Solar Battery Storage

Solar Battery Storage

Over the past decade lithium ion batteries have challenged the former hegemony of lead-acid batteries, and it’s easy to see why

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Solar Battery Storage

There are a number of challenges facing the homeowner when it’s time to consider solar battery storage. First you need to know your new battery will meet the demands of the grid to which it will be directly or indirectly attached. Then there’s the issue of constant cycling as the battery is charged and discharged and finally there is the issue of irregular recharging. Not every battery type under the sun is suited for these types of challenges which is why, when it comes to batteries for solar photovoltaic (PV) applications, there are really only 2 that dominate the market: the lead-acid battery and the lithium ion battery.

The Main Types of Solar Batteries

As mentioned there are 2 types of batteries that dominate the solar battery storage market today. These 2 battery types are the best at meeting the demands put upon them by solar PV systems. They are:

  • The lead-acid battery - The deep-cycle, lead-acid battery had been around for decades and spent a long time as the go-to battery for solar storage. Typically they cost about half what the other battery on this list (the lithium ion battery) costs and that has been instrumental in making sure the lead-acid battery has retained a significant market share right up to today. Where lead-acid batteries tend to turn people off is in their weight (they’re really bulky and heavy) and in the fact that the colder it gets the worse they’re able to store electricity. In fact efficiency drops by about 40% as the temperature approaches 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, their affordability and the fact that they basically do their job fine during spring, summer and fall make them an attractive option for homeowners on a tight budget.
  • Lithium ion battery - Over the past decade lithium ion batteries have challenged the former hegemony of lead-acid batteries, and it’s easy to see why. They’re light and smaller than lead-acid batteries and they typically last up to twice as long. They also perform better in the cold weather. Where lead-acid batteries will lose their ability to store electricity by up to 40% during periods of extreme cold the lithium ion battery will only be some 10% less efficient. That may not seem like a lot when you just look at the number but it means 30% more storage capacity during cold weather, which is typically when electrical demand is at its peak. Oh, and lithium ion batteries are typically able to withstand many more charge/discharge cycles than lead-acid.

While both types of battery have their upside the trend toward the lighter, longer lasting and more efficient lithium ion battery has taken on a head of steam in recent years. Perhaps the biggest factor keeping the lead-acid battery in the discussion is its price. Homeowners on a tight budget will often opt for the lead-acid battery simply because, as we said earlier, it can cost only half what a lithium ion battery will cost. Call us to find out which type of battery would be ideal for your solar battery storage needs, or to find out about water heating through our solar hot water.