What are solar batteries and how long do they last?
Whether you already have a home solar system installed and are enjoying all the benefits of going solar, or are looking into a new home solar system, you may also consider adding battery storage. When thinking about investing in solar battery storage, you may have some questions like:
- What are the benefits of a solar battery storage system vs. a solar-only system?
- How does a battery work?
- Do I have to do any maintenance?
- What type of batteries are available?
- Is one battery better than another?
- How long will a battery last? Is there a warranty?
Read on to learn the answers to these questions and more!
The Benefits of Battery Storage
When comparing a home solar battery storage system to getting energy from your utility, or even from a solar-only system. it’s not necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison, more like apples to oranges.
Unlike a solar-only system or traditional utility energy, a home solar battery storage system has three unique benefits:
- Get resilient backup power
- Create and store your own solar energy
- Gain protection from peak rates (California customers only)
Read our blog on whether battery storage is right for you to learn more about these benefits.
How Does Battery Storage Work?
A home solar battery storage system works similar to a home solar system except excess energy produced by your home solar system is sent to the battery, as well as back to the grid when your utility allows it. And, the energy stored in the battery could be used to power your home at night during normal operation, as well as during the day and night when the grid is down.
How does it do all of this you may ask? Well, the battery includes intelligent software to automatically manage your home’s power and the flow of energy between the solar system, battery, your home and the grid (if your utility allows net metering). You won’t have to lift a finger. And, it will seamlessly provide backup power to your home in a blink of an eye – you may not even realize your home is being powered by your battery!
Smart solar battery storage systems like Tesla Powerwall have intuitive, easy-to-use dashboards that let you view your usage and adjust your storage settings on your tablet, smartphone, or computer. Pair with solar panels and recharge with the sun to keep your home machines running for days.
The new wave of solar backup systems is here: Enphase. The Enphase battery not only offers higher peak power output than its competitors but also transfers your stored energy up 6% more efficiently. With simple and easy access via the Enphase Enlighten App and exclusive microinverter technology, the choice is clear. The Enphase battery backup system is the battery to “end” all batteries.
Throughout the country, electric companies have begun to implement planned rolling blackouts. With wildfires, polar vortexes, and other extreme weather growing more frequent and more deadly, electric companies are taking steps to stay ahead of disaster. During times of high fire danger, such as periods of high winds and low humidity, electric companies will notify residents of planned blackout periods. All power will be shut off in certain areas, and will only be restored when the danger has decreased. For some areas, this could be a matter of days until power is available again. In case of an extreme weather event, such as a hurricane or severe blizzard, rolling blackouts may also be implemented to bring the supply of and demand for electricity back into balance and prevent a lengthy statewide blackout. By gathering energy from solar panels and storing it with a battery storage system, people all over the country can stay prepared for, and even help prevent natural disasters, without sitting in the dark. When you pair solar panels with battery storage fear of blackouts becomes a thing of the past! This powerful combination allows you to store excess solar power to be used at your leisure! Whether that may be for saving money during peak rate times or for saving lives during an unexpected blackout! Keep the power running, keep the lights on, and keep safe in an emergency – while wildly lowering your electric bill!
Return on Solar Investment
Solar battery storage is the best way to be prepared for these planned rolling blackouts. Semper Solaris offers solar panel systems with battery storage, including the most in-demand battery, Tesla Powerwall Enphase Battery Storage. Installing a solar battery storage system is the ultimate return on investment. Battery storage is an amazing innovation where extra energy that your system gathers can be stored and used when you need it. Your system will also strategically sell some of that extra energy to the grid during peak hours, earning you credit with the electric company! Not only are you able to keep your power on for 7 days, but you are also earning credit with the electric company when you sell back surplus energy.
NextEra Energy has more energy storage capacity than any other company in the U.S. With more than 180 MW of battery energy storage systems in operation, we’re ensuring Americans have the energy they need, whenever they need it.
With the largest amount of operational storage of any company in the U.S., we can store energy when demand is low and supply energy when demand is high.
We’re continuing to lead the industry with storage innovations such as our Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center – the largest combined solar-plus-storage facility in the country. This cutting-edge project incorporates a 10-MW battery storage project into the operations of a 74.5-MW solar power plant.
Our 20 MW Pinal Central Solar Energy Center in Arizona was NextEra Energy Resources’ first project to pair solar energy with an on-site, state-of-the-art 10-MW battery storage system. Along with generating enough solar energy to power 5,000 homes, this facility stores excess energy in a lithium-ion battery storage system.
Florida Power Light’s Wynwood Energy Storage facility features a 10 MW / 40 MWh battery system that can dispatch enough energy to charge 5 million mobile phones or power 7,000 homes for four hours. This battery is the largest in the Southeast U.S. to be used in an urban city core.
Did You Know?
We currently have storage facilities in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Canada, with projects in development in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma and Oregon.
Our largest battery energy storage facility in operation today is the 30-MW Blue Summit Battery Energy Storage System in Texas.
Supporting the electric grid
Our batteries store power generated by our facilities when the sun is shining, then dispatch the stored power to the grid to supplement dips in operation – such as when clouds roll in and temporarily reduce the sunlight reaching a solar plant’s panels. The stored power can also be dispatched during periods of peak customer electricity demand, such as summer afternoons and evening hours when the sun is going down but air conditioning needs remain high.
Thermal storage system
The second option is to use a thermal storage system. Thermal energy storage uses a fluid (such as molten salt) or a solid material to gather the heat and then store it in an insulated tank until the energy is needed. The heat can later be converted into superheated steam to power turbines and generate electricity.
As thermal storage systems can store large amounts of energy for months, that makes them a good option for companies that want to ensure they have enough energy for daily use during times when solar production drops. What’s more, molten salt thermal energy storage can be heated and cooled daily for at least 30 years. The downside is that thermal storage systems require plenty of space as the tanks have to be pretty large – which also means that the upfront costs might be quite high.
According to the 2021 edition of the Hydropower Market Report. Pumped-storage hydropower systems currently account for 93 % of all utility-scale energy storage in the United States. Here, electrical energy is used to pump water uphill into a reservoir when energy demand is low and then the water is allowed to flow back downhill and turn a turbine to generate electricity when demand is high. The water can then cycle between upper and lower reservoirs for decades.
Setting up a pumped hydro storage system is a pretty complicated process though, as it requires plenty of space, a suitable landscape (the reservoirs must be at different elevations), and also natural or man-made places that will act as water reservoirs. That means that building such a storage system might take years, as companies will need to find a suitable location, get all required regulatory permits, plan the installation, and then start the system construction. Obviously, it also means that this method of storing energy will require a large upfront capital investment as well.
In addition to those three methods, energy can also be stored in the following ways:
- Compressed air energy storage: The energy is stored as compressed air in high-pressure, often underground, tanks. The pressure is then released when the power demand spikes and the extending air powers up the turbines to generate electricity.
- Flywheel Energy Storage: A flywheel energy storage system stores the energy by converting it into kinetic energy and then using it to rotate a rotor. When the stored energy is needed, the spinning force drives a device similar to a turbine to produce electricity, slowing the rate of rotation.
- Liquid Air Energy Storage system: Utilizes excess power going from the panels to cool ambient air to liquid form and then store it. To release the energy, the air can be heated and then used to power turbines.
Scientists are also working on using hydrogen as a storage device for renewable power, as it could allow large amounts of clean energy to be stored for long periods. For now, though, hydrogen is rarely used as it’s difficult to extract, highly flammable, and difficult to transport and store.
How to pick the suitable solar energy storage method?
So what is the best energy storage option? Sadly, we can only answer this question with “it depends on what you need.” To pick the right technology, you should first research your main goals for energy storage systems, how much storage capacity you will need the systems to have, and if there are any additional requirements the storage systems should meet.
Adding a solar battery (or batteries) is usually the fastest way to add a storage system to the solar panels. As their capacity and lifespan are limited though, they might not be a good solution if your business has large energy needs. In this case, you might need several batteries to cover your needs and the installation costs might become staggering.
Thermal or hydro storage can store a much more significant amount of energy at one time, allowing companies to store months’ worth of power at a time. Plus, they can also keep working for several years with little maintenance needed. Installing those is a major investment though, both when it comes to the time necessary to plan and finish the installation, and the cost involved.
Deciding on the storage solution that fits your business needs the most is just the beginning though. To make the most of the stored energy, you might also need a solution to manage the storage systems and keep an eye on the energy consumption. Fortunately, that’s something with which we at Codibly can help you.
With over ten years of experience working with clients in the energy and renewables industries, we know solar power inside and out. so we can quickly match the right solution to your needs. Whether you need someone to design a solar energy monitoring system, help you optimize your solar battery storage usage, or make it easier to manage multiple different energy resources, we are sure to have an idea (and skills) how to do it.
The sun offers a limitless supply of clean power – and thanks to solar panel systems getting more efficient all the time, harnessing it is no longer a problem. Storing the gathered solar energy can be a bit more problematic though – unless you have installed a solar storage system. With those, you can store enough energy to power your business with solar energy even when the panels don’t generate as much electricity as usual – and lower your energy bills and carbon footprint even further.
With Codibly’s help. you can also ensure that your storage systems work at 100% of their capabilities – and the extra power will always be available when you need it.