When people are new to solar they often wonder if they need to include a battery in their solar system. For most people the answer is no.
Solar powered batteries work by storing extra energy produced by your panels during the day and then feeds that power back to your home at night when your solar panels are no longer producing energy. It sounds like a great idea, but the technology hasn’t quite caught up with the dream yet.
The most well known, or at least the most talked about, solar power battery right now is the Tesla Powerwall. The Tesla Powerwall 2.0 offers twice the storage capacity of the original but that still doesn’t make it worth it for the average homeowner. The cost of the battery is $6,700 then you figure in the cost of supporting equipment and installation the price can top out at around $15,800.
With the amount of money a Tesla Powerwall will save you on your power bill, you’re looking at a payback period of 30+ years. That’s right it will take more than 30 years for a Tesla Powerwall to pay for itself.
Unfortunately the warranty only lasts 10 years and the odds are it will probably end up breaking down not too long after that warranty runs out. Which means you’ll be left holding the bill.
Of course there are other battery options like Sonnen Inc. and Adara Power but no one has been able to get the overall cost for a kilowatt-hour of stored energy less than $0.40. A lot of people want to get a battery so they can store their own energy during the day and use it at night instead of using grid-tied energy. But, in Utah for example, the average price per kwh is 9.93 cents, way cheaper than a battery.
Solar batteries are still relatively and it’s expected to become more efficient and cheaper as the technology becomes more and more advanced. The same thing happened to solar panels in the last few years as the technology improved and the prices dropped.
For off-grid systems though a battery can help keep your lights on at night especially if you’re committed to using clean energy. For some a generator might still be cheaper nighttime energy option but refueling can be inconvenient depending on how far off-grid you are. Also if you don’t want to drag a loud and bulky generator with you everywhere a solar battery can be a good option.