Installing solar panels can be an excellent way to not only save money on your energy bills but to also invest in greener technologies. Solar batteries can help homeowners to maximize the benefits of their solar panel system. However, installing batteries isn’t the right solution for everyone, so it’s important to understand the pros and cons before making a decision.
Pros of Installing Solar Batteries
Solar batteries can be a great asset for homeowners who want to save money on their electricity bills. They’re also a must for those looking to go off-grid.
Solar Batteries Reduce Reliance on the Grid
For homeowners who would prefer not to rely on the grid for power at all, solar batteries are essential. Without some way to store power, solar panels can’t produce energy on cloudy days or at night. This would mean drawing power from the grid whenever there wasn’t sunlight.
Solar Batteries Can Save Money Over Time
While solar batteries do have higher initial costs, they can help to ensure homeowners save more money over time. Not only do you not have to pay for energy from the grid at night or on cloudy days, but you can also avoid higher energy costs by using solar energy at peak times that would normally trigger TOU tariffs.
What Is a TOU Tariff?
Depending on the time of day or the time of year, electric companies may charge different prices per kWh. Prices are higher at times when demand is higher. This is called TOU tariff management, with TOU standing for time-of-use.
Solar Batteries Can Keep Your Power Running During a Blackout
Normally, if the electrical grid goes down, solar panel systems that are connected to the grid also shut off. This is so that feedback from the solar panels doesn’t endanger employees working to get the grid repaired. However, if you have either a generator or solar batteries, you can keep your home running with electricity even during a blackout.
Solar Batteries vs. Generators
Solar batteries have several advantages over generators. First, they integrate with your solar panels and use the free energy coming in from the sun while a generator would be powered by gasoline which would be an additional expense. Solar batteries also use cleaner energy than generators and are much less noisy.
Cons of Installing Solar Batteries
While there are advantages to using solar batteries with your solar panel system, there are also some downsides that you should be aware of.
Solar Batteries Have a High Initial Cost
If you include solar batteries in the initial costs of installing solar panels, the upfront price can increase. How much the price would increase depends on the size of the solar batteries. Solar batteries could help you pay off those costs more quickly, however, because they would help to reduce reliance on the grid for extra power.
Solar Batteries Have Higher Ongoing Costs
Solar batteries do make a solar panel system more complicated to keep in good condition. There are more parts involved in the system and therefore more to keep maintained. This may mean that the ongoing maintenance costs for a solar panel system are also higher.
Solar Batteries Don’t Last as Long as Solar Panels
Solar panels are expected to last up to 30 years while solar batteries may only last up to 15. This means that homeowners will need to replace their solar batteries halfway through the expected lifespan of their solar panels.
Are Solar Batteries Worth the Cost?
There’s no right answer to this question. Solar batteries may be more worth the cost in areas that have frequent blackouts. For those who live in sunny areas that don’t experience a lot of blackouts, however, solar batteries may not be worth it because they can offset the costs of drawing from the grid at night with credits earned from net metering.
Other Factors to Consider Before Purchasing Solar Batteries
Whether or not solar batteries work for your system depends on how much solar energy your panels can produce, your home’s energy needs, and the size of the batteries you’re considering.
Before making a decision, consider these factors:
Solar Battery Capacity
The higher the battery capacity, the more expensive the battery will be. However, batteries that are too small may not be worth the cost because they won’t be large enough to meet your home’s needs.
Solar panel batteries don’t necessarily have to be installed at the same time as the solar panel system. Homeowners who are on the fence about batteries can install the solar panel system first and then add batteries later as needed.
Look at how long the warranty is and exactly what the warranty offers before purchasing. Typically the warranty for solar batteries lasts around 10 years.
Solar batteries usually last around 15-20 years. However, as they age they have lower and lower capacity. How much solar power they can store and how long they’ll be able to power your home will decrease over time.