Increasingly, in 2016, and beyond battery storage to add on to your solar panels will be an increasingly popular topic and is a very popular topic in the media. To a large extent this is due to Tesla and Elon Musk’s efforts to make Tesla’s Powerwall a household name in Australia. This has certainly raised the profile of battery storage and all it’s advantages for Australian households and businesses but many consumers are aware having the best advertising doesn’t necessarily mean you are producing the best product.
At the same time it is often difficult for people that are not involved in the renewable energy industry to be able to compare the different technologies that are available an make informed decisions on what is the best energy storage solution for them. For people that are involved it is hard enough with the changes that are happening every day.
This is why we are putting together this blog to explain some of the terms used and to compare the different technologies and the pros and cons of each. This will make it easier for people to make informed decisions, taking into account how the battery is to be used.
When quoting battery prices the price of the battery alone is often quoted as the price but in fact, you must look at the cost of the battery as a final installed price which will include all the extras that are needed to get the battery to talk to your solar panels. Not all batteries talk to all invertors and therefore to all solar panels so this is something you need to be aware of, particularly if you are adding storage to an already installed system.
You must also be aware of the “Life cost of ownership (LOC)” or “Total cost of ownership (TOC)” of the battery and your complete renewable energy installation.
A battery may appear to be cheaper initially, but when you take into account any maintenance costs or replacement parts over the life of the battery this initial cost may not be as good value as initially thought.
Also the expected life of the battery needs to be taken into account. A battery that has an expected lifetime of 15 – 20 years will be much better value than one that will only last 10 – 12 years or in the case of many lead acid batteries much less than this.
Another important factor is the temperature that the battery will be operating in. Many batteries can only operate in a specific temperature range and will stop operating outside of this range and will, in fact deteriorate if the temperature is too high. This is the reason many batteries need to be kept cooled which is an extra expense that must be taken into account.
If you have any questions about batteries in general feel free to let us know and we will try and find the best answers for you.