Solar Tribune

Should I Purchase Batteries for my Solar Energy System?

Battery-enabled solar energy systems offer an appealing level of independence for the end user, but come with additional costs.

When are Batteries a Good Fit?

Solar batteries are a great complement to existing residential solar energy systems that remain connected to the grid. Generally speaking, solar batteries are a good fit if:

You are in a natural disaster-prone area: Solar batteries are a big asset when major weather events cause significant disruptions to the electrical grid.

You pay variable utility rates: By strategically tapping into stored up power, you can insulate yourself from the higher rates that utility companies sometimes charge during peak times.

Your utility doesn’t offer net metering: Solar batteries can be a wise choice if you live in a part of the country with no net metering options (or poor rates).

 

Source: EnergySage

Pitfalls of Battery-Equipped Systems

There are some potential downsides to consider when weighing whether or not to incorporate a solar battery into your home’s solar energy system.

Cost:

If a solar battery is installed at the same time as your home PV system, the battery can easily add $10,000+ to the total cost of the install.

A 12v solar battery can cost hundreds of dollars, and a typical residence will need multiple solar batteries at that capacity level.

Maintenance:

Solar batteries require regular upkeep, and certain external factors – like temperature – can significantly impact their useful life.

The typical lifespan of a solar battery is between 5 to 15 years.

Thanks in part to ambitious investments by Tesla, the price of solar batteries for home storage – especially the lithium-ion variety – are falling rapidly. As the price for solar batteries continues to fall, more and more residential solar users will consider having a solar plus storage system.

For now, the costly nature of this add-on feature restricts its usefulness primarily to those living in remote areas with limited utility access, or those who live in places where power outages are frequent and long-lasting. As solar battery technologies improve,however, you can expect more and more residential solar users to give serious thought to using a solar plus storage system.