Solar batteries store the energy generated by your solar panels during sunlight hours and make it readily available for use during non-production hours. For example, in the evening or at a later date. It’s a great way to make your solar photovoltaic (PV) system more efficient and cost-effective.
|Solar battery||Charge/discharge in kW||Average installation price|
|Alpha Smile 14.5kWh||3||£5,600|
|Sonnen 9.43 - 15kWh||3.3||£8,850|
|Solax Hybrid X1 Triplepower 6.3kWh||1.7||£4,250|
|SolarEdge LG Chem RESU 10||5||£6,100|
|Powervault 3 - 12.3kWh||3.3/5.5||£8,100|
|Powervault 3 - 8.2kWh||3.3/5.5||£6,350|
|Sonnen 9.43 - 7.5kWh||3.3||£6,230|
|Puredrive Energy Storage 9.6kWh||3.6/4.2||£6,815|
|Puredrive Energy/Solis Hybrid 5kWh||3||£3,630|
|Hot Water Cylinder & Immersion Diverter||3||£2,310|
If you already have an existing solar PV array (a number of solar panels connected together), it should be relatively simple to add a solar battery into the mix. But if you have neither panels nor a battery, the two systems can be installed together to make your home run entirely on renewable energy.
In this guide, we’ll look at the average solar panel battery storage cost, covering different system types and installation prices.
Solar battery storage system cost
Solar PV battery storage costs depend on a few factors. These include the chemical materials that make up the battery, the storage and usable capacity of the battery, and its life cycle.
You can expect an average system to last around five to 15 years. This could mean that you’ll have to replace the battery several times over the lifespan of your solar panels, which usually last around 15-30 years.
Storage capacity refers to the total amount of energy your solar battery can store, while usable capacity means the amount you can actually use. This is usually calculated by the depth of discharge (DoD). The larger storage capacity, the higher the price.
Typically though, solar battery storage system costs in the UK range from £1,200 to £6,000.
Once you’ve bought the system, the next step is to get it installed. This can set you back between £2,310 and £8,850.
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Types of solar batteries
Lead-acid and lithium-ion are the two materials most commonly used to make batteries for solar panel systems. You’ll find that lead-acid batteries are cheaper in the short term, but lithium-ion batteries have a longer lifespan.
The average lifespan of lead-acid battery is between five and seven and a half years. For lithium-ion batteries, it’s 11 to 15 years.
Lithium-ion batteries can handle a larger range of temperature changes and have a higher tolerance level if discharged improperly.
Different materials have different impacts on the discharge rate and the lifespan of the product. Lithium-ion batteries can discharge 70%-90% of the total amount of storage, while lead-acid can only discharge around 50%.
Solar battery types
Here’s a quick rundown of the main solar battery types you need to know about:
- RV/Marine Solar batteries – Marine solar batteries are suitable for smaller systems, such as boats or recreational vehicles (RVs). These types of solar batteries are best used in situations where no other form of electricity can be produced, as they only have a limited capacity for continuous use.
- Flooded type – These are lead-acid batteries with caps for adding water. They’re reasonably priced and have a good life span compared to marine solar batteries. It’s recommended that flooded type batteries are only used outdoors, as they emit gas when charged. But if they are installed inside, it’s crucial to use a venting system to vent out gases, as these can be both explosive and toxic.
- Gel – Unlike the flooded type, sealed gel batteries have no vents and don’t release gases. As a result, venting is not important and these batteries can be used indoors without any risks. This means that the battery will have a more constant temperature, which means better performance than the flooded type.
- Absorbed Glass Mat batteries (AGM) – These batteries, where a glass mat is used between the plates to hold the electrolyte, offer superior performance compared to other types. AGM batteries are leak-proof, so they don’t release gas when charging. They have all the benefits of the sealed gel types but are of higher quality. They also maintain voltage better, self-discharge slower and last longer. With all these advantages, it does come with a more expensive price tag.
Battery storage installation systems
There are two types of battery installation – DC and AC systems.
- A DC system is connected directly to your solar panels, before the electricity generation meter. And according to the Energy Saving Trust, DC systems can’t be charged from the grid.
- In AC systems, the connection is made after the electricity generation meter. This means that you’ll need an AC-to-DC power unit as well. This unit converts the electricity you generate into AC you can use in your home, and also converts it back again to store it in your battery.
AC systems tend to be more expensive than DC systems. However, an AC system shouldn’t affect your FITs payments, as the generation meter can register the total system output.
Benefits of a solar battery storage system
Still not convinced that the rather high solar battery storage system cost is worth it? Here are just a few of the many benefits they offer:
- Store energy for later use
- Significantly lower your energy costs
- Earn money by selling stored energy to the grid
- Become independent from the grid
Above all, a solar battery helps you maximise the technology you already have on your roof – your solar panels. They store the energy generated during sunlight hours, for use on cloudy days or at nighttime. This essentially enables your home to run on 100% renewable solar energy around the clock. Of course, this is as long as electricity demand does not exceed the supply that the battery can provide.
With solar battery backup power, you can lower your energy costs significantly. By charging the solar battery during off-peak hours and discharging it during peak hours, you can cut your utility bills right down to size. The savings from this can go towards reducing your battery system costs.
Do I have to have solar panels to install a battery?
Actually, you don’t need solar panels. You can charge a home battery using the electricity you buy from the grid. If you have a time-of-use electricity tariff, you can save money by charging your battery when electricity is cheaper. Then, use the power from the battery in your home so you’re not buying from the grid at pricy peak times.
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