What type of batteries should you install with solar panels?
Energy storage applications are becoming more popular as people look for ways to store solar energy and sell it back to their utilities at the maximum price and profit. We should first note that you do NOT need batteries for a solar power system to work, because tying into the grid essentially works as a “virtual battery.”
We’ve explained this in the past, so be sure to read Solar Panels For Your Home: Where Do The Batteries Go? for a better understanding. But if you’re looking to add batteries to your install because you want them, scroll down and read our analysis.
Just as is the case with solar panels, a number of different battery technologies and manufacturers exist. This article will compare commonly available energy storage options, from the most affordable to the most lavish, which can all be paired with a solar power installation.
Understanding Energy Storage Capacity
Batteries are rated in amp-hours and kilowatt-hours, with higher numbers indicating more storage capacity.
For example, a battery with 250Ah at 6V will be able to power more electronics then would a battery with 200Ah at 6V.
When connected together, multiple batteries form a battery bank or energy storage group. Common household applications are 6V, 12V, 24V, and 48V.
Just like with amp hours, a higher voltage battery bank will support more electronics.
Another important consideration is cycle life, which provides the number of discharge/charge cycles the battery can deliver before capacity drops to a specified percentage of rated capacity.
Batteries from different manufacturers may have the same capacity and energy content, but design, materials, process and quality influence how long the battery will cycle.
Lithium ion batteries are quickly becoming the hottest new type of battery technology. Popularized for their low-weight, high-efficiency, and sleek designs, lithium ion batteries are some of the newest and expensive type of energy storage available today.
Lithium ion batteries are today used in cell phones, laptops, and electric vehicle applications.
Tesla Solar Battery
The Tesla Powerwall 2.0 retails for $6,200 with a 13.5 kWh storage capacity and a 10 year warranty.
LG Solar Battery
LG Chem is a division of LG Electronics and the manufacturer of the RESU lithium ion battery. It is available in a 9.8 kWh configuration with a 10 year warranty and starting price of $6,000.
Sonnen Solar Battery
Finally, the Sonnen eco compact is a 4 kWh home battery manufactured by sonnenBatterie, an energy storage company based in Germany. It is priced at $5,950 with a 10 year warranty.
Lead acid batteries are some of the oldest and most common type of energy storage options available. Deep cycle lead acid batteries are commonly used in vehicles, golf cars, boats, and other high energy applications.
Most lead acid batteries have an expected life of 5 to 10 years, with shorter warrantees than newer technologies like lithium ion.
However, the biggest advantage of lead acid batteries is their dramatically lower cost. Since the technology has been around so much longer, prices have come down to cost much less than newer battery technologies like lithium ion.
A quick Google search found the following DEKA 6V 250Ah battery for sale for $600 each. You could wire a number of these together, in series and/or parallel, to get to your desired amp-hour or kilowatt-hour rating.
For more in-depth comparisons head over to the Solar Power World website and read: What is the best type of battery for solar storage
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