A decade ago, seeing solar panels on the roof of your average home was still unusual. Now, however, you’d have a hard time finding any suburban neighborhood in America that didn’t have multiple houses with solar panels. Solar has exploded in popularity over the last decade, but in recent years, its growth has been outpaced by a subsector of solar: power storage. More solar power systems than ever are now hybrid systems, including a battery bank to store excess solar power. Keep reading to learn why solar batteries have seen such incredible growth in recent years.
The competition in solar storage manufacturing has risen dramatically. Just as solar itself has become increasingly affordable over the last couple of decades, solar batteries have recently experienced a decrease in production costs, making solar storage solutions more achievable for the average homeowner. More effective and affordable manufacturing processes are only a part of the cost decline, of course.
Now, you’ll find many manufacturers that specialize solely in the production of solar batteries. They focus on creating the most efficient, affordable solar batteries on the market. This increase in competition benefits solar users by creating lower prices throughout the industry.
As mentioned above, newcomers to the solar industry have begun to specialize in solar storage, and that specialization has paid off. Solar batteries are more efficient than ever. Here are just a few of how batteries’ overall energy efficiency has improved:
- Greater depth of discharge – Depth of discharge (DoD) refers to how much of the stored energy is actually usable. Many new solar users don’t realize that batteries cannot be fully discharged without the significant risk of damaging the battery. The DoD expresses what percentage can be discharged before you risk that damage. Previous battery models often only had a DoD of 50%. Now, many models have DoD exceeding 90%, giving you more usable energy in every battery cell.
- Greater round trip efficiency – Round trip efficiency refers to the battery’s efficiency when charging and discharging power. Some energy will always be lost when energy is transferred, but current models minimize that lost energy to help you keep more of the power generated by your panels.
- Longer lifespans – You might not think that a longer lifespan contributes to greater efficiency, but it does when discussing your cost per watt. The longer a battery lasts and the more cycles it can go through, the more power you’ll get out of that investment before needing a replacement. Many newer models of solar batteries can last for a full decade, while older styles of batteries often wouldn’t last past five years.
This greater efficiency makes batteries a more cost-effective option and gives you a greater return on your investment.
Previously, solar batteries just weren’t built for an average residential home. They were designed for off-grid systems, where the building was fully reliant on a backup battery system when solar was unavailable. Now, grid-tied homeowners want to reap the benefits of a battery system without leaving city limits. More adaptable, sizable battery systems make this more feasible. Stackable battery modules allow homeowners to make a battery bank that’s perfectly sized for their home and expand upon it as needed.
Most homeowners don’t have an entire room to dedicate to a battery bank. Previously, battery banks were made of what were essentially car batteries, connected by strings of wires. These bulky batteries take up a great deal of space, and people often can’t dedicate the space needed to accommodate this type of battery bank. Now, battery banks large enough to support an entire home can often fit into a space only as big as a cabinet.
With housing costs constantly on the rise, square footage is a major commodity, and you can’t afford to waste any space. These compact solar battery banks are a more viable option for the modern homeowner. What would have once required a large shelving unit can now fit into a tiny corner of your garage, saving space and keeping your battery bank tidy and organized.
A home solar battery didn’t make sense for most solar users in the past. They weren’t very efficient, bulky, and came with a high price tag. However, these major hang-ups have been virtually eliminated by better technology and increasing competition in the field. This has led to the incredible rise in solar-plus-storage systems. More and more homeowners have started taking advantage of the benefits of having a backup battery bank attached to their solar power system.