Solar batteries for home are a potential option for making the utmost of solar energy. But what are solar system batteries and are they a good option for your household?
What is a solar battery?
A solar battery is a storage device used to capture unused energy generated by your solar system. Instead of being sent back to the main electricity grid, electricity is collected for use on days with lower sunlight or at night.
Solar batteries can be part of hybrid systems, where a home features both solar panels and a connection to the main electricity grid. Alternatively, off-grid solar batteries can be essential for remote or self-sufficient properties, providing electricity when additional power is required.
How long do solar batteries last?
Solar system batteries generally come with a ten-year warranty which can provide quite a bit of functionality alongside your solar setup. However, due to the relatively expensive prices of solar batteries, it’s a possibility they will need to be replaced before the end of the payback period.
Technical specs explained
How much energy each solar system battery can store, divided into nominal (total) and useable energy. Measured in kilowatt-hours.
Depth of Discharge
Expressed as a percentage, DoD refers to how much energy can be safely discharged with accelerating the degradation rate of the battery.
The volume of power that the battery can provide. Peak power is the maximum amount of electricity the battery outputs for a short amount of time. Continuous power is the sustained amount provided while the battery has enough charge.
Battery efficiency refers to how much charge put into the battery can be stored and put back out to power your devices. All solar batteries will generally be subject to some power loss but higher efficiency is desirable when looking for a battery.
The lifespan or cycle life of a battery is a rating based on how many cycles of ‘charge & discharge’ a battery can perform before it is considered at the end of its life. The cycle of life can also be expressed as a number of operational years.
Like many electronics, solar batteries generally have an optimal temperature range in which they operate efficiently. If the temperature is too hot or too cold, the solar system battery may not function as intended.
Virtual Power Plants
While it may not be a viable option for off-grid solar batteries, Virtual Power Plants (VPP) can help subsidise the costs of a solar battery, especially since batteries are incompatible with the feed-in tariff.
VPPs are services that provide stored energy to the wider electricity grid in times of higher demand. The VPP provider will provide a subsidy depending on how much of your stored electricity is used. While this can be an excellent way to leverage your solar battery, it’s not a guaranteed ROI.
Should I get a solar battery?
In Australia currently, solar batteries are quite an expensive option with a lower warranty period, compared to solar panels themselves. For some homes, solar storage could be viable, especially if bundled with a large capacity system, eg. a 10kW solar system with batteries.
Households with higher power consumption who are savvy with their use of solar power may enjoy the benefits of solar batteries, as will those who want to shift further away from reliance on the grid. However, the initial price and payback period could be a high barrier to entry for most.
Contact the friendly team at Solar System, one of the leading solar power companies in Sydney, for more information about on- and off-grid solar batteries.