPPTS to be connected in series to get a higher voltage.
But what’s all the fuss about? Why are so many people recommending solar batteries for your solar system?
One of the biggest advantages of implementing a solar battery into your system is that it allows you to make full use of solar energy.
Increases Energy Independence and Saves Money
If you don’t have a battery in your system, you become reliant on the grid to supply electricity to your home once the sun goes down.
If you are constantly needing to use power from the grid when it's dark outside, your wallet isn’t going to be happy.
When you’re making use of a battery, you save more energy and you can use it whenever you please.
When you’re at work in the afternoon and away from home, the solar panels generate electricity and the battery is used to store it. This means you’ll be able to use it when you return home.
Clean, Green Energy
Being more energy-independent means you won’t have a high carbon footprint. This effect is greater when you decide to incorporate an off-grid lifestyle.
If the sun is shining, you have energy. no need to worry about getting a refill on gas and paying a hefty power bill at the end of the month.
The batteries allow you to make extended use of that power by creating a solar power storage system.
The solar battery is also kept inside of a battery enclosure, sheltering them from any external hazards.
They also prevent you from experiencing power cuts or outages, meaning that you will always have the lights on at home.
Types of Solar Batteries
The cost of a solar battery depends on the type. The two most common batteries used in solar systems are lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries.
These batteries have been around for ages and are the most affordable out of the two. When it comes to the best batteries for RV solar systems, lead-acid is a favorite due to it being so affordable.
They’re available either as flooded or AGM options.
A flooded lead-acid battery is also known as a “wet cell battery.” These are the cheapest batteries you can buy on the market. The downside to affordability is a drop in quality.
A wet cell battery requires a lot of maintenance such as checking water levels and doing routine equalization charges.
If these are not followed, hydrogen gas will fume out of the battery, meaning you’re going to need proper ventilation.
AGM lead acid batteries are on the more premium side, wedged between fiberglass mats to allow the electrolytes to be absorbed.
This means that less maintenance would be required and compared to the wet cell, this battery is the best for lead acid. It offers more charge cycles, more protection, and is lighter.
These lead acid batteries are priced at around $125, with the AGM coming in at $100.
The downside to these batteries is the overall lifespan and repairing them becomes a mission. You would be better off buying an entirely new battery if your lead acid battery malfunctions.
A lithium-ion battery is the safest and most reliable choice of solar battery to implement into your solar system. But where quality is good, the price is higher than a lead-acid battery.
A lithium-ion battery requires almost no maintenance and it doesn’t need to be fully charged for you to use them.
They’re designed with long, lengthy charge cycles in mind so that once you purchase one battery, it’ll be a long time before you need a replacement.
This battery also has safety features that help manage and monitor the battery’s health. For example, if the battery overheats, it automatically shuts down so that it can become cooler by saving energy.
They can be daisy-chained together, making them perfect for the big kilowatt solar systems used by farmers and solar experts.
Lithium-ion batteries are almost 10 times more expensive than lead acid, coming in anywhere between $5,000 and $8,000.
As expensive as this may seem, the quality and the sheer number of features included in this battery make it a worthy addition to your solar system.
How to Decide on a Battery
Sometimes the cheapest option isn’t always the best option. Choosing the right battery depends on factors like your solar needs, your location, and your circumstances.
You want to ensure that the battery you choose has enough power to match your solar needs.
Figuring out your solar needs is as easy as going online and using a solar needs calculator.
If you want to calculate it for yourself, simply multiply the watts of an appliance by the hours you use it, and voila, you have watt-hours.
Do this for all your appliances, sum up the watt-hours, and you will be left with the total amount of watt-hours used per day. this gives you an idea of what battery works best.
If you find yourself with a very large number, choosing a lithium-ion battery is best as you want a storage unit that’s reliable and safe.
If your solar needs are low, simply purchasing one or two lead-acid batteries will do the job.
Once you’ve calculated the capacity you need for your solar system, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Cycles and Depth of Discharge
The depth of discharge, DoD refers to the amount of power that you can withdraw from a battery before it needs to be charged again.
You will never be able to use up 100% of your battery's capacity due to its composition.
Lead acid batteries have a DoD of around 50%. In other words, you shouldn’t use more than 50% of the battery before recharging it.
If you do, you could risk the battery becoming inoperable and breaking.
A lithium-ion battery has a DoD of 80%, giving you more use out of your battery before needing to recharge it.
The battery cycle determines its lifespan. They have a total number of cycles that they can complete before needing to be replaced.
A single cycle is complete when a fully charged battery is discharged until it reaches its DoD and is then charged back up to 100%.
In other words, the number of cycles a battery can complete indicates how long the battery will last.
Let’s have a look at solar battery storage that you can implement into your solar systems.
At the end of the day, the cost of a solar battery storage system depends on the size of your system. However, the most important factor affecting the price is the type of battery and the quality.
Opting for a lead acid battery means you will pay less and for those who have a smaller solar system, this is perfect.
However, if you’re in a residential area in a big-family home, a lithium-ion battery will work best. This means you will be paying a much greater fee compared to the lead acid batteries.
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