When considering the switch to renewable energy, homeowners often explore the integration of solar panels with solar batteries—a combination that promises not only environmental benefits but also energy independence and potential savings.
Additionally, installation costs, potential incentives, and the specific needs of a household play pivotal roles in the total expense.
Understanding these cost components is essential for anyone looking to harness the sun’s power most effectively and economically.
Average Cost of Solar Batteries
Solar batteries are a significant investment, and their cost is directly related to the amount of energy you need to store.
Larger homes or those with higher energy demands may require multiple batteries, thus raising the overall expense.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the average cost for a solar battery system, including installation, is approximately $18,791.
The battery unit alone is estimated to cost around $16,007, excluding installation and permitting fees, which can vary widely depending on where you live and which installer you choose.
There are financial incentives available to help offset the cost of solar energy systems, including battery storage. The Residential Clean Energy Credit, a federal tax incentive, provides a 30% credit on the total cost of the solar system, including the battery.
This could mean nearly a $5,000 reduction in cost based on the NREL’s estimated price for a solar battery system.
The type of battery you choose also plays a role in the overall cost. Lithium-ion batteries, which are more commonly used in residential solar setups, tend to be pricier than their lead-acid counterparts.
However, they also offer a larger storage capacity and longer lifespan, which can provide more energy to power your home and may be more cost-effective over time.
Here’s what you can expect in terms of starting prices of solar batteries from the most popular solar battery brands:
|LG Chem RESU||$9,500 – $13,000 with installation|
|Panasonic Evervolt||$15,000 – $20,000 with installation|
Factors That Impact Solar Battery Price
The cost of your solar battery is influenced by a number of factors, including:
Solar Battery Quality
Higher-quality batteries command a higher price, but they generally offer better performance and longevity.
Products available today all meet stringent safety standards, but higher-end models will cost more due to superior build and efficiency.
Number of Batteries
The quantity of solar batteries required hinges on:
- Your energy usage in kilowatt-hours.
- The storage capacity of each battery.
- The number of appliances you wish to run on battery power.
- The duration you want these appliances to run during a power outage.
Typically, one to two solar batteries are sufficient for most homes to manage energy needs and maintain power to essential circuits during a blackout.
It’s a balance between the desire for extensive backup power and the practicality of the investment.
The type of solar battery affects cost and performance.
Lithium-ion batteries, specifically Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) and Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP), are common, with LFP typically being more expensive by 30-50% due to its longevity.
Batteries store DC energy, which needs to be converted to AC for home use, requiring an inverter.
Batteries with built-in inverters can be more costly upfront but may result in savings by avoiding the need to buy a separate inverter.
Retrofit vs. New Installation
Combining the installation of energy storage with a new solar system can save on labor and installation costs, compared to retrofitting storage to an existing solar setup.
Critical Load Panels
Most home energy storage systems aren’t big enough to power an entire house, so you’ll need to designate specific circuits to a critical load panel for essential power during outages.
The panel isn’t expensive, but the installation can be.
Labor Costs and Local Market
The labor costs for setting up your home solar battery system are indeed a significant factor in the overall price.
- Combined Installation: Installing the battery system together with the solar panels often leads to reduced labor costs. This is because the electrical setup, inspections, and permits for both the solar and battery systems are handled concurrently.
- Separate Installation: Adding a battery to an existing solar panel system might result in higher labor expenses. New permits and paperwork might be necessary, and additional electrical configurations might be needed to integrate the battery with the existing setup.
- Choice of Installer and Market Conditions: The installer you select and the demand for batteries in your area will also influence the cost. If many people are looking to install battery systems, the price could rise due to increased demand.
Are Solar Batteries Worth It?
Deciding if a solar battery is a valuable addition to your home depends largely on your specific needs and circumstances:
- Backup Power: If reliable backup power is a priority—especially in areas prone to power outages—a solar battery can be a sound investment. It’s a clean, quiet alternative to a traditional gas-powered generator, requiring no ongoing fuel costs.
- Electricity Bill Management: The potential for additional savings on your electricity bill depends on local solar billing policies. In areas with full-retail net metering, where you’re credited for the electricity your solar panels produce, a battery might not offer much extra savings. However, if your utility employs time-of-use billing, where electricity prices vary throughout the day, a battery could store solar energy when rates are low and use it when rates are high, leading to potential savings.
- Financial Incentives: Some regions offer substantial rebates and incentives for adding a battery to your solar installation, which could make the investment more financially attractive.
Consulting with local solar installers can provide personalized insights.
They can evaluate whether a battery will meet your backup power needs, analyze the financial implications based on your utility’s billing policies, and inform you about relevant incentives, helping you make an informed decision.