When you think about going green with your energy, it’s natural for your mind to go to solar panels. After all, solar panels have gained massive popularity over the years, with approximately 722,000 Queensland homes now having rooftop solar. But these households may not be truly reaping the benefits of their solar panel system. Combining solar power with batteries makes for an impressive and powerful combination for any Queensland household.
But how do solar batteries work, and are they a worthy investment for your home? In this blog, we’ll explain how solar batteries work, their ongoing benefits and what you need to consider if you’re thinking about installing one on your property.
What is a solar battery, and how does it work?
As the name suggests, a solar battery is a device that allows you to store and use solar energy generated by your solar panels. Solar panel battery storage is a perfect addition for a home already using solar energy throughout the day. A battery allows you to use your excess power once the sun sets or when your panels haven’t generated enough electricity, for instance, on cloudy or rainy days.
Solar batteries operate through a mix of chemicals. When solar energy is pumped into a battery, it starts a chemical reaction with its components to store the electricity. The reaction is reversed when the battery is in use, allowing the electric current to flow through your home.
What are the benefits of solar panel battery storage?
For several years, storage batteries for solar panels have provided a range of benefits to Australian households looking to make a difference in how they consume energy. Let’s look at some ways the average household could take advantage from solar panel battery storage:
- Ongoing solar energy — Solar batteries allow you to maximise the electricity generated by your solar panels. This means you won’t have to sell excess power to the grid and instead get to enjoy green energy even after the sun goes down.
- Energy bill savings — As you will be using solar energy almost 24/7, you won’t be relying on your standard electricity provider as much to power your home and appliances. This means a significant drop in your annual power bill, and you’ll be well on your way to a $0 power bill!
- Lowered carbon footprint — Going green with your energy supply means your daily power consumption will have a reduced impact on the environment. For many of our customers, having the ability to make a positive difference in the world around us is a key highlight of switching to solar power.
- Avoid blackouts — During seasons when electricity is in high demand, like summer or winter, the risk of blackouts increases. Since solar batteries store excess power from your solar panels and don’t rely on the grid, households will still have access to power during blackouts.
Which battery is best for solar panels? — five factors to consider
Batteries for solar power are a major investment for the average Queensland household, so it’s important to do your research before deciding. If you’re in the market for a solar battery and are comparing your options, here are some important factors to consider:
Generally speaking, solar batteries are classified into two categories, flooded and sealed. Flooded batteries are the more common type of batteries installed, as they are more affordable, can be easily cleaned and serviced and have better longevity. Sealed batteries are more complicated and cannot be serviced or cleaned because they are sealed.
The power rating of a battery refers to the kilowatts (kW) of power the battery can provide when in use. This gives you a good indication of how many and which appliances your battery can power at once.
Another important feature to note with the battery’s power rating is that there are generally two versions — a continuous power rating and a five-minute power rating, which provides more electricity in shorter bursts. This is important to know if you have appliances that require a large amount of power to turn on.
Battery capacity refers to the amount of power your device can store and supply your home with. This is often expressed in kilowatt-hours (kWh), giving you a rough estimate of how long your battery will last when powering your home. Naturally, your electricity supply will run out faster. On the other hand, if you’re only looking to use your battery to power a handful of appliances, your battery is expected to last longer.
How much energy can a solar battery store?
This will depend on the battery you install in your home. Battery storage capacity can vary between 1kWh to over 10kWh, though the average household battery is around 10kWh.
When determining the correct solar panel battery storage for your home, consider how much solar power your panels produce and export to the grid. For instance, if you’re considering installing a 5kWh battery, ensure your solar panel exports a minimum of 5kWh to the grid daily.
Like your solar panels, if well maintained, solar batteries can last up to 25 years. Three things can influence your battery’s longevity: depth of discharge, cycle life and temperature.
- Depth of discharge — This is the percentage of what has been discharged relative to its total capacity. For example, if you manage to discharge 6kWh from a solar battery with a maximum capacity of 8kWh, the battery’s depth of discharge would be 75%. Though it’s important to note that batteries degrade as they are used, which can reduce their capacity over time.
- Cyclic life — This refers to the number of charges and discharges a battery has over its lifetime. Depending on the battery you opt for, battery cycles can range from 300 to 700 cycles.
- Temperature — While batteries are designed to resist heat and cold to extend their cyclic life, the chemical activity that occurs when a battery stores electricity increases its temperature. To ensure your battery lasts as long as possible, install them in a temperature-controlled room.
The round-trip efficiency is a measurement, written as a percentage, of how well your solar power system converts and stores electricity. For example, if 80kWh of electricity is transferred to a battery and it outputs 70kWh, the round-trip efficiency of the battery would be 70%. Naturally, you should consider solar batteries with high round-trip efficiency for your home.
Potentially, one of the biggest factors for Queenslanders to consider is the cost of battery storage for solar panels. On average, a solar battery can range from $11,500 to $23,000, depending on the type of battery you purchase and its storage capacity. When comparing solar panel battery storage solutions, finding an option that suits your budget and your solar goals is important.
If you’re short on cash but don’t want to miss out on the benefits of solar batteries, Green Energy Technologies can help. We’ve teamed up with personal loan provider, RateSetter to provide tailored financing solutions for Queenslanders. With personalised interest rates, a five-minute application process and conditional instant approval, your solar system will be ready to go in no time.
Maximising your energy savings with a solar battery from Green Energy Technologies
Thinking about going green with your energy supply? Look no further than Green Energy Technologies. As a leading solar energy specialist in Queensland with local installers, we provide tailored solar energy solutions to homes and businesses across the Whitsundays, Townsville and Mackay areas. Call us today at 07 4940 2900 to discuss your options, or head online for a quote.