How to Choose the Best Solar Battery for Your Needs

 

How to Choose the Best Solar Battery for Your Needs

How to Choose the Best Solar Battery for Your Needs

Solar battery technology is one of the central elements of the ongoing electricity and solar energy revolution. Reliable and affordable battery technology, after all, not only keeps the lights on when the lights go out, but also stores solar energy for use when the sun isn't shining.

In fact, no article on battery storage would be complete without mentioning the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which undoubtedly makes battery storage eligible for the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) - now on 30 % until 2032.

Even plug-in electric cars, which use similar energy storage, play an important role in promoting the development of solar batteries. All of these factors lead to significant improvements in battery technology and lower costs for battery storage. Likewise, many homeowners are considering battery storage as part of their solar project.

Let's take a look at some of the decision factors to consider when helping a customer decide on the right battery for their home. 

H

ow to Choose the Best Solar Battery for Your Needs 

Are the Batteries Worth the Price?

For solar customers who are really looking to get the most out of their PV system, a good home battery can be a good option. There's no sugar coating how expensive they are — typically between $10,000 and $20,000 to install — but if a solar customer can afford it, the benefits of installing a solar system are significant. And, as mentioned earlier, solar batteries are eligible for a 30% federal solar investment credit, and many local utilities also offer incentives, which greatly reduce costs.  

Considering that solar batteries do triple duty as an emergency power generator, can help reduce long-term energy costs, and reduce a home's carbon footprint, they're often affordable. money. The payback period for solar batteries can be as short as five years plus or minus a year or two depending on other factors such as total system capacity and design and available incentives.

Of course, some of the advantages of solar batteries - such as peace of mind and resiliency - are valuable to some solar consumers, and should also be a factor in determining whether solar batteries are worth it. Of course, knowing ROI and showing ROI to customers are two different things. Aurora's Energy Storage Tool allows you to design battery chargers, schedule and configure them, and more for customers, so they can quickly see the benefits.

In addition, rapid advances in solar battery technology mean that new batteries are hitting the market while older ones are still on the shelves. From the old lead acid, solar energy buyers now have a wide variety of battery types, technologies and sizes to choose from.

There have been many advances in the electrical energy storage industry over the past decade. One of the most popular is the development of modular systems, such as the Tesla Powerwall. These types of batteries have made energy storage easier, easier to install and transport, and cheaper to maintain.

If you are considering storing batteries for solar power, the first thing you need to know is how to choose the right one. How to Choose the Best Solar Battery for Your Needs

 


Choose a Battery System

Many people, especially homeowners, are involved in solar energy without knowing it. The market has changed for their needs by defining what a buyer should "expect" when investing in a solar system. This information is not always good. The wealth of solar battery options can make this a difficult task. Although most people go for one-size-fits-all, it is not always the best.

 

The Problem with One-size-fits-all Batteries

There are three good reasons why you should not choose one type of solar battery:

1. The technology of using a battery is not difficult. Most one-size-fits-all batteries use lead-acid technology to store energy. It's not the best technology on the market.

2. These batteries can be large, but they usually don't have much energy storage capacity. The cost rarely justifies the power.

3. These solar batteries are usually more or less compact. Insufficient batteries cannot meet the manufacturing capacity. On the other hand, the battery is big, not always charged, especially in winter. 

One-size-fits-all batteries are considered an option for many people, because most consumers don't know what to look for. However, it often changes plans and capabilities to meet the minimum requirements of different use cases.

 

Solar Battery Specifications

How to Choose the Best Solar Battery for Your Needs


All solar batteries are made differently. Some manufacturers use robots, while others assemble batteries by hand. Quality controls can affect battery quality. Some manufacturers are known to use heavier grid voltages that affect battery cell performance. More importantly, some types of batteries are tested well for safety and performance, while others are not.

Therefore, it is not common for batteries with similar specifications to have different functions in life. Finding the right battery for your solar installation can mean the difference between good and bad power system performance. It can also mean the difference between attention or high.

 


Most Important Things you should have on your Checklist when Shopping for Solar Batteries

• Battery power

Batteries are rated in amp-hours, or just amps. The indicated power is usually the battery's fully developed power. This means that it may take 10 to 15 minutes to charge the battery to its recommended capacity. In other words, it can be misleading to test your battery after a short charge.

You don't need to understand the physics of electricity to measure your energy needs or properly measure your battery. If you use electricity, this guide can help you estimate your electricity consumption based on your electricity bill.

As a general rule, measure your peak power needs in amp-hours. A 100-hour battery, for example, can produce 1 amp of electrical power for 100 hours or 10 amps for 10 hours. When choosing a solar battery, understanding your energy needs is key to choosing a battery with adequate energy storage. Note that batteries that have a longer warm-up period before reaching full capacity may last longer than batteries that boast a higher initial capacity.

 

• Longevity and Cost/Disposal

Battery life is a critical factor that manufacturers compete with when designing heavy-duty solar batteries. This process is usually done to ensure that the battery is resistant to heat and cold to provide the best performance for a long time. The type of battery technology also plays an important role in determining battery life. Three things that affect battery life that you should look for when buying one are:

• Depth of discharge: This is the extent to which the battery is discharged or used, depending on its capacity. Since batteries degrade as they are used, their capacity deteriorates over time.

• Cyclic life: This is the rate of charge and discharge of the battery. With regular use, a flooded battery usually lasts between 300 and 700 cycles. Gel batteries can store and deliver peak power for 500 to 5,000 cycles. Lithium batteries can last 200 cycles.

• Temperature: The chemical activity inside the battery increases with temperature. To prolong the life of your solar batteries, place them in a temperature-controlled room. How to Choose the Best Solar Battery for Your Needs


• Flooded or Sealed Battery

Solar batteries can be divided into two broad types: flooded and sealed. Flooded batteries are standard lead-acid batteries used in cars and off-road solar installations. They are cheap, but since they are easy to clean and store, they last a long time. When used, these batteries produce a small amount of hydrogen gas.

These batteries are also known as VRLA batteries (valve regularized lead acid) batteries. Cannot be kept or caring for them because they mark it. The man holder has been holding water and dish into the battery to extend their lives.

These batteries do not emit hydrogen gas when in use.

 

• Maximum Output Power

Solar batteries can be classified according to their kilowatt rating or Kwp. Kwp is the maximum power of the system under ideal conditions. The top results are comparable to absolute units.

When choosing a solar battery, the Kwp level indicates the maximum power it can produce and its best performance: the higher the number of power output, the better the battery.

 

• Round Trip Efficiency

The cycle efficiency of a battery is the amount of energy that can be calculated as a percentage of the energy used to store it. For example, if 100 kWh of electricity is supplied to the battery and it can produce 90 kWh, the efficiency of the transport battery will be 90% (90 kWh / 100 kWh x 100). Choosing the battery for a higher Round Trip Efficiency because they are rich.

 

• Ambient Operating Temperature

Climate is the average temperature of the air surrounding the battery or the temperature of the room in which the battery is placed. The temperature indicates the maximum temperature below which the battery will work properly. The operating temperature of a solar battery is a very important level that is often overlooked. This is especially important for those who live in areas with high temperatures. How to Choose the Best Solar Battery for Your Needs

 

Brand and Warranty

Many different manufacturers are competing to produce the best solar batteries. Their design and production processes are different, and therefore, the end product is also different. The type is an important factor when choosing a solar battery. Your priorities and budget should determine whether you should buy a battery made by a new start-up or a major car charging company. Whatever you choose, be sure to check the warranty details carefully and choose a product that offers a great warranty.

 

• Amount of Money

Prices for solar batteries vary. Solar battery prices range between $200 and $750 per kWh. Lead-acid batteries average around $260 per KWh and lithium-ion batteries average $271 per KWh. This brings the total cost of the battery to between $5,000 and $7,000. Actual prices may vary depending on your location and available models. Note that the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) provides incentives for installing solar energy systems in the United States. Also, the tax credit for the installation of residential solar systems is 30% until 2032 thanks to the update of the CII.

 



The Different Types of Solar Batteries How to Choose the Best Solar Battery for Your Needs

Style, or technology, is the most important thing to consider when buying a solar battery. Your budget and specific needs should determine the type of battery you choose.

 

1. Lead-acid

Tried and tested, lead-acid batteries are the standard for electrical storage. This type of battery has been around since its invention in the 17th century, but it is still the most commonly used for energy storage. Until five years ago, these were the only useful batteries that could be used to store electricity for homes or factories.

Advantage of Lead Acid Batteries

The most significant strength of lead acid batteries is that they are cheap. They are installed in rural and remote areas because they are cheaper to buy than to pay for the extension of the electricity grid. Lead acid batteries are deep cycle batteries, which means they can be continuously generated over a long period of time. Their waste rate is constant. These batteries were flooded and shut down. Both work on the same principle.

Disadvantages of Lead Acid Batteries

At first glance, lead acid batteries look boring - they are big, ugly and heavy. Because they take up a lot of space and their operating temperature is lower than room temperature, they should be placed in an air-conditioned hangar.

Where lead acid batteries are: Lead-acid batteries are the first choice for solar system installations. Their price and stability make them reliable and easy to upgrade or replace. Most of the country's security systems also use lead-acid batteries.

 

2. Lithium-ion

Li-ion batteries are popular because they are a source of energy for electric car manufacturers. The potential of lithium-ion as an energy storage device has not yet been proven, but it is promising. However, with this rate of improvement, it is only a matter of time before they become the most popular batteries for solar storage.

Tesla's Powerwall battery is the most popular energy storage device using this technology. There are two types of lithium-ion batteries on the market. The first, and the most popular among electric car manufacturers, is the chemical type NMC (nickel-manganese-cobalt). The other is a LiFePO 4 (lithium iron phosphate) type battery.

The NMC battery type has a long life, making it ideal for use in outdoor installations. LiFePO batteries work well at high temperatures, making them ideal for use in areas with high temperatures

Advantages of Lithium-ion Batteries

Li-Ion batteries require little or no maintenance. They have high battery power density. This means that lithium-ion batteries can store more energy than physically sized lead-acid batteries.

Because they have a long life, they have a long life and a high depth of termination. Lithium-ion batteries can deliver between 4,000 and 6,000 cycles at an 80% depth of discharge and last up to 15 years.

Disadvantages of Lithium-ion Batteries

The main disadvantage of lithium-ion batteries is that they are expensive. They cost up to twice the price of lead-acid batteries with similar energy storage capabilities. These batteries, unlike lead acid batteries, are also very fragile and require a stable circuit to ensure proper operation.

Where lithium-ion batteries are used: Lithium-ion batteries have entered the automotive industry. Demand for this battery is higher than EV manufacturers are eager to produce.

 

3. Flow

Also known as redox flow, flow batteries are a new entrant in the solar battery race. These batteries use an aqueous solution of zinc and bromine and vanadium to store the electrical charge. There are only a few companies making this battery today, the most famous being Red flow, an Australian company.

Advantages of Flow Batteries

Flying batteries are highly scalable. This means that the power and input of the battery can be increased or decreased according to the size of the battery. They are different from the other batteries on this list because deep discharge has no effect on performance or battery life. They have a long cycle life and low self-discharge. It should be noted that the flow battery does not heat up during use.

Disadvantages of Flow Batteries

The fluids used to manufacture batteries are very expensive. Although their technology has been in operation for decades, these batteries are not well known to the public because few companies produce them commercially. Because of their chemistry, batteries are capable of carrying loads. The zinc and bromine in batteries are also highly corrosive and toxic.

Where Flow Batteries are used: Flow batteries are ideal for use in situations where the battery receives multiple charge/discharge cycles per day. They are ideal for use in larger installations. How to Choose the Best Solar Battery for Your Needs

 

4. Sodium-nickel Chloride

Sodium nickel chloride batteries are a major competitor for lithium-ion batteries. This energy storage uses a special chemistry that makes it highly recyclable. It does not emit toxic chemicals, and there is no danger of heat or fire. Unlike lithium-ion batteries, sodium-nickel chloride batteries do not require a cooling system to function properly.

Advantages of sodium-nickel chloride batteries

Because of its chemistry, sodium nickel chloride batteries are safe and reliable. It can work well even in extreme temperatures between -4°F and 140°F. Batteries are recycled safely because they do not contain hazardous or toxic chemicals. Advantages of sodium-nickel chloride batteries

They have a lifespan of only about 3,000 cycles and a depth of discharge of only 80%. This means that up to 20% of the energy it stores cannot be used. These batteries are also expensive to install, especially for residential solar systems and large projects.

When Sodium-nickel Chloride Batteries are used: Sodium nickel chloride batteries are best used in large scale installations in solar power installations and emergency power storage systems.

 


Comparison of Battery Types

Lead-acid

 The cheapest in the market

 Easy to maintain; Sealed lead-acid batteries do not require maintenance

 Be very reliable

 It is easily recycled or discarded

 Large and takes up a lot of useful memory

 Short lifespan between 1000 and 3000 cycles. On average, lead acid batteries can last 5-8 years

 About 60% shallow depth at 70ยบ temperature.

 Ideal for off-grid solar systems and emergency backups

 

Lithium-ion

 Requires less maintenance

 High battery power density saves space

 Long life expectancy and longevity

 Maximum depth of termination

 Very expensive

 Degradable and must be machined

 Use electronic circuits to provide stable power output

 Ideal for electric vehicles, remote cameras and drones

 

Flow Battery

 Capable of delivering more than 10,000 cycles with no malfunction or safety capability. 

 Fast charging rates

 Little or no risk of heat or fire

• Very expensive

 It is difficult to dispose of and cannot be recycled

 Ideal for large scale installations

 

Sodium-nickel Chloride

 Safety and reliability

 Can work well even in high temperature

 Can be recycled

 Life expectancy is short

 80% depth of discharge is shallow.

 Very expensive

 Ideal for large scale installations, backup systems


Read: 10 Key Benefits of Solar Energy


Final Thought

The right battery and size for your customer depends on their specific electrical needs. Many first-time buyers use solar battery storage calculators to get a quick and accurate estimate. The most recommended battery for most industrial and residential installations today is the lithium-ion battery. 

As battery technology develops, batteries are becoming more compact, more energy efficient and cheaper. If the budget is tight or you want to install a basic solar system, lead acid batteries can be effective. However, since environmental factors have a direct impact on the performance and longevity of these batteries, be sure to consider its characteristics against the expected energy consumption and climate, among other things. Schedule a personalized demo to learn more about how Aurora can help you add battery protection to your offerings.

 

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