Solar panels make for an excellent source of cost-effective energy suppliers. To enjoy reduced electricity bills, you may have an existing solar PV system or plan to get a new one. Still, what about energy usage in the absence of sunlight?
That’s where solar energy systems, a.k.a solar batteries, step in, and so does the question of solar battery storage system cost.
Solar batteries help you stock up solar energy for use even when the sun is not shining bright. Also known as hybrid solar systems, such a setup lets you cut down on your annual energy bills as well as reduce your carbon footprint. Sounds interesting, right?
Before you decide to upheave your solar panel system, you must weigh upon multiple factors that impact the battery system costs. These include the size of your current solar system, required battery storage, average energy consumption, and more. Besides, you cannot ignore the installation costs and maintenance charges.
This blog has you covered solar battery storage system prices based on multiple aspects. Dive in!
- 1 What is A Solar Battery Storage System?
- 2 How Do Solar Batteries Work?
- 3 How Much Does A Solar Battery Storage System in UK Cost?
- 4 Solar Battery Repair and Installation Cost
- 5 Factors Affecting A Solar Battery Cost
- 6 Are Solar Batteries Worth It: Pros and Cons of Solar Battery Storage Systems
- 7 Shortcomings of Solar Battery Storage
- 8 How to Pick the Right Solar Battery Storage System?
- 9 FAQs
- 10 Wrap Up
What is A Solar Battery Storage System?
A solar battery storage system is a kind of energy storage that you can use in combination with your solar panels to store solar energy. The set-up includes an inverter and solar battery. During the daytime, when the solar panels get plenty of sunlight, they can charge up the solar batteries.
You can then use these to power up your lights, fans, and other electronic devices even at night. However, these batteries are of different types, including gel, absorbed glass mat, and lead-acid batteries. The storage devices differ in function, performance, and cost-efficiency.
How Do Solar Batteries Work?
When solar panels receive sunlight during the day, the solar cells undergo chemical processes, producing direct current (DC) electricity.
The DC electricity passes through the grid, and the attached inverter converts it into AC electricity. This energy then powers your home’s main electrical panel. However, the process does not end there.
When the sun is bright enough, our solar panels generate more energy than you may need. That’s where solar battery storage systems enter. The energy storage system traps the excess renewable electricity for later use. That is, the solar panels charge up your solar batteries.
Once they are fully charged, you can use them to power your electronic devices at any time during the day or night. Especially if you are in situations like a power cut, the solar battery storage systems got your back.
How Much Does A Solar Battery Storage System in UK Cost?
A solar battery generally ranges between £500 to £10,000 or more in the UK, depending upon factors like capacity, life cycle, and composition. For example, a battery of 1 kWh may cost around £400-£500. Additionally, you may need to purchase an inverter for about £1000.
You must note that this price is different from a solar battery storage system. The latter is a complete energy storage system that includes a battery and an inverter to transfer energy. The price of a complete solar battery system starts from £900 and goes beyond £15,000.
If you choose to buy a solar battery, you will have to look for an inverter separately, costing around £300 to £800 or more. However, that’s not the only point to consider. You will need to consider other factors like repair and installation costs.
Solar Battery Repair and Installation Cost
When you think of energy storage system installation costs, you have to consider the area’s labour costs. On average, the labour costs of installing a solar battery storage system range from £300-£500 per person per day. So if you employ two individuals, it will cost about £600-£1000.
That said, multiple factors affect the costs of installing a solar battery.
Size of the Solar Panels
If you add solar batteries and inverters to a large array of existing solar PV systems, it will automatically cost you high.
Installation Process of the Battery Systems
While you may think of installing a solar battery storage system yourself, it is not always the best idea. A professional will know how to set up the devices such that they work efficiently.
While the average labour cost is £300-£500 per person per day, it also depends upon the current rates in your area.
Factors Affecting A Solar Battery Cost
Now that you are aware of the installation cost of energy storage systems let’s move on to the solar batteries cost. The type, material, lifespan, storage, and usable capacity of the solar batteries installed significantly impact the solar battery cost.
Types of Solar Batteries
While the most common solar batteries for homes are lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries, both of them have varying qualities and prices:
These batteries are compact yet energy-dense. That means lithium-ion batteries can hold more energy despite being small. Besides, they are easy to maintain, have a good lifespan, and have a warranty of about 10 years. Additionally, its high depth of discharge lets you use maximum energy stored in the solar battery.
Cost: £1000/kWh (approx.)
Having been in use for around 2 centuries, lead-acid batteries are well-tried and tested. These are the cheapest solar batteries that you can give for recycling after use. Thus, they help bring down your energy bills while also being environmentally friendly.
AC or DC System
Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC) systems indicate how the solar batteries connect to the solar panels.
You cannot connect an AC battery directly to a solar PV system as it requires an electricity meter. However, this is the best home battery storage system for existing solar panels. That is because it is easier to retrofit. You also need an inverter to complete this storage system.
So, how does an AC solar battery work? The inverter receives DC from the solar PV system and converts it into AC. Only then does your home’s primary electricity panel receive energy to power up the different devices.
The battery then captures all the spare AC electricity that your home panel is not using. It converts the current into DC to store energy in the battery for later.
You can directly connect a DC battery to a renewable energy source like solar PV panels as it does not require an inverter. Such batteries can receive DC electricity and transfer it to the main electrical panel, ensuring efficiency.
You must note that a DC solar battery storage system is not the best option for existing solar PV systems. That is because some DC batteries may not be compatible with your solar panels.
Therefore, such a battery is relatively more suitable for new solar panels.
The life cycle of solar batteries affects energy costs significantly. When you install solar panels, you can expect them to work for about 25 years in most cases. However, batteries usually have a shorter lifespan of about 5 to 15 years. Therefore, you will most certainly need to replace your solar panel battery storage in the future.
The longer the lifespan of a solar battery, the more cost-effective it is. Most lithium-ion batteries last double the period of lead-acid batteries.
The battery material and composition affects the discharge rate of solar batteries. That is the rate of discharging the energy storage. While lithium-ion batteries can discharge the majority of the battery storage – 70-90%, lead-acid batteries discharge only up to 50%.
You must note that the better performance of these batteries also means higher costs.
When it comes to batteries, there are two types of capacities you must be aware of – storage and usable capacity. The former refers to the total energy storage possible in a solar battery, whereas the latter refers to the amount of stored energy of the battery that you can use.
You can measure both the types – usable and storage capacity in kilowatt-hours. Note that these measures significantly impact the solar panel battery storage cost. High capacity solar batteries cost will automatically be higher.
Are Solar Batteries Worth It: Pros and Cons of Solar Battery Storage Systems
So, are solar battery storage systems worth it? If you live in an area that receives enough renewable energy that you have surplus electricity, battery storage systems are worth it. Additionally, it is even better for those individuals who have battery incentives in their areas.
With advantages come shortcomings, which is why you must weigh upon both before investing in a solar home battery storage system.
Solar Battery Backup Power Supply
If your area experiences a power cut frequently, stored solar power can come to your rescue. Solar batteries can trap the excess energy generated by solar panels during the peak hours of the day, so you can use your own electricity at night. With this, you need not depend on the grid system.
Energy Bills Saving
With the ever-increasing electricity prices in the UK, you are always paying hefty sums. Not anymore. With a home battery storage system, you can save money and cut short your electricity bills.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
If you too wish to lead a sustainable life, enhancing your solar system is an excellent option. Adding the best solar batteries to your solar panels can help reduce your grid electricity consumption and, thus, reduce your footprint.
So, are you really saving money with a solar battery storage system? Yes, solar batteries store ample energy for later. For example, a 9-10 kWh battery can help you utilize about 30% more solar energy from the solar panels. It can lead up to annual savings of £560 on your bills.
Shortcomings of Solar Battery Storage
The main downside of solar energy storage systems is their cost. A solar battery will easily range between £500 to £10,000. Besides, the installation cost can be anywhere above £500-£1000.
You will also have to replace the batteries after about 10 years, as that is the average lifespan of solar batteries.
Solution: The good news is you can save money by utilizing government grants such as the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). If you direct the excess electricity to the national grid, you can earn money and compensate for the energy storage system’s cost. It’s a win-win situation!
How to Pick the Right Solar Battery Storage System?
Considering the multitude of solar companies present in the market, choosing the right type of solar batteries can be confusing. You must check out the factors like power rating, size, and battery lifespan as against your requirements.
Solar Power Requirement Criteria
Before diving into the different aspects, refer to the various points of criteria to gauge your energy needs:
- Large power requirements – high power rating
- Energy-intensive devices – high instantaneous power rating
- Prolonged battery operation – high usable capacity
- Maximum electricity consumption – high-efficiency rating
- Less space and more energy storage – lithium-ion batteries
- Longest lifespan – lithium iron phosphate batteries
Now that you have an idea about what you need to look for, check out what each factor means.
Different appliances use varying ranges of power, and this measure helps you gauge the total amount of energy the battery can provide in one hour.
Power rating is calculated in terms of kilowatts (kW). However, you must note that most solar batteries have two types of power ratings – continuous and instantaneous.
The latter type provides large amounts of energy in a short span. You can use them to fire devices requiring a high amount of energy to start but can run at a lower power.
Battery Size (Usable and Storage Capacity)
The battery size or the capacity refers to the amount of energy a solar battery can store (storage capacity) and supply (usable capacity). Battery size is measured in terms of a kilowatt-hour (kWh).
You can gauge a battery’s lifespan by considering its lifecycles – the number of times you can charge and discharge a battery. For example, if a battery has a warranty of 4000 cycles, it will last for about 11 years (365 x 11 = 4015 days).
Make sure the solar batteries that you purchase meet the local and national safety requirements. Additionally, look for Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) installers for the secure and professional installation process.
The chemical composition of solar batteries refers to the primary compound present in them. The material can significantly affect a battery’s storage, usability, and overall functionality. For example, lithium-ion batteries have a relatively high capacity than others due to their chemical composition.
How much energy can you store in a solar battery?
The storage capacity of batteries depends upon their size, and you can measure it in terms of kWh. For example, you can use a 2kWh battery to generate 2000 watts of power for 1 hour. That means it can run about 40 LED bulbs of 5 watts each for 9 hours or a fridge of about 200 watts for 8-10 hours.
What is the lifespan of a solar battery?
The average lifespan of a solar battery is around 5 to 15 years. However, it largely depends on the type of battery you choose. A lithium-ion battery will last for a relatively prolonged period than a lead-acid battery.
Can you add solar batteries to an existing solar panels system?
Yes, you can add solar batteries to existing panels, given they are AC (alternative current) batteries. These devices require an electricity meter to receive DC from solar panels and an inverter to convert the current into DC before transmitting to the home panel.
Note that you cannot add DC batteries to an existing panel as it may not be compatible with the solar panels.
Why do you need solar battery systems?
Solar battery systems capture the excess solar energy that your solar panels may produce during the day. You may not require a large amount of electricity during the day, which is why some of this energy may end up getting wasted. Solar batteries store this energy so you can use it later at night or in times of a power cut.
So, considering the cost of a solar power storage system, is it worth it? Well, if you can compensate for the investment with the help of government grants like the SEG, then it is undoubtedly worth it. Additionally, the reduced electricity bills and carbon footprint significantly contribute to adopting the best solar batteries.
Check the excess power generation of your solar panels and calculate your average power consumption. These figures will help you decide whether you can make a profitable investment or not.
Once you decide to buy the best solar battery storage system, weigh upon the multiple factors before picking one. These include the battery size and capacity, type, and lifecycle. Also, consult a professional to decide the number of solar batteries you need for a new or an existing solar PV system.