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Solar panel storage case. Solar Battery Terms

Solar panel storage case. Solar Battery Terms

    Using Solar Energy Storage for Emergency Backup

    Many homeowners purchase energy storage simply as a backup in case the power from the grid goes out. With wildfires, thunderstorms, hurricanes, and other natural disasters becoming more frequent in recent years, many homeowners are looking to storage as a peace-of-mind purchase.

    What many solar homeowners don’t realize is that if the grid goes out during the day their solar panels will no longer work. This is because their solar panels are tied to the grid and they will turn themselves off if they no longer detect power coming from the grid as a safety precaution. A storage battery, however, can continue working in these cases, which is why it’s a good way to prepare for emergencies.

    Using Solar Energy Storage for Electricity Bill Savings

    The second most common reason homeowners get solar energy storage is to take advantage of time-of-use (TOU) rates. A time-of-use rate is when a utility company charges higher rates at a certain time of the day and lower rates at other times. The utility companies do this when there is higher demand on the grid, in the evenings when everyone is at home using power for instance.

    A battery can get around TOU rates by charging itself during the day, either from the cheaper grid energy or from the solar panels, and then discharge that power during the evening. This allows the homeowner to capture any extra energy their solar panels generate and use it later once the sun has gone down, thereby reducing their utility bill.

    Required Components for Solar Energy Storage

    Solar storage systems require a number of additional components to make them work. While there are many variations that you can use, the basic components for any solar storage system are:

    Solar Panels

    Solar panels allow you to charge your battery with clean renewable energy. You can have an energy storage system without solar panels, but having solar panels is preferable. The four most common types of solar panels are: Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline, PERC, and Thin Film.


    The battery is the center of your energy storage system. The two most common types of batteries are Lithium-Iron-Phosphate (LFP) and Lithium-Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt (NMC). Go here to learn more about home battery storage.


    Inverters are a device that converts energy from AC to DC and vice versa. Inverters are needed to convert the DC energy from your solar panels and batteries into AC energy that is used in the home. Some batteries and solar panels now include a built-in inverter into their components.

    Critical Load Subpanel

    A critical load subpanel is a device that determines what will get powered if the grid goes out. Most batteries can’t power an entire home for very long. To extend the amount of time your battery lasts during an outage, you can choose to power only a few critical appliances in your home (such as the refrigerator and lights). The critical load subpanel allows you to choose those critical loads and it’s very important that solar installers sets this up correctly for your battery’s capacity.

    Other Components

    There are many smaller components needed to make a solar storage system work such as AC DC disconnects. fuses, circuit breakers, switchgear, cables, electrical conduit, mounting hardware, battery enclosures, and safety equipment. Some modern solar storage systems even include software and mobile apps to give even more control to the homeowner.

    The research

    Backup power in an outage is crucial for anyone looking to maintain basic comfort and communication abilities. Scale it up to a larger system, and you can go beyond the basics, backing up more appliances and tools for more time until the grid power returns. These solutions are too customized for us to recommend specific batteries, to suggest how many kilowatt-hours of storage you need to run your home when the grid is down, or to outline how much solar production you need to keep your battery charged. Keep in mind, too, that other variables—including your specific energy needs, budget, and location (just about every state and utility has its own incentive programs, rebates, and tax credits)—all factor into your purchase decisions. The federal Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 also contains incentives that may affect your decision to add battery backup to an existing solar system: Through 2032, you’ll be able to claim 30% of the project cost as a tax credit when you file with the IRS.

    Our aim is to help you think through three things: the questions you need to ask yourself about the whats and whys of installing solar battery backup in your home, the questions you should ask potential installers when you meet with them, and the question of whether a battery-storage system primarily represents an investment in your own home’s resiliency or in the future grid as a whole. “That’s just like the first hour and a half of my conversations: telling people what they need to think about,” said Rebekah Carpenter, founder of Fingerlakes Renewables Solar Energy in upstate New York.

    I can see why. I needed to put in hours of research just to wrap my head around all the ins and outs, reviewing installation examples and playing the role of a prospective buyer. And I empathize with any person making this investment. You’ll be facing a raft of major decisions—from your choice of contractor to the design and manufacturers of your system to financing. And all of it will be wrapped in layers of technical jargon. Blake Richetta, CEO of battery maker Sonnen, said one major challenge he faces is simply to translate this information for his customers, or, as he put it, to “make it palatable for regular folks.” There truly is no simple way to address the question of whether, how, and why you should adopt solar battery storage.

    Why you should trust us

    Before I began this guide, my only experience with solar power was getting zapped by sun-powered cattle fences on a ranch in the high desert. So to give myself a crash course in solar battery storage, I spoke with more than a dozen sources, including the founders or executives of six battery manufacturers; five highly experienced installers, from Massachusetts, New York, Georgia, and Illinois; and the founder of EnergySage, a respected “unbiased solar matchmaker” that offers free and detailed advice to homeowners on all things solar-related. (EnergySage vets installers, who can then pay a fee to be included on the company’s list of approved contractors.) In an effort to provide a breadth of views as well as depth of knowledge, I sought out installers in areas of the country not always seen as solar-friendly, as well as those of diverse backgrounds, including one who focuses on providing solar power to impoverished rural communities. Late in the process, just for fun, I joined a call between an installer and my brother and sister-in-law (prospective solar and battery buyers in Texas), to hear what kinds of questions a pro asked them (and vice versa) about planning a new installation.

    Solar panels with backup battery storage are nothing new: People have been using banks of lead-acid batteries to store solar power for decades. But those systems are bulky, require regular maintenance, rely on toxic and corrosive materials, and often must be housed in a separate, weatherproof structure. Generally, they’re limited to rural, off-grid applications. This guide focuses on so-called grid-tied solar systems, in which solar panels supply power to both yourself and the grid. So we’re talking instead about the modern, compact, high-capacity lithium-ion batteries that first appeared in the 2010s.

    For many people, the first such system they heard of was Tesla’s Powerwall, announced in 2015. As of 2022, according to EnergySage founder Vikram Aggarwal, at least 26 companies are offering lithium-ion storage systems in the US, though just seven manufacturers account for almost all installations. From highest to lowest share, those manufacturers are Enphase, Tesla, LG, Panasonic, SunPower, NeoVolta, and Generac. You’re likely to encounter several of these names as you begin your research. But to ensure that you’re giving yourself the widest array of choices, it’s important to speak with multiple contractors, since most of them work with only two or three battery makers. (The differences between the batteries largely come down to chemistry, the type of input power they take, their storage capacity, and their load capacity, as described in the following paragraphs.)

    Fundamentally, though, all of the batteries work the same way: They store power from rooftop solar panels as chemical energy during the day, and then they release it as needed (most commonly at night, when the solar panels are idle, as well as during power outages) to keep your home’s appliances and fixtures running. And all batteries charge only via DC (direct current) power, the same sort that solar panels produce.

    solar, panel, storage, case, battery

    But beyond that, there are many differences. “Batteries are not made the same,” Aggarwal said. “They have different chemistries. They have different wattages. They have different amperes. And how much amperage can be extracted from a battery at a given time, i.e., how many appliances can I run concurrently? There is no one-size-fits-all.”

    The amount of power that a battery can store, measured in kilowatt-hours, will of course be a key factor in your calculations. If your area rarely experiences long blackouts, a smaller and less expensive battery may suit your needs. If your area’s blackouts last a long time, a larger battery may be required. And if you have critical equipment in your home that absolutely cannot be allowed to lose power, your needs may be higher yet. These are all things to think about before you contact potential installers—and those professionals should listen to your needs and ask questions that help you refine your thinking.

    You have to consider a few other things, as well.

    The first is whether you’ll be installing a new solar system at the same time that you install battery storage, or whether you’ll be retrofitting a battery to an existing system.

    If everything will be new, you’ll have the widest range of options in both your choice of battery and your choice of solar panels. The majority of new installations use DC-coupled batteries. That means the DC electricity produced by your panels feeds into your home and directly charges the battery. The current then goes through a device called an inverter, which converts the DC (direct current) electricity to AC (alternating current) electricity—the type of power that homes use. This system offers the most efficient way to charge the batteries. But it involves running high-voltage DC into your home, which requires specialized electrical work. And several of the people I spoke with expressed reservations over the safety of high-voltage DC.

    What will this cost—and do you really need it?

    I live in New York City, where indoor solar battery storage is not allowed because of the fire code, and outdoor battery storage means navigating a Kremlinesque bureaucracy (PDF). (The joke being that almost nobody here has outdoor space to begin with.) Nor could I install a battery even if it were allowed—I live in a co-op apartment, not a freestanding home, so I don’t have my own roof for the solar panels. But even if I could install a battery, researching and writing this guide made me question whether I would. It’s worthwhile to ask yourself some fundamental questions before you pull the trigger.

    For starters, installing battery storage is inherently expensive. EnergySage’s data shows that in the last quarter of 2021, the median cost per kilowatt-hour of battery storage was almost 450,300. Of course, that means that half of the batteries on the company’s list cost less than that per kilowatt-hour (and half cost more). But even the lowest-cost battery maker on EnergySage’s list, HomeGrid, charges over 6,000 for a 9.6 kWh system. Batteries from the “big seven” (again, that’s Enphase, Tesla, LG, Panasonic, SunPower, NeoVolta, and Generac) cost from nearly one and a half times as much to over twice as much. “Currently it is for the well-to-do,” said EnergySage’s Aggarwal with a sigh. He added, however, that the cost of battery storage has long been on a downward trend, and he expects the trend to continue.

    Do you really need to spend a ton of money to meet your needs in a power outage? There are less-expensive options than high-kilowatt solar storage, including portable gasoline generators, lithium-ion portable power stations, and small solar battery chargers aimed at keeping devices running.

    The Best Portable Solar Battery Charger

    We tested 12 solar phone chargers and found that the BigBlue 28W USB Solar Charger is the best option for USB charging in the great outdoors.

    Those portable methods—even the rechargeable ones that are safe to use indoors—aren’t as convenient as plugging things into a wall outlet. Yet there are even ways to get household circuits working in an outage without a traditional rooftop-solar system. Goal Zero, which has had success selling solar generators to campers and RVers, also offers a home integration kit that uses those generators to power houses. In a blackout, you manually disconnect your home from the grid (a physical transfer switch is included in the installation work). You then run your home’s circuits on an external Goal Zero battery and recharge it with Goal Zero’s portable solar panels. In some ways, this Goal Zero kit splits the difference between the fully installed solar-plus-battery system and a more-basic solar battery charger. The use of a manual disconnection switch adds an extra step versus the automatic transfer switches used in grid-tied solar systems. The price? “We start at about 4,000 installed in your home for our 3-kilowatt-hour battery,” said company CEO Bill Harmon.

    All of these options have their downsides and limitations. A solar device charger will allow you to keep in touch with loved ones and give you access to news alerts in an emergency, but it won’t keep the fridge running. Fossil fuels can run out, leaving you stranded, and of course a fossil-fuel generator is not environmentally friendly. “But, that being said, if you’re only going to run it twice a year, two or three days a year, maybe you can live with the impact for now,” Aggarwal said. Several battery makers have incorporated the ability to use fossil-fuel generators to charge their batteries in the event of an extended blackout. Sonnen chairman and CEO Blake Richetta said if your goal is maximum resilience after a disaster, “You really should have a gas generator—a backup for the backup.”

    In short, it’s worth weighing your expected future hardships in an emergency against the cost of gaining resilience. I spoke with Joe Lipari, vice president for projects at Brooklyn SolarWorks (which, as the name suggests, operates in New York City, where, again, batteries aren’t yet an option), and he mentioned the great Northeast blackout of 2003. It was an unpleasant couple of days before the power came back on. But I’ve lived here for nearly 20 years, and it’s the only time I’ve ever lost power. Purely from an emergency-preparation perspective, I asked Lipari what I should take away from the 2003 outage—that is, was it a crisis to fortify against or a minimal risk to absorb? “People bring that up to us,” he replied. “Paying an extra 20,000 to get a battery storage system? Probably not necessary.”

    Built to last, charge after charge.

    Weighing in at 22 lbs, the Lion 100W 12V solar panel makes for an easy choice to extent your camping trip a few more days because you now have the power you need. These panels are perfect to power the Safari LT, giving you power where you need it – tailgating, construction site, camping, or whatever situation you’re in. You can bundle and save more when you purchase one of our kits. Click here to see our kits

    Weight (pounds)

    Dimensions. Inches (L x W x H)

    26.5 x 40 x 1 (Unfolded), 26.5 x 20 x 1 (folded)

    Rated Power

    Life Cycles

    Short-Circuit Current (ISC) / Open-Circuit Voltage (VOC)

    Maximum Power Point Current (Impp) / Maximm Power Point Voltage (Vmpp)

    What is the warranty on it?

    How long should the panel charge last?

    It has a 20-year life expectancy.

    The Lion 100W 12V solar panels uses monocrystalline cells.

    Thank you for submitting a review!

    Your input is very much appreciated. Share it with your friends so they can enjoy it too!

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    Lion 100W 12V Solar Panel

    This purchase was actually an addition to the two sets of solar panels I already have. Easy to set up and use. Also the Technical advisor was helpful in making sure I got the right voltage (12v) for my system.

    Lion Energy

    Thank you for your purchase. and your great review!

    Stellar product and service

    The product was as described well built and works as expected.

    solar panel

    The shipping was quick and arrived intact. So far seems like it will do the job of collecting energy will last.

    Great Company with great customer service

    I ordered the Lion 100 12v solar panels and they arrived within 3 days! The solar panel came with an awesome solar protective travel cover which is awesome! I called LionEnergy to inquire if I could purchase another Solar panel cover to use with the solar panels I received with my 4patriots bundle. Customer Service was great and said they would send out a cover right away for free, no need to pay anything! I plan on purchasing more from this company, great customer service and their products are outstanding! Thank you!

    Solar panels

    This was easy to order, and arrived on time

    Easy solar

    Works great I hook it up to another one so I have double of whatever the sun is given. hooked up to the safari 500

    solar, panel, storage, case, battery

    solar panel

    I like the 100 w 12 volt solar panel. I have three I use on my system. I will probably get a fourth. I just wish I had known it couldn’t be used on a 24 volt battery storage but I think I have figured out a workaround on that. thanks keep up the good work

    A replacement I’m not mad to buy

    Unfortunately the panels do not hold up to a 3/4 ton pickup rolling over them, but when you know how well these work you can’t do without them! Had to buy as a replacement, and I love how well they function! A must-have

    Be prepared

    Great! It is good investment in the event of an emergency.

    Love this company!

    Firstoff, the are very reasonable compared to most! I ordered two 100 watt solar panels to augment my array. Panels shipped same day. Delayed 2 days in final delivery because of weather but no bigggy. Came in sturdy outer cartons and i really like the included storage bags they came in. Great bonus, and thank you for that!! I got a feeling that rolling blackouts and power outages are going to become an issue here in America soon with these current bozos at the helm. These extra 2 panels will both speed up recharge on my solar generator AND make it drain considerably slower when operated with panels active. Next purchase from Lion will be 2 more Anderson cords to extend the distance from panels to genny. The solar genny is a household secondary unit for mostly indoor things like computers and accessories to work from home, Keurig coffee maker, oil filled radiator heaters, nebulizer unit, cable box, TV, DVD player, portable cooking burners, etc. I have a 10,000 watt gas generator to handle the big stuff like the friges and freezers and window AC units with a boatload of stored treated gasoline that i rotate out every year. If we run out of gas, the solar becomes primary. The 2 new panels from Lion will definitely help to maximize our access to power if it ever comes to that. You can never put a price on peace of mind!!


    The Solar Panel is easy to place and relocate. The carrying case protects the panel when in storage,

    Hello, I like how the solar panels work with the generator, Is there a way I can help sell them?

    This product is saving me

    I’m on disability income and can’t afford expensive energy bills. So, I purchased Lion’s Emergency Preparedness Kit in the Spring which included the Safari LT solar generator and a 100W solar panel to which I added a 2nd 100W solar panel, a 25′ extension cable and Safari UT 700 battery. I used these products for 6 months to power my 100W widescreen TV and my computer (75W average) which has brought me from paying more than a similar home in my area as reported by my electricity provider to paying 7 less (7.50 less monthly on average than last year and even with a hotter summer this year with a higher air conditioner usage). Because it’s getting cloudier, and wanting a shorting charging time, I purchased this 3rd 100W solar panel. This product is working as well as the previous 2 and I’m very happy with the performance. The only con I have found is that the outer insulation pulls away from the connector, the pins can come out of the connectors and one of the connectors has broken (part of the plastic surrounding the pin) but is still usable and the pins can be reseated into the plastic connectors. Admittedly, I accidentally pulled them too hard while moving the panels so it’s my own fault but I believe the cables could be reinforced better at the connectors to prevent these issues.

    Are there solar storage incentives available?

    One of the best solar storage incentives is the Federal Solar Tax Credit. The Federal Solar Tax Credit will deduct 26% of the cost of your solar energy system from your federal taxes. Starting in 2021, the value of the tax credit will step down to 22%. After 2021, the tax credit for residential solar ends.

    Another option is to finance Brightbox with a lease. We’ll pass down the savings to you in the form of a lower and more predictable electric bill.

    Net metering, which credits any excess power your solar system generates back to your electric bill, is another great incentive for many people that go solar. However, several states have chosen to adopt Time-of-Use (TOU) rates, which complicate the way your net metering credits are calculated. Brightbox can buffer you from peak TOU rates so you may save even more on your electric bill.

    Will my Brightbox battery allow me to go off grid?

    Our rechargeable solar battery systems are designed to keep you on-grid during normal service times while still providing reliable backup when the sun isn’t shining or during the event of an outage. This is the most reliable and economical way to use your Brightbox system, and the one most strongly recommended by Sunrun’s service experts.

    Just like solar-only systems, the size of your rechargeable solar battery system is determined by your unique energy needs and habits. Factors, such as the amount of electricity you use at home and the devices and appliances you want to back up, will play a key role as you select the right battery storage solution for you.

    solar, panel, storage, case, battery

    Is my Brightbox battery an IoT (internet of things) device?

    While Brightbox requires an Internet or cellular connection to monitor your energy storage and usage efficiently, it can still operate without it. If for some reason Brightbox happens to go offline, you can resume your usage tracking when your internet connection is back to normal.

    Most residential batteries are installed and configured with baseline settings by your solar installer. Solar batteries last anywhere between 10 and 15 years, and manufacturers typically offer a 10-year warranty.

    How does Brightbox work?

    Brightbox allows you to store the electricity your solar energy system produces during the day and use it when you need it most—such as in the evening during time of use (TOU) peak pricing or when the electric grid fails due to an extreme weather event or physical damage to the equipment.

    Brightbox is a holistic solar battery storage service that offers you clean, safe, reliable, back-up power to have better control over your home energy use and cost.

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