Maximise your Solar Panels with a Solar Battery

Did you know that in just one hour the sun radiates more energy than the whole world uses in a year? That’s free energy that the vast majority of us are missing out on, but solar battery storage systems are changing the game!

Most of us know that solar panels save you money on your electricity bills as well as help the environment, but do you know the benefits of having a solar battery installed along with your system? Find out everything you need to know about solar batteries and why they are revolutionising the way we use solar electricity.

What are solar batteries?

Solar batteries are deep cycle batteries. This means that they are able to cope with lots of discharges and recharges, so are perfect for storing electricity generated by solar panels.

Before solar batteries were invented, you would have to use the electricity generated by your solar panels as it was produced, so could only use it in the daytime. But with a solar battery, you can store the electricity your panels generate to use it at another time, helping you to save even more on your electricity bills.

With solar panels, you can cut your energy bills by 50% because you’ll be generating your own electricity that is free to use. But if you also have a solar battery system with your panels, you could save an additional 15%. You’ll no longer have to rely on big energy companies!

solar batteries
Image via Pinterest

Choosing a solar battery

There are a range of solar batteries available, and an MCS-certified installer will be able to talk through the options with you. But there are other things you should start to think about when you’re considering getting a solar battery.

The best types of battery for solar: Batteries used in home energy storage typically are made with one of three chemical compositions: lead acid, lithium ion, and saltwater. In most cases, lithium-ion batteries are the best option for a solar panel system, though other battery types can be more affordable.

Size of solar battery: The size of solar battery you need will depend on the solar cell capacity. If you need a battery with a large capacity, bear in mind that you will need the space to store one. A battery with the largest storage could weigh over 100kg!

Return on investment: Installing a solar battery system can be expensive, but lots of solar companies are offering deals when you get your solar panels installed. And if you maintain your solar battery system properly, it should last between 5 and 10 years.

Is a solar battery system for me?

If you have solar PV panels or are planning to install them, then using home batteries to store electricity you’ve generated will help you to maximise the amount of renewable energy you use.

Home energy storage will also reduce the energy you use from the grid, and cut your electricity bill. If your home is off-grid, it can help to reduce your use of fossil fuel back-up generators. In the near future, time-of-use tariffs will let you store up electricity while it’s cheap (overnight, for example) so you can use it during peak times. A few energy companies have launched these already.

If you’re at home during the day and already use a large proportion of the electricity you generate, or divert surplus electricity to heat your water (for example), then a battery may not be right for you. This is because home energy storage will cost you more than £2,000, so you’ll need to make sure it’s a worthwhile investment.

Before you install a home energy storage system consider whether you’re generating enough electricity that you don’t use to make it worth adding energy storage to an existing solar panel system.

If you’re looking to protect yourself against power cuts with a home battery not all systems are suitable. Get quotes from several installers on cost of installation and estimated savings. Ask them to explain their calculations to you and question anything you’re not sure about.

Caring for your battery

Since your solar battery is a significant investment, you want to make sure you care for it properly to increase its lifespan. Make sure you monitor the temperature and humidity around the battery as if it gets cold the voltage drops.

You should also make sure that you don’t discharge your battery to less than 20%, as it can decrease its lifespan if it gets too low. Make sure you keep it charged above this to improve its efficiency.

If you need any help finding quotes for solar batteries or solar panel systems including batteries, use our simple service to find up to 4 trusted MCS-registered solar installers who will be happy to assist you.

This article was originally published on 21st March 2016 by Emily Rivers

Chris Smith

Chris Smith is the Verification Supervisor at Quotatis, helping and matching consumers with the right contractor for the work they need doing.