Batteries

About batteries #

Batteries are useful to store excess solar-power in home battery or hybrid solar systems, or allows for off-grid applications such as caravans or boats. A battery captures any unused solar power generated by your Photovoltaic cells in your solar panels, during the day for later use at night or on low-sunlight days. Battery-storage systems are becoming increasingly popular, as it allows for people to be completely independent from the grid, will save more on electricity in the long-run and is a great environmental decision as you won’t have to rely on energy companies for electricity.

Terminology #

Capacity #

How much energy a battery could store, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), nominal capacity being the amount of energy that can be held and the usable capacity is how much can be used.

Depth of discharge #

Depth of discharge is the amount of energy that can be safely used without accelerating battery degradation. Most batteries need to have some charge at all times to avoid damage.

Power #

How much power in kilowatts a battery could deliver, the peak power is the most that a battery could output any given time, but this burst is only available for short periods. Continuous power is the amount of power delivered while the battery has enough charge.

Efficiency #

Conversion losses occur during the storage process; i.e. part of the energy is converted into heat. The total efficiency indicates what percentage of the energy stored in the system can then actually be used. Most batteries fluctuate between 75% and 90% efficiency. Please note that battery efficiency and total efficiency are different specifications, due to conversion losses, total efficiency is usually lower than the battery’s own efficiency and is not disclosed by most vendors.

Total number of charge/discharge cycles #

The cycle life or the lifespan is how many cycles of charge and discharge the battery can perform before it’s reached the end of its life. This could be an indicator of how long you can expect your battery to last, as it tells you how many times it can be recharged. 

Ambient temperature range #

Batteries are sensitive to temperature and need to operate within a certain temperature range. They can degrade, shut down or fail in very hot or cold climates and should thus be stored in a dry, clean room with temperatures between 15-25°C 

What is a solar battery and what does it do? #

Solar batteries can help you make the most of your solar panels and increase your independence from the grid. Solar batteries capture excess, unused energy produced by your solar panels, and store it ready for use at night, during cloudy periods, or during a blackout. Storing your self-generated solar energy means you can power your home with clean, green electricity 24/7. You’ll be protected from rising electricity costs from retailers, could have power in a blackout, and you’ll be helping to protect the environment from greenhouse gases from coal-generated electricity.

How does home battery storage work? #

Create and store electricity #

Solar panels generate electricity from sunlight. This energy is used then and there to power your home or, if your home doesn’t need it straight away, it’s sent to your battery to be stored ready for use later on.

Use your energy when you need it #

You can start using your battery stored electricity when your home’s energy needs become more than what your solar panels can deliver on their own. This could be on cloudy days, at night, or – most importantly – during a blackout.

Enjoy the benefits and lower your bills #

Powering your home with solar panels and battery storage delivers you benefits for years to come. You’ll be making the most of your solar panels, maximising your energy independence, and lowering your ongoing energy bills.

Is a battery right for me? #

If you already have solar or are thinking about making the switch, adding a battery system could help you get the most out of your solar system. Different systems suit different needs so it’s important to talk to one of our staff in order to help you make a more educated choice.

 How much will I save? #

How much you could save on your energy bills depends on a number of factors including the output of your solar system and capacity of the battery, as well as the amount of energy your household uses and what time of day you use energy the most. We can help you calculate your potential savings when we do an analysis of your bill.

Can I afford it? #

It’s important for all households to consider whether the savings they expect to see on their energy bills cover the cost of the purchase of the battery, over the life of the battery. System Providers can provide you with an idea of your anticipated savings. To get an idea of how much a battery system can cost, download the HBS System Price Guide.

If you want to be as independent from the grid as possible, you might opt for multiple batteries and a large solar panel system to go with it, to maximise the amount of time your home can run from your solar panels and your battery instead of relying on the grid.

However, if your motivations are financial, you will need to balance your budget with how much you would like to save on your energy bills as well as your daily electricity usage. You might choose to go with just a single battery to suit your budget and maximise your payback, but this might also mean that you can’t cover off as much of your electricity bill: you may still be relying on a good amount of energy from the grid.