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Solar Power Battery Storage - An Introduction

Solar power battery storage is dramatically changing the way people use and consume solar power. In the average household, power is used first thing in the morning and during the evening hours - but power consumption dramatically decreases during the middle of the day (when maximum solar power is generated). Changing power consumption patterns isn't always practical, so battery storage is a great solution.

Due to falling prices, along with continuous improvements in technology, solar powered battery storage systems (or solar battery banks) are becoming increasingly popular in New Zealand, with lithium-ion batteries being the most common technology used for solar storage.

There are different types of solar battery arrangements and sizes; battery storage systems can be completely customisable to your power requirements. Below we will explore how solar batteries works, and the systems that are available to purchase.

Different Types of Solar Storage Systems

Grid-Connected: With Solar Storage (No Off-Grid Mode)

A battery paired with solar panel/s allows for solar power day or night, and increases solar self-consumption. This way, less solar power is sent to the grid. This type of system has no off-grid mode so when/if there is a power outage, the battery will automatically shut off.

It's proven to be a popular system for users who aren't regularly at home during peak solar power generation hours (roughly 9am-5pm). It's also a great option for those unable to change their energy use patterns (to increase solar power self-consumption).

The Tesla Powerwall is just one of the many lithium-ion batteries that are used in grid connected and solar storage system set up.

Hybrid Solar Power System (Off-Grid Capability)

A hybrid system offers backup electricity in a power outage and allows homeowners to maximise solar power self-consumption.

The solar battery bank can be designed to provide backup power for selected appliances (up to a few days) depending on individual requirements.

It's great for homes or businesses that experience power outages frequently, or for those who use life dependant electrical devices.

Off-grid systems

Aiming to be 100% energy independent and disconnected from the grid? The off-grid system is the ultimate solution.

Short Video: How A Grid Connected System with Solar Storage Works

How a Grid Connected System with Solar Storage Works

The power produced by solar panels will be fed straight into any electrical appliance that is switched on. Any excess power will charge the battery. Solar power will only be sent to the utility grid when the appliance/s demands have been met and the batteries are at full capacity. 

Why Install Solar Storage?

It makes sense to utilise as much solar power as possible, as opposed to exporting solar power to the grid. Batteries are highly recommended if there is too much solar power exported to the grid during peak power production hours. Utilising peak production hours is the smart way to consume solar power.

Read more about the benefits of solar battery storage here>

In-depth Video: How A Grid Connected System With Solar Storage Works

Lithium-ion Battery Technology

Battery storage technology; it's a race to develop the ultimate solar battery storage system. Lithium-ion battery technologies are the most common battery on the market. Lithium-ion batteries are smaller, lighter and store more energy than traditional lead-acid batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries are found in mobile phones, laptops and electric vehicles - increased demand for these products has prioritised economies of scale for lithium-ion, with the cost dropping roughly 20% each year.

Tesla Powerwall, BYD, Sonnen and Panasonic are some of the industries biggest players and they are taking full advantage of lithium-ion technology. 

The Price of Solar Power Battery Storage

Solar power battery storage system prices can vary, this is largely due to storage capacity, additional features, and brand names. 

A small break down of indicative starting prices is as follows; a small modular battery from Enphase will cost $2,300*, with that you'd need to buy the envoy-s metered, which will cost roughly $800*. 

The Sonnen Hybrid 9.53/5 (5kWh of capacity) costs $11,250* and the Sonnen Hybrid 9.53/15 (15kWh of capacity) will set you back around $20,890*.

The above provides a snapshot view of the range of prices for battery storage available in New Zealand. To view a larger range of battery storage models, and their suggested prices, click here.

*The pricing above is indicative only. Please request quotes for exact prices.

Retrofitting Solar Storage Batteries

Fear not, savvy and smart early adopters of solar technology. Existing grid-connected solar power systems can be retrofitted to include a solar battery bank.

Having a battery ready system is an excellent option if a user is considering adding solar storage at a later date.