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Solar Battery Storage System Options

October 01, 2022

If you have a renewable electricity source such as solar PV, you might generate more electricity than you need; it would be wise to store this energy. If you have a standard on-grid solar energy system in your home, the system will no longer produce power if the grid malfunctions. However, if you have in place an integrated battery storage system, you will still have power in your home even when the electric grid is down. The battery storage system might not be able to supply power to the entire home. However, with the stored power, you can keep essential systems like freezers, refrigerators, and power outlets functioning. For the best solar battery storage options in Northern California and the Bay area, you can count on Sun Solar Electric. 

Importance of a Solar Battery Storage System

A solar battery storage system would be particularly important if you live in a location where electric rates are higher during peak hours or where a time-of-use policy applies. Some of the benefits of battery storage systems for solar energy are:

  • They provide an affordable and quiet power backup that does not involve burning fossil fuels
  • The storage allows you to use the stored solar power at night and reduces your dependence on the utility grid
  • The energy generated from the sun and stored in the solar battery storage system is available for use immediately
  • In the evening, when you deplete the power from the battery storage system, you will automatically start getting power from the grid again
  • The solar battery storage system will provide power to your essential electronics and appliances even when there is a power outage. Even with a power outage, you will still be able to charge your phone and keep the lights on.
  • If your energy needs change in the future and you require more power, you can always add more solar panels and additional battery storage.

Power and Capacity

Different solar battery storage systems have different capacities. Capacity refers to the total amount of electricity that a battery system can be able to store. The benefit of residential solar battery storage systems is that they are stackable. Therefore, it is possible to incorporate multiple batteries into your solar storage backup to get extra capacity.

There are numerous solar battery storage systems to choose from. Knowing a battery's capacity will help you know how big your battery is; however, it will not reveal the amount of electricity the battery can release at a given time. To know how much power you can get from a battery system, you have to understand the battery's power rating.

Often measured in kilowatts (kW), the power rating is the amount of electricity a battery can release at a time.  If a battery has a low power rating and a high capacity, it can deliver low amounts of electricity for an extended period. On the other hand, if a battery storage system has a low capacity and a high power-rating, it will produce adequate power to run the whole home but for a short period.

Solar Battery Options

There are four main types of battery storage systems; they come in handy in storing electricity generated from solar systems. The leading options include:

Lead Acid Batteries

For many decades, lead-acid batteries have been in use in off-grid energy systems. Lead-acid batteries are one of the most affordable battery systems for home energy storage available in the market. However, these batteries have a lower DoD (depth of discharge) than other battery types. The lead-acid battery systems also have a relatively shorter lifespan compared to other battery types.

The lead-acid batteries are an ideal option for homeowners who intend to install effective solar energy storage and go off the grid. The main advantage of lead-acid batteries is that they are tried and tested; therefore, you can depend on them. However, with the evolution of energy storage techniques, battery systems with longer warranties and lower pricing are overtaking the lead-acid batteries.

The lead-acid batteries are the same battery types that you use in your vehicle. However, the solar-energy storage batteries are usually taller than the options used in vehicles. To power your entire home, you would have to rely on several lead-acid batteries. It is advisable to store the batteries in a climate-controlled area; exposing the lead-acid batteries to heat could significantly reduce their lifespan.

To get the most out of lead-acid batteries, it is important to understand several facts about them:

  • Due to their large size, the batteries occupy a lot of space. You need to have a storage shed for the batteries because they emit hydrogen gas
  • The life cycle for lead-acid batteries is between 1000 and 3000 cycles. The life of the batteries will depend on the number of times you charge and recharge them. Most batteries last between 2 and 8 years.
  • Lead-acid batteries have a DoD of 60%. Therefore, to avoid crippling the batteries' lifespan, you should only use 60% of their capacity and retain the rest of the energy
  • The batteries perform best at temperatures that do not exceed 20degrees Celsius. Therefore, if you place the batteries in a place that has a higher temperature than this, the performance and lifespan will decrease

Lithium-Ion Batteries

Compared to lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries are more compact and lighter. The batteries also have a longer lifespan and a higher DoD. However, you will have to spend more money to acquire a lithium-ion battery compared to a lead-acid battery. Lithium-ion batteries are becoming a popular choice for on-grid solar battery storage. Lithium-ion batteries are of the same type with batteries found in iPhones and laptops. The life cycle of lithium-ion batteries ranges between 4,000 and 6,000 cycles. The batteries have a DoD of 80% and a life span of 13 to 18 years.

The main drawback of lithium-ion batteries is that they are more expensive than lead-acid batteries; lithium-ion batteries. For the same amount of storage, a lithium-ion battery is 50% more expensive than a lead-acid battery. However, with the current mass-production of lithium-ion batteries, the cost of the batteries is likely to go down, making the batteries more competitive.

Lithium-ion batteries are available in two types; the Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) and the Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO). NMC technology is mainly utilized in electric vehicles because it has a high energy density.  The LiFePO technology comes in handy for residential energy storage. The LiFePO technology is safer and batteries made using this technology are less likely to explode.

However, there is a prevalent use of NMC batteries even for residential energy storage.  Many manufacturers produce high volumes of NMC batteries mainly for use in electric vehicles; they end up using the batteries for residential energy storage as well. The NMC batteries are also cheaper to produce than the LiFePO batteries; therefore, many companies favor the production of NMC batteries over the LiFePO batteries.

Flow Battery Systems

The technology behind the production of flow batteries has been in use for many years; however, the flow batteries are relatively new in the marketplace. The name 'flow' is because the batteries contain a water-based solution consisting of zinc-bromide. Currently, only a few companies produce flow batteries to be used in the residential sector.

The alternative name for flow batteries is redox flow batteries and they are among the latest developments in the solar battery storage systems. The leading benefit of flow batteries over lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries is their 100% DoD. You can entirely discharge the battery without negative effects on the battery's lifespan. The flow batteries can stay at zero charges for an extended period without degrading. Other benefits of flow batteries are:

  • Unlike lead batteries, flow batteries can withstand hard weather conditions. The batteries can still function well even in temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius.
  • The batteries are also safer because the zinc-bromine liquid found inside the batteries is a fire repellent.
  • The flow batteries have a lower risk of explosion or thermal runaway because there is a separation of different battery components
  • Due to the simple modular construction of flow batteries, the batteries are cheaper to refurbish. For instance, if a battery is dead, you can swap the electrode to restore the battery. This will cost a much lower price than the price of purchasing a new battery.

Despite the many benefits of flow batteries, the batteries could have a lower lifespan than some high-end lithium-ion batteries. A flow battery lasts for an average of 4,000 hours. However, with an 80% DoD, a high-quality lithium-ion battery can go for 5,000 to 6,000 cycles. In addition, the batteries require regular 100% discharging to enable them to clean the electrodes. It is possible to program the battery management system to ensure that the recharging occurs automatically.

Sodium Nickel Chloride

This battery has a unique battery composition, which allows it to offer great safety and environmental benefits. Compared to the lithium-ion battery, the sodium nickel chloride battery offers a wide range of benefits:

  • The safe chemistry of the battery makes it safe; it does not pose a fire risk
  • The battery does not contain any dangerous or toxic chemicals; it is 100% recyclable
  • Unlike the larger lithium-ion batteries, which have an internal cooling system, the sodium chloride nickel battery does not require a cooling system

However, the sodium nickel chloride battery has a shorter life cycle than the lithium-ion battery. This battery has a DoD of 80% and a lifecycle of 3,500 cycles unlike a lithium-ion battery whose typical lifecycle is 4,000 cycles. Some lithium-ion batteries could have a life cycle of up to 10,000 cycles!

Leading Solar Battery Storage Systems

If you are interested in acquiring a home battery system, you are not alone. Many American households seek to reduce their dependence on traditional power supplies. You can get quality and cost-effective solar battery brands like Sonnen batteries. Sonnen is a leading solar battery system manufacturer, which mainly focuses on lithium-ion batteries. The global deployment of Sonnen home battery systems has surpassed that of other manufacturers.

Sonnen batteries are among the premium solar battery storage systems and their price is a bit elevated. In 2015, Sonnen realized that the premium price of its batteries was a barrier to consumers operating on a tight budget. Sonnen started manufacturing and assembling battery systems in California. You can choose between two Sonnen battery systems:

  • Sonnen ECO-Modular AC Battery
  • Sonnen Hybrid- All-in-one Battery System

The Sonnen ECO modular AC battery comes with an in-built power inverter. This battery is only available in one size and comprises battery modules of 2.5kW. The storage capacity of this battery model ranges between 5kWh and 15kWh. The Sonnen ECO system is a great option for homes that already have a solar system.

Just like other solar battery systems, the Sonnen battery system requires a solar inverter to enable it to function with a solar array. The Sonnen battery is compatible with all types of solar inverters as long as the inverter is of an appropriate size to enable it to charge the battery in a short time.

The all-in-one system comprises a charger, solar inverter, and battery in one non-complicated unit. The highest solar PV capacity for the hybrid unit is 6.4kW with a nominal inverter with a rating of 5.5kW.

Due to their ability to seamlessly integrate with solar power, Sonnen battery systems are in extensive use across the United States and other parts of the world. With the emergence of advanced energy storage technologies, many homeowners dream of going completely off the grid with the use of solar batteries. In certain situations, it is possible to go off the grid; however, in most instances, solar systems cannot serve as your only source of energy. A solar battery storage system is likely to offer more value to you if you connect it to an electric grid. It will be more of your solar grid storage system.

Find the Best Solar Battery Storage System near Me

Even if a solar battery storage system cannot run your home for many days, it can help you store significant amounts of power. The system will provide you with a temporary power backup. For the best, modern, and effective solar battery storage systems in Northern California and the Bay area, contact Sun Solar Electric at 707-658-2157 and speak to our representatives.

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