Types of Solar Batteries

Once you’ve decided what type of battery setup is suited to your solar system (retrofit, hybrid, Off-Grid) you can start looking into the different battery option available. Currently there are four main types of batteries in the solar battery market.

Here’s an overview on the main differences between your options;

Lead acid

  • Lead acid batteries are the same type of batteries you’d have in your car
  • Usually quite large and will take up a lot of space
  • Compared to other alternatives Lead acid batteries have a lower cycle life
  • Preferred choice for Off-grid systems as they are reliable and can be a cost-effective option when installing large amounts of storage

Lithium-ion

  • Lithium-ion batteries are the same type of batteries you’d have in your smartphone
  • Highly popular option for solar battery systems in Australia
  • Longer cycle life than Lead Acid batteries
  • Deeper discharge than Lead Acid batteries
  • More expensive than Lead Acid batteries
  • Compact and light

Flow batteries

  • Deeper discharge than Lead acid and Lithium-ion (100% depth-of-discharge)
  • More expensive than Lead acid and Lithium-ion
  • Can tolerate extreme temperatures

Sodium Nickle Chloride

  • Fully recyclable
  • No fire risk
  • More expensive than Lead acid and Lithium-ion
  • Lower life cycle than Lithium-ion
 
Get detailed quotes on different types of batteries from CEC accredited installers!

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.