Lightforce solar articles

Is it Worth Getting a Solar Battery?

by: Lightforce Solar
14 March 2024
Discover how solar battery systems can help amplify your solar savings. From how they work to whether they are worth the cost, we cover it all! continue reading below...

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Many Kiwis have enjoyed reduced electricity bills with solar panels during the day. But what happens at night or during power outages? Since solar power generation depends on sunlight, it’s not always possible to fully utilise this energy source throughout the entire day. That’s where solar batteries present a compelling solution.

But with the additional investment, is it worth getting a solar battery for your home? This guide will explore how solar batteries work and why they could be the perfect sustainable solution to your power problems.

How Does Solar Battery Storage Work?

Solar batteries store surplus energy that solar panels generate during the day. When the sun sets, the stored energy from the battery can power your home, ensuring that electricity is available even when the solar panels are not actively generating power.

The process of battery storage begins with the direct current (DC) electricity generated by solar panels, which is converted to alternating current (AC) electricity, the type of electricity needed to power your home appliances, using an inverter. The AC electricity is then sent to your home’s electrical panel, where it powers your appliances. Any excess electricity not used by your appliances is stored in the battery for later use. With a battery storage system, you can maximise your solar energy use, reduce your reliance on the grid, and lower your electricity costs.

Sonnen battery for saving money on solar

Types of Solar Batteries

In the New Zealand market, two main types of solar batteries dominate the competition: lithium-ion and lead-acid. But what are the differences, and which is best for you?

Lithium-ion batteries

Despite being more costly than lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries are the most commonly used option in Kiwi homes. This popularity is due to their higher maximum depth of discharge (DoD), which allows a greater percentage of energy stored in the battery to be discharged relative to the overall battery capacity. Lithium-ion batteries can also be charged much faster, ensuring you have the power you need when you need it.

Lead-acid batteries

Lead-acid batteries are quite popular with off-grid installs due to their affordability and ability to handle overcharging better than other battery types. However, it’s important to note that they have a lower maximum Depth of Discharge (DoD), which can affect their overall lifespan.

How Much Do Solar Batteries Cost?

Solar batteries come in various shapes, sizes, and capabilities, with prices typically ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. Batteries with a high output and longer lifespan tend to be more expensive. However, it’s important to consider your household’s specific needs rather than solely focusing on the price. To make an informed decision, compare the cost of the battery with that of the solar panel system, considering both of their lifespans.

The cost of your solar battery will depend on several factors. Let’s look at what affects the price of solar battery systems.

Size/Capacity of the Battery

A larger battery typically means a higher cost. Batteries are typically rated based on their energy storage capacity in kWh. Depending on your home’s size and energy usage patterns, the size you need will vary. A typical household in New Zealand consumes approximately 20 kWh of energy per day, with a significant portion of that energy being used during the morning and evening hours. For this reason, a battery system with a capacity of 10-15 kWh is usually sufficient for most homes.

Battery Chemistry

Over the past decade, lithium batteries have become the preferred choice for energy storage, replacing the once-dominant lead-acid batteries. Although lead-acid batteries are cheaper, lithium-ion batteries are preferred by most installers due to their long lifespan and maintenance-free operation.

Specs and Features

Battery design can impact the price of the battery. In the past, batteries had two projecting terminals that required cables and lugs to be attached, which could be dangerous due to the risk of sparks. Nowadays, batteries have evolved beyond their traditional role. They are no longer just cells that can convert electrical energy into chemical energy and vice versa. Modern battery systems come equipped with advanced electronics that provide intelligent features to the product but can increase the price.

How does a Solar Battery System Save You Money?

As the upfront cost of battery systems fall, the solar savings you can gain has increased. Batteries can help you save money on solar in various ways:

  • Reducing Grid Dependency – By storing excess solar energy generated during the day, solar batteries enable you to use it during peak consumption hours or at night, reducing reliance on grid electricity, thereby reducing power bills.
  • Protecting Against Power Outages – Solar batteries provide backup power during outages, ensuring uninterrupted electricity supply without needing costly generators or alternative energy sources.
  • Increasing Return on Investment – Despite the initial upfront cost, the long-term savings on electricity bills contribute to a favourable return on investment over time.

Maximise Your Solar Investment with Lightforce Solar

Solar batteries have been around for a long time, but they are now more affordable than ever. Where the upfront cost was once a deterrent for most, the long-term savings are becoming hard to deny. Solar batteries are well worth it if you’re looking to lower your utility bill and reliance on grid power.

If you are looking for high-quality solar batteries for your home, contact the Lightforce Solar team today.

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