Fes Know Your Battery 3

There’s a lot to find out about your solar battery to make the right choice for your house or business. Get in the know now.

Know your battery

There’s a lot to find out about your solar battery to make the right choice for your house or business. Get in the know now.

What is a solar battery?

Solar batteries allow you to store electricity that has been generated by your rooftop solar panels during the day, for use later. There are currently two major types of batteries.

Lithium ion batteries are quickly becoming the popular choice for use with household solar panels due to its higher capacity and storage, lighter weight and higher voltage, reduced maintenance and longer cycle life.

Lead-acid batteries are similar to that of a car battery, are commonly used with solar panels in remote rural homes where connection to the grid is prohibitively expensive and are relatively cheap and easy to acquire.

Read more about the different types of batteries available

Solar batteries can benefit your home by:

  • helping reduce your reliance on electricity from the grid
  • capturing the energy from your solar panels for use later in the day
  • offsetting the increased cost of power used during peak times.
  • providing electricity to your home during blackouts
  • reducing exposure to future electricity price rises.

What kind of solar battery do I need?

The type of battery you need will depend on your energy use and feed-in-tariff, the size of your solar panel system and what you want from your battery. Make sure you discuss your requirements with a Clean Energy Council accredited battery designer when you are choosing your system.

Here are some key questions to consider:

  • What is the total installed cost of the solar battery versus the expected output over its lifetime?
  • What can you afford?
  • What system best suits your tariff structure (if you have peak and off-peak rates for different times of day)?
  • Do you have an appropriate space to install the battery?
  • Can the battery store and supply enough energy for your needs?
  • Is the supplier a reputable company that can deliver on any potential warranty claims?
  • Do you have any safety concerns?

It’s also important to know how much power and energy you need from your battery, so you can choose the right size system for your home:

  • What do you want to use the battery for (e.g. backup for blackouts, saving money)?
  • How much energy do you use between battery charges (both now and in the future)?
  • How much power do you need to run your appliances?
  • How much excess energy do you generate from your solar panels each day?

Read more about battery capacity here

How much will a solar battery cost?

The full cost to install a solar battery will depend on its energy storage capacity. While prices have fallen, the cost to install a solar battery remains significant and is likely to be around $1,000 to $2,000 per kWh.

The cost of running a solar battery is minimal. It’s important to have a maintenance plan to ensure your battery is running safely and efficiently, so be sure to speak to your battery retailer about any ongoing maintenance costs.

Solar battery features to look for

The key features to look for when comparing solar batteries are:

  • How do I know what the solar battery is doing (i.e. what is the user interface)?
  • How is it intended to be used (e.g. some systems are only intended for providing backup power while others can only charge from your solar panels and not from the electricity grid)?
  • How much energy can it store?
  • How fast can it store and supply energy?
  • What are the maintenance and safety considerations of the system and technology?
  • How big is it and where does it need to be installed?

Your Clean Energy Council accredited battery designer will help you understand the differences between systems and choose a system that is appropriate for your requirements.