As the global push for renewable energy gains momentum, solar energy is emerging as a frontrunner. This article delves into a pressing question: “Are solar battery prices coming down?” The answer is a resounding yes, backed by data that shows a staggering 90% reduction in the cost of lithium-ion batteries over the past decade. From a whopping $7,500 per kilowatt-hour in 1991 to approximately $200 today, the decline is evident. However, this is not the end of the story. We’ll also explore the various factors that influence these prices, from technological innovations to government incentives.
Lithium-ion batteries, the cornerstone of home solar PV systems, have seen dramatic price reductions. These batteries are essential for storing solar energy, making them a significant but increasingly affordable investment.
While the trend is promising, it’s crucial to understand that multiple factors affect solar battery costs. These range from the battery’s capacity to additional equipment and even government policies. For instance, larger capacity batteries can cost up to $30,000, excluding installation fees.
Innovations are continually emerging, suggesting that the downward trend in solar battery prices is likely to continue. Digital monitoring systems and other technological advancements are contributing to this decline, making solar energy an increasingly viable option for many.
Understanding these dynamics is not just academic; it has real-world implications for homeowners and businesses alike. Investing in a solar battery is a long-term commitment, but one that promises free power for up to 30 years.
Are solar battery prices coming down?
Solar energy is one of the cheapest form of energy at the moment. Many companies and home owners are installing solar PV systems as an alternative for electricity.
Using solar energy is affordable but not that reliable since the sun is not always hot enough to power your home. For this reason, large solar storage batteries are required for storing power to use when the sun is down. Solar batteries prices have been dropping over the years. Will they continue coming down?
Solar batteries makes installation of solar PV systems costly. You will have to buy a powerful solar battery and pay for installation. Good thing is that, once you buy the solar batteries, you will enjoy 30 years of free power.
In this case we will discuss about Lithium-ion batteries, the most used batteries in home solar PV systems. The price of lithium-ion batteries have reduced by more than 90% in the last decade. In 1991, the price of a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of one kilowatts-hour was approximately $7500. The same battery goes for about $200. There are however high capacity batteries like Sonnen that cost up to $30,000 without the cost of installation.
It is possible to think that the prices reduce because of the time factor. The thing is that the prices fall because of the availability of innovations that can be done to the battery. Some manufacturers provide digital monitors where you can check the status of your battery via apps.
As more innovations are arising, there is a likelihood the prices if solar batteries will keep dropping. The price of the solar batteries are affected by the various factors.
What are the factors that affect the solar battery cost
1. Capacity of the battery
The main factor that influence the price of a solar battery, is the capacity of the battery. Most solar batteries capacity range from 5-20kWh. Solar batteries with large capacity will cost more than those with low power holding capacity.
You should get a solar battery that can sustain your power usage rate at home. If you have a lot of large power consuming appliances, get a large battery.
2. Additional equipment
You need additional tools when using a solar battery. Tools like inbuilt solar battery trickle and solar battery maintainer will make your battery cost more. Other additional equipment include; Critical Loads Panel, Backup Gateway,
3. AC vs DC batteries
AC batteries are complex than DC batteries. For that reason, AC batteries tend to be more expensive. DC batteries are also less flexible. They might not be compatible with some solar equipment. Check the type of solar panel you have before settling on a DC battery.
To protect the lifespan of your battery and efficiency of your solar battery, it would be best if you hire a company that is experienced with solar batteries. You will therefore part with more dollars for the installation process.
Ensure your solar battery is placed in a cool room and away from direct sunlight exposure.
The panel should also be installed in an open space for maximum sunlight exposure.
Exercise duties such as those paid to the government will increase the cost of the solar battery system.
The federal government charges a 26% tax credit on items such as a solar RV system. You will also pay some incentives depending on the state you live.
Despite the main cost of the battery, you will incur some extra cost buying things like;
- Battery box compartment
- Disconnect switches
- if you are importing your solar batteries, you will pay shipping cost.
Are solar batteries worth the extra cost?
Depending on where you live, the sun will always come up. Sometimes the sun might not be too hot to power a whole residence. In that case you will to have extra storage. Solar batteries will come in handy when you need to store extra charge for when the sun is not reliable.
A fully charged solar battery can power your home for more than five days. The solar panel will be charging the battery to recharge the used battery. How long a solar battery can hold the power depends on;
- Capacity of the battery
- Number of appliances you are using at home
- Presence of solar charge controllers
- Voltage of the solar panel the weather condition
- Condition of the battery
- Quality of the battery, and
- Weather condition.
Solar batteries might be a bit costly. However, they are worth every single cent you use buying, installing and maintenance. You only buy the solar battery once in your lifetime. Unless your solar battery become defective.
To ensure the battery serve you for long, practice the following maintenance tips;
- Place the solar panel in an open space
- Clean the solar panel and solar batteries regularly
- Use solar charge monitors and controllers
- Make use of your solar battery during the day when its charging
- Check and replace the fluid inside the battery
If you follow all this steps your battery can last up to 30 years. However, you should replace the rechargeable batteries after four years of use.
Can you charge multiple batteries at a go?
Depending on how powerful your solar panel is, it is possible to charge multiple batteries. You should however monitor the amount of current reaching the solar battery to prevent overcharging.
Do I need an inverter when using a solar battery?
It all depends on the type of battery you are using. An inverter converts DC into AC electricity to charge appliances. If you have an AC batter which are usually expensive, you do not need an inverter.
What is the lifespan of a solar battery?
High quality solar batteries can last between 5-20 years. This is dependent of various factors discussed in this article.
Ensure you invest in a high quality battery with a large capacity to enjoy many days of using the battery.
Can you use both rechargeable and main batteries together in a solar PV system?
All solar PV system use both rechargeable and the normal batteries together. The rechargeable batteries are placed inside the battery compartment, last about four years, and are cheaper than normal solar batteries.
Eng. Matthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar.
After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as a Solar Electrical Engineer for several multi-national solar energy companies.
He has a wide range of experiences including solar system requirement analysis, planning, maintaining, debugging and even solar device development through research.
He now shares his 20 years of expertise through his articles on the walkingsolar website.
Further, he is also the author of two books on Solar Technology, “Solar Power for Villages” and “DIY Solar System for Dummies”.