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8 Essential Tips for Solar Battery Storage at Home

solar battery
Georgia Carter Updated: 01 July 2022
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Wondering if a solar battery is the right choice for you? Solar batteries are becoming more and more popular as people look to take advantage of renewable energy sources. A solar battery can store energy from your solar panels or export it back onto the grid for rebates, making it an easy starting place when it comes to storing and operating solar cells

Our team is here to help you find out if solar systems with a battery suit your household or business needs. We unearth what a solar battery is, how a battery solar system works, the various types of solar energy storage batteries, and what to consider when searching for a solar battery.

Key facts

  • There are four main types of solar batteries, being nickel-iron, Lithium-ion, lead-acid, and flow batteries.
  • Before purchasing a battery, there are a few things to consider, including knowing the difference between nominal capacity and useable capacity.
  • You cannot go off-grid with a battery alone. You may want to do more research if you’re thinking of this option.
  • Batteries will need replacing every 10 to 15 years. When you have your battery system installed, you may want to keep this in mind.
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What is a solar battery?

Installations that include batteries are increasingly popular. There’s a real attraction to being independent from the grid. For most people, it’s not just an economic decision but also environmental, and some have even chosen this because they want their homes or businesses to be more self-sufficient.

The sun is a powerful source of energy that you can harness to run your home on clean, renewable power. This may be cheaper than using electricity from the grid depending on where in Australia and what kind of solar panel array size they have available for their house – but it’s worth checking out all options before making any decisions.

How does solar battery storage work?

The solar battery is a device that can store excess electricity from your home’s system. You might think of it as the “energy storage unit” for when you’re not using all day and need to recharge during peak hours or if there are cloudy days with little sun shining through. It can provide stability for any existing photovoltaic (PV) system or work as the sole power source.

In some cases, installers offer unbeatable packages that include installation without cost upfront; you just pay monthly after it has been installed! Batteries range from 1kWh all of way 15+ kWh depending on what you need at home.

Types of solar batteries in Australia

  • Lithium-ion: lithium-ion batteries are the most common type of battery on today’s market, thanks to popular brands like Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem RESU. These durable cells can be discharged heavily without sacrificing power or lifespan, but they do have some drawbacks that prevent them from being ideal for all applications. Lithium ions have low energy density which means you’ll need more space per watt generated than other technologies (like lead-acid). Lastly, these types tend not only to lose their charge quicker when sitting around unattended.
  • Flow: Flow Batteries are a new technology that uses flowing electrolytes such as bromide or zinc to store and release can be charged with saltwater by simply submersing its electrodes into the solution – no need for any external power source. The flow solar battery is an advanced technology that can generate electricity from hot water. These batteries are well-suited for use in high temperatures, but they do lose capacity faster when discharged below 100%. They also have a higher cost per mile than other types of storage devices like lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries – on average this type will last shorter before needing replacement due to issues with cold climate operation.
  • Nickel-Iron: Though expensive, durable and high in energy density nickel-iron batteries are among the best for storing power. They can be completely discharged but have a shorter lifespan than other types that also charge slower to use it up faster – so you’ll need more of them per device or installation point if considering this option!
  • Lead Acid: Lead acid batteries are a cheap but inefficient fossil fuel for solar power. They’re prone to leakage and don’t last as long compared with other types of storage solutions like lithium-ion or flow cells.

8 things to consider when reviewing solar battery storage

Know the difference between ‘nominal capacity’ and ‘usable capacity’

The amount of energy a battery can store, usually measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The nominal capacity is the total number it holds; usable or operational range means how much you’re able to use once your phone starts dying from lack-of charge – but this will depend on different factors like depth doze off. 

A battery storage system won’t get you off the grid

Running an off-grid system is more complex and expensive than a typical grid-connected home. The solar capacity needs to be large enough for the household’s daily demand, so it typically requires multiple batteries as well; plus, you need an inverter capable of handling peak loads with ease. 

Investing in batteries isn’t for everyone

Batteries aren’t cheap, and sometimes, they won’t even be needed for an entire solar system. Since some solar systems and panels have batteries installed in them, they will be able to regulate and provide power even after the sun shines. Batteries are expensive and need regular replacing, which can be a hefty amount for some. Remember to review battery costs and lifespans and determine if the regular replacing is within your budget. 

Most batteries will degrade over time

Unfortunately, batteries don’t last long. Technology hasn’t yet evolved enough to develop a sound way to sustainably keep batteries around for a long period of time. Due to this condition, batteries don’t last long, and you’ll find yourself regularly replacing your batteries. If you want to avoid the hassle and cost of this, you may want to reconsider getting a battery system. 

solar battery

Hybrid solar battery systems are generally more affordable

When it comes to installing batteries alongside solar panels, there are two main approaches: The ‘2 box solution’ where you would have an inverter for the electricity generated by your panel and then a second device called a charger/hub which supplies power into the battery pack(s).

Alternatively, in some countries like Australia, where shipping large quantities of water across long distances is costly, one may simply opt not to use this approach at all. Instead, you can rely solely on a hybrid battery or inverter that is more effective and affordable. 

You can have a battery system installed in an existing solar power system

If you’ve already had your solar-powered system for some time and want to incorporate a battery, no problem. You can connect a battery to your solar power system if you wish. When doing so, it’s recommended to use a hybrid inverter or battery as it is easier to install and more effective, not to mention less costly. 

Batteries help you save on your energy tariffs

With a rebate scheme or trading system like Reposit, batteries can become economically viable for some households. There are also many VPP programs in most states that offer savings on the cost of energy storage with their help – you just have to find one near your home!

You’ll have backup power during blackouts

The main reason many people install solar batteries with their solar power systems is to keep them from being affected by blackouts. Since batteries store any excess energy your household or business is not using, you won’t be lost without power when an incident like a blackout occurs. 

Should I invest in a solar battery system?

The battery is the most expensive component in your home. It can be costly to replace, and you’ll often need payback time longer than 10 years before seeing any benefits from investing in one – even if that means paying more upfront costs for a new system with warranty coverage as well.

However, As more and more people are converting their homes to solar power, there has been a need for an affordable way of storing that excess energy. With battery prices currently at historic lows, it may be time soon when homeowners can save money by including batteries with these systems, in addition to reducing dependence on traditional sources such as oil or coal-fired plants.

What are the costs?

The cost of a solar battery depends on many factors, including its capacity and type. The more power it can store, the higher the price for you as an end-user. Typically, a 6kWh costs around $4,500–$9,600, a 10kWh about $9,800–$14,000, and a 13kWh ranges between $8,000–$18,000. When getting quotes, make sure it’s clear whether the cost of a new inverter and extra electrical work are factored in.

The lower-end prices tend to be for just your battery pack, while the higher-end can involve integrated systems with more features, which could save you time during busy periods. Compare solar battery storage options to find the right solution for your home.

Frequently asked questions and answers

  • How long can solar energy be stored in a battery?

    Solar energy is a great way to produce electricity, but storage can be tricky. Mechanical batteries store an electrical charge for very long periods without losing power due to their design principles: simple cells with no leaks that act like tanks storing gas inside them (the same goes with solar panels). But traditional solar panels only produce electricity when exposed to sunlight; they don’t work well in areas with little light, such as at night or indoors. Generally, a standard solar battery will charge for 1-5 days.
  • How do you store solar batteries?

    The best way to store your batteries is in a well-insulated space with sufficient thermal mass and protection from direct sunlight. AGM or other no maintenance chargers can be stored inside the house, but flooded cellphones should only ever stay on shelves where they’ll receive adequate airflow, thanks for their low voltage needs.
  • How often do you replace solar batteries?

    What’s the life span of your solar battery? The answer will vary depending on how you use it and what type. A typical cell from a lower quality manufacturer could last anywhere between five to 15 years, but this may be shorter than expected if they’re used heavily or exposed directly to sunlight for long periods without protection. A well designed and valuable solar power battery should last 15 years.
  • Can electricity from solar panels be stored?

    Yes, electricity produced from solar panels can be stored in solar panel batteries. There are a few main types of solar batteries: lithium-ion, flow batteries, hybrid batteries, nickel-iron, and lead-acid. In addition to being environmentally friendly, surplus energy storage can result in cost savings for you and increased efficiency across the board. It may even help decrease fossil fuel emissions by helping us use our existing resources more wisely, all while storing away what we need when prices are high, or there’s an imbalance between production & consumption rates.
  • How do you store electricity off the grid?

    Store it in a home battery, and discharge your solar panel whenever the generation tapers off. This is what it means to have true energy security and independence with no sacrifices on lifestyle! Store away for those days when you need extra power at hand – either because of peak usage or slack times from renewable resources like wind turbines that don’t always provide enough electricity alone due to their slow speeds in certain conditions.

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