You may well be aware that adding solar panels to your roof space can bring you huge savings, but what is less commonly known is that you can add a solar battery to your solar setup to maximise its potential. But how much do solar batteries cost and is it a worthwhile investment?
With a wide range of battery options available with differing prices, your budget may be one of your main considerations. Additionally, what you require from your solar batteries – whether you are just looking to use it as battery backup, or you are at the other end of the scale and looking to use solar batteries to go completely off-grid – will all have a bearing on your solar battery costs.
Solar batteries and their decreasing cost
Solar batteries are relatively new technology and their uptake isn’t yet as widespread as solar panels themselves, meaning that there are a lot of solar systems in use that do not yet include a solar battery. However, as the use of solar batteries becomes more commonplace, the price (much like it did with solar panels) will fall, making them a more affordable option.
As solar batteries allow homes and businesses to store energy by day that can be used later, this brings bills savings and a greater degree of energy independence since less electricity is required from the National Grid. These savings can be significant and enough to make homes and businesses consider making the investment in solar batteries.
How much are solar batteries?
Solar batteries aren’t cheap and the typical cost is anything between £1,200 and £10,000 depending on the battery you choose. Type, brand, capacity, efficiency, depth of discharge, and longevity are just some of the factors that will impact solar battery price.
The most commonly used solar batteries are either lithium-ion or lead-acid. Li-on batteries are the more expensive option but are generally the favoured option as they are compact and have better efficiency and depth of discharge (i.e more of the stored energy within the battery can be used without negatively impacting on the battery life).
Lead-acid batteries are a cheaper solar battery option, and though they have lower lifespan than lithium-ion batteries, still have a use in some solar setups.
Lithium-ion v Lead-acid battery cost
Below you can find the average cost of lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries. Remember, this is just to give you an idea about the cost you might pay. All of the factors we’ll cover throughout this post, from battery brand to capacity, depth of discharge to efficiency will ALL affect the final cost of any solar battery you purchase.
For now, though, here are some average prices based on solar battery type alone:
|Usable capacity (kWh)||Estimated solar battery price £ (Lithium-ion)||Estimated solar battery price £ (Lead-acid)|
Do you already have solar?
Solar batteries can in most cases be added to an existing solar setup, though it will depend on the specification of your solar PV system. If your solar panels are a significant number of years old then this may limit your options when retro-fitting a solar battery.
Typically, solar customers will have a solar battery installed at the same time as their solar panels, and this can reduce the costs involved. ESE Group will ensure that the solar panel and battery combination chosen will be one that works well together, often from the same manufacturer.
What are your solar battery needs?
For small households with little electricity demand, a smaller solar battery may be sufficient for their needs, but for a property with larger demand, or even looking to go off-grid, the solar battery requirements will be much larger.
Your solar battery is in part going to depend on the size of your solar array. There’s little point installing a huge capacity solar battery if you don’t have solar panels sufficient enough to charge it effectively. Equally a large solar array would be wasted if there wasn’t sufficient electricity demand or batteries to store the large excess produced.
Generally, a larger property and household looking to make the most of solar battery storage will need a larger solar array and battery, or even multiple batteries. This inevitably will have an impact on solar battery storage costs.
What solar battery size will I need?
In a typical household setting, you’ll generally only need one solar battery system, but this could be made up of one or several batteries to ensure you can store solar electricity generated throughout the day.
While you may be tempted to buy an overly large battery system, you might end up paying too much for a capacity that you simply aren’t going to use.
As a guide, here are some estimates for the solar battery size that you might need depending on the size of your property plus the estimated cost.
|House size||Estimated Solar battery size||Estimated Li-ion solar battery cost|
|4 bedrooms||9.5 Wh||£6000|
What is your solar budget?
Since the majority of solar installations will involve solar batteries being installed at the same time as the solar panels, your overall solar budget will have a bearing on what you choose. While you will want a solar PV system that meets your energy needs, it will still need to be within your budget.
You will need a system that combines a solar battery that works in harmony with the rest of the solar setup, so there’s little point spending most of your budget on your solar battery when the panels just aren’t able to produce enough of the energy you are wanting to store!
If your budget is limited then a lead-acid solar battery may be your preferred solar battery option, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the efficiency and lifespan of these is less, so you’ll likely need to replace it far sooner than you would a lithium-ion battery. In some cases, spending more upfront for a battery with longer lifespan may be the better option, but this will depend on your personal circumstances.
Factors Affecting Solar Battery Cost
|Battery Lifespan||The lifespan of a solar battery is impacted by factors including the type, quality and depth of discharge of the battery. In general, a lead-acid battery should last up to 10 years, while a lithium-ion battery under normal use should typically last up to 15 years.|
|Depth of Discharge (DoD)||Solar battery DoD indicates how much of a battery’s stored energy is able to be discharged without negatively impacting on the battery lifespan. Lead-acid batteries tend to decay more quickly when deeply discharged.
A typical DoD for a lead-acid battery is around 50%, whereas a Li-ion will typically have DoD of around 80%+. This means that more than 80% of the battery capacity can be discharged without impacting on the health and lifespan of the battery.
|Efficiency||Efficiency of a solar battery is a measure of how much of the solar energy that is being transferred to the battery is actually able to be stored. The process of storing the energy does result in some energy loss during the process.
Lithium-ion batteries are around 90-95%, making them more efficient than lead-acid batteries (around 80-85% efficiency). Li-ion batteries charge faster too, so may be worth the additional cost.
|Capacity||Battery capacity is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) and is an indication of how much energy a battery is capable of storing. Solar battery capacities range from 1kWh to 16kWh, though it is possible to install more than one battery to increase capacity.
A larger battery capacity will only ever be able to be utilised fully if you have a solar array of adequate size. For those intending to go off-grid and relying solely on solar for their electricity needs, larger capacity batteries of greater cost will be required.
|Warranty||Some of the best solar battery brands will also provide the best warranties, but this is inevitably reflected in the cost. Some solar manufacturers provide performance warranties that guarantee a battery capacity or efficiency level over a set number of years.|
|Brand||Some solar brands are well established and reliable as battery manufacturers. Their solid reputation in the solar industry marks them out as trusted brands and people will often be more willing to pay more for their solar products.
If your budget is somewhat limited then some of the pricier and solid named brands could be out of your price range. With these budget considerations in mind, a cheaper brand may prove the cost-effective option.
|0% VAT on solar installations||0% VAT on measures such as solar installations, including batteries, has been applicable since April 2022, making the cost much more affordable. The no VAT to pay rate runs until March 2027 at which point the 5% rate of VAT that was applicable previously will apply once more.|
A note on solar battery installation costs
A final thing to consider that’s related to solar battery costs is the cost of installation, too. Installing solar batteries comes at a cost because it is a job that requires experts in order to ensure it is installed safely and correctly.
The cost of this installation will vary based on a variety of factors. Things such as battery location and complexity of installation will affect how much we charge. You might also require additional equipment or slight modifications in order to ensure your solar battery is installed safely.
Incorrect installation can lead to poor performance, as the right connections and location of your solar battery need to be carefully managed to ensure it is best placed to perform optimally.
When we provide a quote for the cost of your solar battery this will include the cost of installing them, so we always provide a comprehensive quote when you work with ESE Group.
Is the cost of solar batteries a worthwhile investment?
The cost of going solar and including a solar battery requires a significant investment, we get that, and you could be forgiven for wondering whether solar batteries are worth it.
Undeniably, solar batteries maximise the potential return from a solar investment by enabling electricity to be stored by day and used when you need it. This generates significant savings by reducing the energy you need to draw from the electricity suppliers.
The savings don’t just end there as a solar battery provides you with the opportunity to make money from any excess electricity that is produced. Schemes like the Smart Export Guarantee scheme allow domestic solar producers to sell electricity that they don’t use to the National Grid. To get the best return from exporting energy, high efficiency solar panels and batteries are recommended, though these inevitably come at higher cost.
Solar battery cost conclusions
Solar battery costs are likely to fall as more and more households adopt the technology and this makes it a more enticing and cost-effective option. While your budget may be one of your main considerations, you’ll need to weigh up whether spending more for a solar battery with greater reliability, capacity, efficiency and most-importantly lifespan is worth it to you. ESE will help you get that decision right.
It is worth remembering that whatever solar battery you choose will enhance your solar set up and bring you bill savings year on year. The best solar battery option for you will be the one that provides the right balance of storage versus cost so that you get payback on your solar battery in a decent amount of time.
When you add in the fact that solar is a renewable source of energy, this is a positive for the environment and your overall carbon footprint. For those who are keen to save money and reduce the impact their household has on the planet, a solar battery will prove a price worth paying.
How ESE will help you with solar batteries
At ESE we calculate bespoke proposals for all of our clients based on their battery requirements. We don’t hard sell or try to provide you with a solar battery system that isn’t right for your home. Instead, we take a look at your current solar array (or we help design one based on your needs) and then see which solar battery fits best.
After that, we’ll provide you with an accurate quote for a solar battery that will serve your needs – and our quotes are always competitive to ensure our customers are getting the best deals on solar batteries.