Storage acts as an Insurance Policy for Sunshine.
If you’ve been looking to install a solar panel system recently, you’ve probably come across the topic of solar batteries. Despite the fact that battery systems are becoming increasingly popular, many still don’t know a lot about them.
India with abundant sunshine and a unique confluence of supply and demand situation is an ideal location to combine solar with ESS (energy storage system).
Solar batteries let you store the energy that your solar panels produce for later use. Pairing your solar panels with solar batteries to create what is known as a ‘hybrid solar system’ comes with a number of advantages, including access to reliable backup power and independence from your utility.
But how exactly do solar batteries work? And more importantly, how much do they cost? Keep reading to find out.
Energy Storage System
How Solar & Batteries Work?
Solar batteries store the extra solar energy your panels produce that you don't immediately use, so you can draw from it later.
See, solar panels produce the most electricity during the middle of the day, which also happens to be the time when your home uses the least amount of electricity.
With a regular grid-tied solar system, that excess solar energy gets sent back to the utility grid. However, when solar panels are paired with a battery, that excess electricity goes into the battery instead of going to the grid. Then, when the sun goes down and your panels aren’t producing electricity anymore, you can use the energy you have stored in your battery - instead of paying for electricity from the utility.
This means you get to power your home/business with all of the clean, renewable solar power your solar panels produce no matter what time of day it is.
Factors that determine battery cost
Solar + Storage
What are the benefits of adding a solar battery to your solar power system?
Whether you're thinking about installing a new solar power system, or you’ve already gone solar, energy storage can help you leverage the full potential of your solar panels.
By storing the excess energy your solar panels produce, solar-plus-storage provides a reliable, low-cost power backup option so when the sun goes down, the clouds roll in, or the lights go off in your community, you always have power on hand and savings in store.
There are a variety of solar battery benefits that many consider when deciding to integrate energy storage into their solar power system design:
Perhaps the ultimate reason for why you might want a solar battery installation. Solar energy storage technology enables you to have more control over where your energy comes from, how it gets used, and what you can do with it.
Solar and storage can provide backup power during an electrical disruption. They can keep critical facilities operating to ensure continuous essential services, like communications.
Firming Solar Generation
Short-term storage can be used to ride through a brief generation disruption from a passing cloud, helping maintain a “firm” electrical supply that is reliable and consistent.
Reduce Demand Charge
Batteries can be used to shave peak usage hours by self-consumption of solar-generated energy stored in a battery instead of importing electricity from the grid.
Increase Your Savings
Energy storage can help maximize the financial savings you get from solar if you don’t have access to one-to-one net metering by allowing you to draw power from the battery instead of the grid. Thus consuming more of the solar power you produce on site.
By increasing the energy-producing potential of your solar PV system, you can reduce your fossil fuel usage even more, reducing your environmental carbon footprint, and supporting technologies that will help continue the international drive towards a better climate future.
Adding a solar battery while staying connected to the grid gives you even more control over your electricity, and helps use the full capacity of your solar panels without letting any excess electricity go to waste.
Are solar batteries worth the extra cost?
Although pairing solar panels with energy storage is becoming more common, it doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone.
Installing a solar battery storage solution provides the greatest benefits to those who lives in areas that experience frequent power outages and where full-retail net metering isn’t offered.
Solar batteries are also great if your main reasons for going solar are environmental, as it maximises the amount of renewable energy you use.
However, if you’re only looking to save extra money, a solar battery might not be worth it for you. What we mean is, if you live in a state with full-retail net metering, you’ll be saving the same amount of money with a battery as you would without one. All the battery would be doing is adding thousands of rupees to your solar installation and providing you peace of mind in the event of a power outage.
To see if you’re a good fit for storage, and if storage is right for you, read this blog.
How much does storage cost?
While solar is primarily a financial decision for most people, storage is typically a resilience or peace of mind purchase. However, that doesn’t mean that the cost of storage is insignificant: storage can cost nearly as much as installing solar on its own.
Perhaps the biggest factor in the cost of a battery installation is the equipment itself: what battery are you installing and how many of them do you need; what chemistry does it use to store energy and the electrical work required for your installation.
There are a few key factors that determine how much your energy storage system will cost:
There are a few different types of batteries available for home and business owners on the market today and each material has different characteristics, with its own advantages and disadvantages. Though the most common ones typically use some form of lithium ion chemistry to store electricity.
Lithium-ion solar batteries like Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem are popular for their compact design, higher Depth of Discharge rating, and extended lifespan compared to lead-acid batteries. Because of these benefits, lithium-ion batteries are typically more expensive than other solar battery types, but this initial investment can pay off over time.
Also, some homeowners choose to use lead-acid batteries instead of lithium-ion batteries because they are cheaper, they tend to have a shorter lifespan, lower capacity, and require regular maintenance.
The key difference: if you buy a Lithium battery, most are warrantied for 10 years, and many last even longer than that. With a Lead acid battery, you have to replace the battery bank 2-3 times over that same time frame.
Capacity & Power
Solar battery capacity is the amount of power a battery can store, measured in kilowatt-hours, or kWh. Solar battery capacity determines how long you can power your home with the energy stored in the battery.
Solar battery power rating is what tells you how much power the battery can deliver all at once, measured in kilowatts. The higher the power rating, the more devices you can power at the same time.
A battery with a low capacity and a high power rating means the battery is capable of powering many appliances at once, but for a short period of time. In contrast, a battery with a high capacity and a low power rating can only power a few electronic appliances at once, but it can do so for an extended amount of time.
Power and capacity isn’t an either/or comparison, and a good battery can offer both a large capacity and a high power rating, so you’ll want to just keep an eye on both features and find the right combination for your family’s needs.
Depth of Discharge
Depth of Discharge is the maximum percentage of a battery’s capacity that can safely be used without the need for a recharge. Draining a battery completely can actually damage the battery, so the Depth of Discharge helps you understand how much of a battery’s total capacity can actually be used.
For example, a battery with a 10 kWh capacity and 90% depth of discharge rating tells you that you shouldn't use more than 9 kWh (90% of 10 kWh) before recharging to avoid damaging the battery and shortening its lifespan. The higher the Dept of Discharge, the more of your battery you can actually use on a day-to-day basis.
When a battery stores or distributes electricity, some energy turns into heat during transmission, and some is needed to run the technology inside of the battery itself, so it's not possible to draw back the same amount of energy that you feed into a solar battery. Therefore, round-trip efficiency measures the percentage of energy you can get back from a battery, compared to what the solar panels feed into the battery.
For example, if you feed 10 kWh into your battery, but you can only get 8 kWh back, the battery has an 80% round-trip efficiency
The warranty terms help you determine how long you can expect a solar battery to last.
Warranty terms specify the number of cycles (one cycle = one charge and discharge) that the battery should last, as well as the capacity it should retain, before the warranty expires. As the battery's cycles increase, its ability to retain a charge decreases.
For example, you might get a 10 year, 5,000 cycle, 70% capacity warranty, which means that if the battery is less than 10 years old and has had less than 5,000 cycles, it should have at least 70% of its original capacity remaining.
The warranty that comes with a battery impacts the price of that battery. Typically, more expensive batteries are going to include longer or better warranty terms, and that warranty can prevent you from dealing with issues down the road as your battery gets older.
Where can I get the best solar battery?
RF ENERGY has been helping thousands of home/business owners across north India access clean solar energy. Our end-to-end solutions promise results that you can track, and savings you can count on. With many years of experience designing solar power systems that include battery storage to maximise your savings, we have the knowledge needed to precisely determine which battery option will work best for you.
Whether your intent is to back up your power system or reduce utility demand fees, we have a solution that will meet your needs.
Getting your free estimate is the easiest way to compare solar storage options,
We look forward to helping you get started on a journey towards energy independence.