More and more homeowners are wondering if a solar battery is worth it. For many of them, the appeal of having a lithium battery makes a lot of sense. On sunny days, solar panels will generate enough power to generate the whole house. With often having enough electricity back to the utility company.
Are Home Batteries Worth It?
Since excess power can be stored and used at a later time, rather it be sold back to the local grid, it’s a better option for homeowners. Home storage batteries can further reduce your electricity bills, especially if you live in an area with constant sun. A home can only get Net Zero energy by being powered with renewable energy with solar panels and stored with storage batteries.
Stored electricity could keep your home lights on or fill the tank of your electric car when the grid is down. The batteries can keep important appliances powered such as your refrigerator/freezer, wifi or important medical devices. With more human-made or natural disasters becoming more frequent, homeowners are starting to think about installing home battery options.
As your local grid is becoming more sophisticated, homeowners have an opportunity to see their excess electricity to local utility companies during the busiest time for example 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Solar power batteries have been in the industry for a long time. However, it’s still fairly young but growing rapidly as the market is ramping up production to meet the constant demand. There is currently no manufacturer that dominates the market; here is a look at some of the best options.
Be cautious of how some companies make marketing statements about how many days their solar battery can power your home. It all depends on the energy your home uses, every home is different so it will vary. The way to size the battery is to know how much energy your home requires drawing from the solar battery. Some homeowners install a battery to get off the grid, but that scenario is very unlikely with lithium batteries. Lithium is only capable of powering your home for hours and not days.
Connecting to the grid isn’t always the best thing. Your solar panels will produce energy during daylight and when typically people are at work. Many companies charge a high rate during peak hours which are daytime and early evening. What that means for you is that the grid that you do use during the night will likely be charged at a lower rate if you have time of use billing.
How many batteries will I need?
The amount of batteries you will need is determined on your energy usage. Energy usage is measured in kilowatt-hours over a certain period of time. A good example is requiring 1,000 watts for 10 hours per day = 10 kWh per day. You also have to take into account the battery’s performance and how much output you will require. It’s important to consult with a solar energy company to size your panels and batteries correctly.
Should I purchase a lithium or lead acid battery?
It takes several lithium-ion batteries to keep your home powered for a day or more. Lead-acid batteries, which have been around for many years, are a lot less efficient, are bulkier and don’t offer as much storage. They also don’t last very long. However, lithium batteries can be left at a partial charge without any effects like a lead battery would.
What is the time to use home batteries?
Having a battery storage could be useful for other applications. Many utilities have time-of-use (TOU) rates that make customers pay more during higher rate times. With a storage home battery, a homeowner can easily make the switch to stored energy during peak hours to reduce the amount of electricity they buy from their utility and reduce the cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh). If you own an electric car you can charge your car during peak hours. You can use your stored energy instead of having to buy from your utility company at a high price.
However, outside of California, TOU rates aren’t very common, although many states are testing their own TOU programs of their own. Currently, many utilities apply “net metering” rates to homes with a solar energy system, offering to buy their electricity at a per kilowatt rate for what they usually charge for. For example, if you sell your electricity for 11 cents a kilowatt-hour (kWh) to utility companies. It will be likely that the utility charges you the same rate it’s sold to you. In this type of net metering, storage has no advantage.
Which Home Battery Works For Me?
While battery technology is still at its early stages, there has been a big breakthrough with lithium-ion batteries. These types of batteries are the same as cell phones and other devices-capture energy from solar panels as direct current (DC) and convert it to alternative current (AC) through an inverter.
Various battery storage systems exist: AC couple systems, AC battery system, DC-coupled systems, and hybrid converter systems. Considering there are a lot of options, ask your solar consultant which system will work best for your solar energy system and the infrastructure that will work best for your utility.
Can home batteries save you money?
Some good news is that utilities are changing their pricing mechanism. States such as Nevada and Hawaii have employed “avoided costs” to pay for electricity that’s produced by residential solar installation. Avoided costs are a lot less, some companies will reimburse homeowners as little as 4 cents kWh. At the rate, using the power you stored will save money making storage a more desirable option.
How much does a solar home battery cost?
Home battery prices will not include installation, they range from $2,000 to $20,000 for one or more batteries. But, it’s not a purchase every single solar power system owner needs to purchase. Still, for those looking to have cutting edge technology or who live in areas with frequent blackouts or rollovers a battery could be a good investment.
What are the best home batteries?
While it can be hard to compare various models, we have taken a look at the price per kilowatt-hour (kWh). For example, on average a U.S. home will use about 30 kWh per day.
Each Tesla Powerwall is a lithium-ion battery that will provide 13.5 kWh of electricity and costs $6,700 each, plus $1,100 for supporting hardware. That equates to $578 per kWh. If you visit the Tesla website they have tools that will help you properly size your system based on your home size.
Specs for Tesla Powerwall
- 7kW peak / 5kW continuous
- Dimensions: 45.3” x 29.6” x 5.75”
- Weight: 114 kg
- 10 Year Warranty
- Cloud base web and mobile control and monitoring
- Recommended Operating Temperature: -4°F to 122°F / -20°C to 50°C
- Scale up to 10 Powerwall’s
- Wall mounted design for indoors or out
- Sleek design
LG Chem Resu10H
A South Korean-based LG Chem RESU 6.4EX is a lithium-ion battery. The system is available in North America, which is sized at 9.8 kWh and costs around $5,250.
LG Chem Reus10H
Specs for LG Chem Resu10H
- Total Energy: 9.8kWh 400VDC
- Max Power: 5.0kW / Peak Power 7.0 kW (for 10 secs)
- Capacity: 63 Ah
- 10 Year Warranty
- Dimensions: 29.30 x 35.70 x 8.10 inches
- Weight: 220.00 lbs.
- Voltage Range: 430–550 Volts
Pika Energy Harbor
Pika Energy designs various types of batteries; the Harbor pairs directly with the inverter, is a smart lithium-ion battery, and ranges from 10.1 to 20.3 kWh. The system costs about $13,500 coming in at $1,336 per kWh.
Pika Energy Harbor
Specs for Pika Energy Harbor
- 10 year warranty
- Capacity, harbor 3 = 10.1kWh up to 6 20.3kWh
- DC-coupled eliminates lossy power conversions
- DC Current: Output/Input 24A
- Recommended temperature: 54–86°F
Sonnen Eco Batteries is based out of Germany. It’s a lithium ferrous phosphate battery; the smallest size will start at 4 kWh and costs $9.950 — coming at a cost of $2,500 per kWh. If you choose to size up at 10 kWh, the price is $16,750, which drops it to $1,675 per kWh still pretty high over competitors. Why is it so expensive? It includes an inverter and smart energy management software, so it actually differentiates itself as a full system.
Sonnen Eco Batteries
Specs for Sonnen Eco
- 10 year warranty
- 5 kWh — 15 kWh storage capacity
- Eco outputs: 2.5–3.3 kW
- 10,000 charge cycle
- Complete store system, everything is included and ready to connect
- Expandable in steps 2.5 kWh
The Panasonic EverVolt can integrate seamlessly into new and existing solar panel energy systems including generators. The EverVolt app allows you to manage your consumption, net metering , backup power, charge/discharge and more. EverVolt comes in many sizes from 5.7 kWh for $12,705 for 17.1 kWh for $19,055. The 11.4 kWh size is a mid-tier at $15,880. Their warranty guarantees 60% minimum capacity towards the end of warranty period.
Specs for Panasonic EverVolt
- 10 year warranty
- 6 hours of backup capability
- 13.5 kWh total energy
- 4.8 kW continuous battery output power
- 11.4 kWh usable energy
- 5.5 kW maximum continuous power
- 84% / 89% round trip efficiency
- UL certified
- Recommending temperature: 41°F to 131°F [5°C to 55°C]
Mostly known for their auto manufacturing, Nissan has entered the solar battery market with their Nissan Xstorage. The battery comes in 3 sizes. The 4.2 kWh coming in at $3,700, while the largest storage option is 9.6 kWh costs under $10,000. Many of these types of batteries are refurbished electrical vehicle batteries giving them a second life and putting them to use.
Specs for Nissa Xstorage
- 5 to 10 year warranty
- Stocks renewable energy and grid during the day
- Capacity ranges from 4.2 kWh to 10.08 kWh
- Can be wall or floor mounted
Enphase Encharge 10
The Enphase Encharge is an all-in-on AC coupled storage system with a Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) costing $10,649.97 without installation cost. Enphase offers a smaller battery named the Encharge 3 for $3,979.97 which might be a good option, depending on your energy needs. The Encharge 10 offers output (AC) at 240 VAC, 3.84 kVA AC continuous power and rated for 16 A of output current. One big benefit is that it works perfectly with Enphase micro-inverters; because of the small size, it’s not recommended to go off-grid.
Enphase Encharge 10
Specs For Encharge
- 10 year limited warranty
- 10.08 kWh usable energy capacity
- Grid-forming capability for backup operation
- Mobile app-based monitoring and control
- Passive cooling (no moving fans)
- Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry for longevity and safety
- Twelve embedded grid-forming microinverters with 3.84 kW
Solar Rebates and Incentives
Incentives exist for homeowners depending on what state they live in. However, every homeowner will qualify for a 26% Federal Tax Credit for solar energy panels and people who purchase solar batteries. The system should be purchased before 2022 to receive the 26% tax credit. After rates go down to 22% — 10%,