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Solar Battery Installation: A Full Guide

Solar Battery Installation: Pros, Cons, and Other Things to Know

A solar panel battery is essential for your solar system.

It helps store electricity and gives you more options for powering your home even if the sun is not around.

If you're wondering whether you should install home batteries, the answer is you should!

However, you should first understand solar battery installation to ensure you correctly integrate the battery into your existing solar panel system.

How Does Solar Battery Installation Work?

Solar battery installation is relatively easier than the solar panel system installation process. Let's go over these steps thoroughly so that you know how to install a solar battery,

1. Preparation

The design and installation of an energy storage system increases the complexity of the solar PV system. Therefore, it is important to check on some preparation guides.

Aside from saving your time and effort, you save money too.

  1. Fix your mind - Note that solar batteries involve significant financial investment and require a long-term commitment.
  2. Find the right location - Store them in a cool, dry location with adequate ventilation and away from direct heat. Ensure that indoor installations are easily accessible.
  3. Assess your energy usage - This preparation helps determine the right size and usable capacity of the battery you need.
  4. Prepare equipment - This includes verifying that all necessary tools, materials, and equipment are compatible with the battery.
  5. Search for incentives - Tax credits, rebates, and other financial incentives provided by the United Kingdom government or utility providers are examples of incentives.

2. Installation

A solar battery is an important part of installing a solar panel — which is why users also want solar battery storage systems.

Doing them at the same time reduces overall equipment and labour costs.

However, if you're unsure whether you need a solar storage system now and would opt to do it in the future instead, that is still possible — just be sure to inform your installer.

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    Remember that without solar panel battery storage, all the excess energy you have generated from your solar panels will go back to the national grid.

    And when you don't have energy stored, you'll consume electricity from your energy supplier and get charged for the electricity bills.

    Here's what happens during the actual installation of your solar battery storage system.

    1. Checking All Requirements

    Make sure that you receive all the necessary paperwork during installation. You'll be needing it if you need to make a warranty or insurance claim.

    2. System User Manual Will be Provided

    You should also receive a system user manual when your system is installed. Make sure you ask any questions before your installer leaves.

    3. Check With Your Home Insurance

    Before installation commences, contacting your home insurance provider is also worth ensuring your policy covers your new battery solar system.

    4. The entire House's Power Will Be Turned Off

    A solar battery storage system installation typically takes 1-2 days (unless you have a large system installed, it may take a few days longer).

    3. System Maintenance

    A solar panel system may have different requirements, but it is easy regarding battery maintenance.

    Cleaning and undergoing an annual professional examination are your solar system's only regular maintenance requirements to ensure it still functions properly.

    If an individual battery cell experiences an internal malfunction, that cell may begin to operate poorly long before the solar system as a whole does.

    This, however, is something that the installer can detect during system maintenance.

    Contact your licensed installation or solar battery storage systems retailer if you find an issue.

    Benefits of Solar Battery Installation

    One advantage of the best solar battery system is the ability to get electricity during a power outage in your neighbourhood.

    Though this could be an important benefit to you, there are a few other benefits why many have opted to add a home battery system.

    1. Cost Savings

    A solar system with a battery can save up to 90% on your energy expenses.

    If you ever need more electricity, your battery can help in storing electricity from the grid at cheaper, greener, off-peak hours.

    This can drastically reduce the energy you consume from the grid, allowing you to pay even less for electricity from utilities that demand charges.

    Access to cheap electricity stored even in lithium batteries may be used to recharge an electric car, saving you money.

    2. Environmental Benefits

    You can reduce energy waste by expanding the energy-producing capacity of your solar system. Of course, you'll need a solar battery for this.

    Because a solar energy storage system stores spare electricity, users can lower their environmental carbon footprint and contribute to minimising the consequences of climate change.

    3. Increased Home Value

    Installing a solar photovoltaic system with a battery can raise the value of your average household.

    Some potential investors will find this appealing.

    4. Increase Energy Independence

    Do you want to go completely off-grid rather than just having a backup?

    Yes, our team has discovered that this is the main reason why consumers might want energy storage installed.

    Using solar energy storage gives you more control over where your solar electricity comes from.

    5. Monitor Your Energy Consumption

    You may be able to modify the settings on your battery storage system through smart scheduling.

    You may want to set your battery to only charge during daylight hours and discharge at others to correspond with how energy is used or how much energy you feed-in tariff.

    6. Improve Over Time

    Solar batteries reduce your reliance on grid energy storage. This is because these batteries are powered by the following:]

    • Renewable, clean energy
    • Fossil fuels like coal and gas

    Installing solar and storage systems reduces your exposure to growing electricity prices while also helping reduce carbon emissions.

    Who knows, maybe you'll also eventually switch to an electric vehicle as you travel around England.

    Potential Drawbacks of Solar Battery Installation

    However, these batteries also have some possible downsides. So be mindful of these possible drawbacks before investing in them.

    1. Initial Cost

    Solar batteries require a high upfront cost.

    Lithium-ion solar batteries alone (without the installation yet) are already expensive.

    Despite the long-term cost savings and environmental benefits, this may discourage some homes and businesses from investing.

    2. Maintenance

    Solar batteries require routine maintenance to ensure peak performance and longevity.

    This can include checking battery charge levels regularly, doing routine maintenance inspections, and replacing batteries as needed.

    3. Durability

    Solar batteries will eventually need to be replaced since they have a limited life cycle.

    Although solar batteries have a lifespan of 5 to 25 years, the replacement expense can be high, especially for more complicated systems.

    Batteries can catch fire or overheat if broken, incorrectly placed, or not adequately vented.

    Considerations When Installing a Solar Battery

    Several factors need to be considered when installing solar batteries. Knowing them is important to further assess whether the solar battery is worth the investment.

    1. Cost of Installation

    A solar battery can provide significant long-term savings on electricity costs. Unfortunately, the initial installation cost can be relatively high.

    It's important to consider the cost of equipment, labour, and any necessary permits or inspections when calculating the total cost of installation.

    By comparing installation costs and potential savings over time, you can determine whether a solar battery is cost-effective for your specific energy use.

    2. Location and Accessibility

    The location and accessibility of the battery can affect the efficiency and longevity of the system.

    Because of that, you must consider these factors: 

    • Sunlight hours 
    • Temperature 
    • Humidity

    For instance, overheating-related damage can be avoided by placing it in a cool, dry area with enough ventilation.

    The battery should also be accessible for easier monitoring and maintenance.

    This can guard against any safety risks and help ensure the battery operates properly. On top of that, if placed correctly, a battery's lifespan can be increased.

    3. Size of Battery

    Storage capacity, typically determined by the depth of discharge (DoD), refers to the energy your solar battery can store and its usable capacity.

    The battery size should be based on your specific energy needs and usage patterns.

    The number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) of usable and storage capacity directly impacts how much your solar battery storage system will cost.

    A larger battery can store more energy — but it may also be more expensive and need more space for installation.

    4. Battery Material

    Battery materials with higher discharge rates and longer lifespans typically have higher prices.

    For solar installations, here are the most common types of batteries.: 

    • Lead-acid batteries are the most traditional and least expensive option. Unfortunately, they have a shorter lifespan and require regular maintenance.
    • Saltwater batteries are a newer, more environmentally friendly option but are more expensive and less widely available.
    • Lithium-ion batteries have a higher cost. But they make up for it by having a longer lifespan and requiring less maintenance.

    5. Lifespan

    Solar PV panels' batteries have a lifespan of 10 to 25 years. However, this depends on the system's operation and the ambient temperature.

    Poor or heavy usage may cause the product to last less than the manufacturer's requirements.

    You can discharge batteries in a wide temperature range of around -20°C to 60°C.

    However, make sure to keep charging temperatures to a minimum for the best performance.

    REMEMBER: Battery storage products contain harmful and dangerous materials like those in acid or lithium batteries (e.g. cadmium, cobalt, and lead), so dispose of them properly. You can also ask your retailer whether they have a battery recycling program.

    What Are the Different Types of Solar Batteries?

    Solar batteries are a reliable source of power. However, they come in different types and come with different key features.

    1. RV/Marine Solar batteries

    RV and marine solar batteries are designed specifically for recreational vehicles and boats.

    These batteries are typically deep-cycle, designed to provide steady, consistent electricity over a long period.

    They are often used when a reliable power source is needed — such as off-grid or mobile applications.

    Lead-acid, absorbed glass mats (AGM) and lithium-ion batteries are a few common RV and marine solar battery varieties.

    2. Flooded Type

    Flooded batteries are lead-acid batteries commonly used in electric cars or marine vehicles.

    They are relatively inexpensive than other types of batteries and can provide high electricity power in short bursts.

    Flooded batteries are also known as wet-cell batteries because they contain a liquid electrolyte solution — which can spill or leak if the battery is damaged or tipped over.

    Install these batteries in a well-ventilated area to avoid the buildup of explosive gases.

    3. Gel

    Gel batteries are lead-acid batteries that use a gel electrolyte instead of a liquid electrolyte.

    The gel electrolyte is a thick, dense material less likely to spill or leak than the liquid electrolyte used in flooded batteries.

    As opposed to the flooded type, sealed gel batteries have no vents and do not release gases — because of this, venting is not important.

    These batteries can be used indoors without risks, installed in any orientation, and operated in various temperatures.

    4. Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) Batteries

    Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries are sealed lead-acid batteries that use a fibreglass mat to absorb and hold the electrolyte.

    These battery types do not release gas when charging since they are leak proof.

    They also have a faster charging rate and a longer lifespan than flooded or gel batteries. However, AGM batteries can be more expensive than other battery types.

    On top of that, high temperatures can affect their overall performance.

    What Are the Different Battery Storage Installation Systems?

    There are two systems for battery storage installation: DC coupling and AC coupling.

    1. DC Battery Systems

    A DC Battery System connects the battery bank directly to the solar panels installed.

    These systems do not require an additional inverter to convert DC electricity into AC power. This makes them a more convenient and cost-effective battery type.

    DC coupling is also more straightforward to install and maintain, as fewer components are involved.

    They are typically used in off-grid or standalone systems without connection to the electric grid.

    2. AC Battery Systems

    An AC-coupled system uses additional solar and a second inverter to convert DC electricity from solar panels into AC electricity.

    This is then used to charge the battery bank.

    AC battery systems are typically more efficient than DC-coupled systems. It's also easier to install and maintain.

    AC batteries also offer greater flexibility in how the battery bank is charged and discharged. This can help optimise energy usage and reduce energy bills.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Our team understands that some questions about installing a solar battery storage power station might still be left. No worries, this section will help address them.

    Can I Save Money With a Solar Battery?

    Yes, installing a solar battery can help your budget in several ways.

    Solar batteries require a significant upfront financial investment, but in the long run, they can ultimately help save you money on energy costs at night or during power cut-offs.

    It lets you store the energy generated during the day for use during peak hours. You won't have to buy electricity from the grid anymore.

    Some utility companies can also provide you with time-of-use (TOU) rates.

    Do I Need Solar Panels to Install a Battery?

    Technically, you can install a battery without solar panels.

    However, they are designed to work together with solar panels.

    This means you can only maximise the battery's capabilities if you have a solar system.

    A standalone battery system requires charging from the power grid (except during power cut-offs), which may be more expensive than generating solar energy through solar panel systems.

    What Is the Average Lifespan of a Solar Battery?

    The lifespan of solar batteries ranges from 5 to 25 years on average.

    The most common type of solar battery is made of lithium-ion chemical materials, and its lifespan can reach 15 years.

    Nevertheless, some premium solar PV systems' batteries can live up to 20 years or longer.

    Some elements may affect how long a solar battery lasts, including the Depth of Discharge.

    Depth of Discharge (DoD)

    Depth of Discharge is the maximum percentage of a usable rechargeable battery's capacity.

    The higher the Depth of Discharge (the more deeply a battery is discharged), the more battery storage you can consume daily. 

    Many experts recommend keeping the DOD at or below 50% to maximise the electric battery's life cycle.

    Lithium-ion battery systems typically have a DOD of 80% and above. While lead-acid batteries typically range from 30%–50%.

    Conclusion

    A home battery allows homes with solar panels to capture and store any surplus electricity generated.

    This means you're relying less on the electrical grid and can use the solar power stored when you like, even if there are power cuts.

    Promoting renewable energy sources will lessen your carbon footprint. As a result, the environment and the future will benefit from each action you take.

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    Mark McShane
    Content Writer
    Mark McShane is a seasoned professional in the solar industry and the owner of Skills Training Group, a leading provider of solar training and education. With years of experience in the field, Mark has developed a deep understanding of the latest trends, technologies and best practices in the industry. His expertise and passion for solar energy have helped countless professionals develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the fast-growing field of solar energy. Whether you’re an aspiring solar professional or an experienced industry veteran, Mark is an excellent resource for anyone looking to enhance their skills and knowledge of the solar industry.
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