Are you considering making the most of your solar panels with the addition of solar battery storage? While there are a wide range of battery options available, the best solar batteries will be the ones that are most suitable for your electricity needs and your budget.
Solar batteries are available in a range of different sizes and capacities, and it is even possible to have more than one solar battery depending on your requirements. What will be the best option will be the one that stores energy in sufficient quantities that it brings you long-term savings that make your solar battery investment worthwhile.
A look at some of the key considerations and features of solar batteries will help you decide which is the best solar battery option for you. If you’re not sure what panels you want, check out our best solar panels UK guide next!
Why use solar batteries?
Solar batteries are a great addition to a solar PV system as they enable solar power to be stored during the day so that it is available for use in the evening. Solar batteries provide homes and businesses a greater degree of energy independence since they are generating and using as much of the electricity that their own system is producing rather than drawing it from the National Grid. This not only brings you energy bill savings, but also ensures you have battery back up in the event of any outages.
Since solar power is generated from daylight, it is a form of renewable energy and therefore much better for the environment. It helps homes and businesses reduce their carbon footprint and therefore contributes towards the overall UK aim of net zero carbon emissions.
What is your existing set up?
If you are considering installing a solar battery, the likelihood is you are adding them at the same time as new solar panels. You’ll therefore want to choose solar panels and batteries that work together well, ideally from the same manufacturer.
In some instances, you may be looking to add a battery to an existing set up, in which case you will need to ascertain what battery is suitable with your existing solar panels. If your solar panels are particularly old then this could be somewhat problematic and mean that your choice of solar battery is somewhat limited.
When considering the best solar batteries for your property, you need to take into account many of the following factors:
Type of Solar Battery
Solar batteries used in household settings are typically lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are usually the favoured option since they are more compact, and have greater efficiency and depth of discharge (meaning more of the energy within the battery can be used before needing to be recharged). They tend to be the more expensive battery option.
Lead-acid batteries are a much more budget-friendly solar battery, and though they have lower battery lifespan than lithium-ion batteries, can still be useful in home solar setups where budget is limited. Other types of battery include nickel-cadmium and flow batteries but these are generally used in industrial setups.
Your Solar Battery Budget
Budget is often the number one factor that is taken into consideration when choosing solar panel batteries. With costs varying, depending on the type and size of battery chosen, you need to weigh up whether it makes sense to invest in the longer lifespan and efficiency of a lithium-ion battery or spend less up front for a lead-acid solar battery.
Depending on your electricity needs, or if you have plans to go largely off-grid, you may need to purchase more than one battery. You only need to consider the expected lifespan of your solar battery and whether you will be willing to replace it when the time comes.
As most people will be installing a solar battery system at the same time they are having solar panels fitted, it is the total cost of your solar PV system in its entirety that you will have to take into consideration.
Solar batteries take up space so you’ll need to take into account where they are going to be installed to ensure you have sufficient space. It is fair to say that lead acid solar batteries are bigger and heavier than lithium-ion batteries of similar storage capacity so this will need to be considered when you are making your battery choice.
Since most work best at room temperature, solar batteries should ideally be installed indoors (though there are some that can be installed outdoors), and this usually means in a space under the stairs or a utility room, though where room is limited, they may be installed in a loft or garage. The slimline nature of some batteries and their improved aesthetics mean that in some instances you may opt to have your solar battery on show rather than hidden.
The solar battery area should be easily accessible, not only to ensure easy installation, but also for any future maintenance work. You should also consider whether your installation is future-proof, such as allowing sufficient space that it would be possible to increase your battery storage size in future.
The lifespan of your solar battery is an important consideration, after all you don’t want to be having to shell out again for a replacement after just a few years. The longevity of your battery depends on many different factors including the type, quality and depth of discharge of the battery.
In general, you should expect a lead-acid battery to last around 10 years, while a lithium-ion battery under normal use should last up to 15 years. The manufacturer’s specifications for each solar battery should give you an indication of the lifespan you can expect from them, while we will also be able to guide you on longevity based on your expected solar battery usage.
Depth of Discharge
The depth of discharge (DoD) of a solar battery is important as it gives an indication of how much of a battery’s stored energy is used before the battery is recharged. A battery that discharges deeper will have a shorter lifespan, and this applies to both lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries (though lead-acid batteries tend to decay more quickly when deeply discharged).
Solar battery manufacturers often provide an estimate for how many cycles a battery will last at a particular depth of discharge and will recommend a maximum DoD. Lead-acid batteries typically have a DoD of around 50%, meaning you can use up to 50% of the electricity stored in the battery before performance decreases. Lithium-ion batteries have a DoD of around 80%+, meaning you can discharge more than 80% of the battery capacity before the health and lifespan of the battery starts to be affected.
Solar Battery Efficiency
When solar power is generated and transferred to solar batteries, this results in a loss or use of some of that solar energy during the process – the so-called ‘round-trip’ efficiency that takes into account how much energy it took to store the energy in the battery.
Lithium-ion batteries, with efficiencies of around 90-95%, are generally more efficient than lead-acid batteries that tend to have efficiencies of between 80-85%. Lithium-ions batteries tend to charge faster too, so it may be worth investing in a more expensive battery that will perform better and bring better long-term savings.
Battery capacity, typically measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), is a significant factor when it comes to choosing a solar battery. If you intend to generate a large proportion of your electricity needs from solar then you’ll need both the right size solar panel array to produce it and battery capacity to store it. Solar battery capacities range from 1kWh to 16kWh.
In some instances, it may only be possible to have a small solar array in which case the required battery capacity will be small too. For those who have grand intentions of going off-grid and relying on solar for all their needs, then larger capacity batteries, and potentially several of them, will be required.
Solar Battery Warranties
The top solar manufacturers will offer some of the best solar warranties to give you the reassurance you need when it comes to choosing solar batteries. When you want to be sure that your investment will provide you with many years of trouble-free service, a decent warranty will give you protection against defects or performance issues.
Some solar battery brands offer performance warranties which are a guarantee that your battery will work at an agreed capacity or efficiency level over a set number of years.
With a solar battery system you may be able to make use of any excess electricity that you produce but do not use. The Smart Export Guarantee scheme enables domestic solar producers to sell excess electricity produced to the National Grid in return for tax-free payments.
If you are intending to get the best return from your solar PV system by exporting energy, then high efficiency solar panels and batteries would be the recommended option.
Choosing to invest in a solar battery as part of your solar setup is often driven by a desire to save even more on bills. A household that generates some of its electricity requirements from solar could save several hundred pounds each year, and this increases further with the addition of a solar battery.
A solar battery maximises your return from a solar investment and ensures that you are able to generate and store free electricity by day and then use it in the evenings.
Solar power is a renewable source of energy and its generation and use is a positive for the environment. Integrating a solar battery into your solar PV system helps reduce your carbon footprint further.
For those who are keen to play their part in reducing the impact their household has on the planet, a solar battery as part of your solar setup is a no-brainer. The best solar panel battery from an environmental perspective will be the one that is most efficient and maximises the power able to be stored.
Some solar battery manufacturers are well established having been in the industry for years. This makes them trusted brands as their products are well tested and proven, though these can often be more expensive.
If you are limited in budget then these well established brands could be out of your price range. In these circumstances, a newer brand on the market might well prove the more cost-effective option.
Solar battery options
With a range of top brands, the choice of solar batteries can be confusing. Here we select a few of the best solar battery options, some of which we have installed for our customers, that may be suitable for you.
The majority of new solar batteries will be compatible with modern solar panels, but we will be able to recommend solar panel plus battery packages that best work in harmony together and are ideal for your situation when you contact us.
ESE’s Top Pick: Hanchu ESS
Those who are unfamiliar with solar batteries might never have heard of Hanchu ESS, but for those well-versed in the solar space, their name is synonymous with impressive solar battery storage, and that’s just one of the reasons we rate their batteries as being the best overall.
Another is their innovative use of blade technology with their lithium iron phosphate (LFP) 9.4kWh LVES Home L Series offering, which is tipped as being one of the safest, highest performing solar batteries on the market today.
The comprehensive Smart IOT platform is utilised with both the 3.2kWh and 9.4kWh Home L Series batteries and provides the user with constant access to smart management for optimising the system to their liking. The technology on offer with Hanchu ESS is unrivalled, and that’s what makes it our top pick for solar installations.
Hanchu ESS LVES Home L Series Features
- Blade LFP battery with 9.4kWh option is the first of its kind in the solar battery storage industry
- Between 95% (9.4kWh model) and 100% (3.2kWh model) DoD
- 24/7 real time monitoring with smart IOT platform using AI technology
- 9.4kWh model can be fitted outdoors (3.2kWh can only be fitted indoors)
The below information is based on the Hanchu ESS LVES Home L Series and the two batteries available in that range: 3.2kWh model, 9.4kWh model.
|Cell Type||LFP||Blade LFP|
|Dimensions||484*165*302 mm||430*150*800 mm|
|Operating Voltage Range||43.2-57.6V||43.2-57.6V|
|Warranty||5+5 years||5+5 years|
Just because we’d recommend Hanchu ESS LVES Home L Series for most homes because we truly believe it is the best overall solar battery storage solution on offer in the UK, doesn’t mean there aren’t other solar batteries out there that do one or two things incredibly well…
Best For Price: Alpha Smile-B3-Plus
Alpha is a big name in the solar battery space too, but they focus specifically on offering affordable options to your everyday UK home. They don’t create batteries for large 5 bed properties with multiple electric cars on the driveway that also need charging. Instead they create batteries for your average household who just wants to use their battery to power their homes in the evening to help them rely on the National Grid less.
The Alpha Smile-B3-Plus is the perfect example of what the brand is all about – affordable, effective, and with a great usable capacity of 4.79kWh – this is an impressive offering that’s worth considering if you’re on a budget.
Alpha Smile-B3-Plus Features
- Typical prices start at around £3,000
- Usable capacity of 4.79kWh
- Able to be expanded with up to 6 total batteries for a close to 30kWh usable capacity system
|Battery Voltage Range||40-58V|
Best For Small Spaces: Huawei Luna 2000-10
There won’t be many of you who have never heard of Huawei, but you might be surprised to hear them in this context. But away from their mobile phones and other gadgets, Huawei are expert solar battery manufacturers too. One area they especially excel in is in creating solar batteries that can fit into convenient areas for homeowners.
With a depth of 150 mm, the Huawei Luna 2000-10 can easily be housed indoors, under the stairs for example, and can then be easily accessed for installation and maintenance. However, Huawei batteries only work with Huawei inverters, so it may not be appropriate for everybody.
Huawei Luna 2000-10 Features
- 100% DoD
- 5kWh usable capacity
- Installation: floor stand or wall mount as required
- Can be installed outside so long as you live more than 1 km away from the sea
|Huawei Luna 2000-10|
|Operating Voltage Range||350-560V|
|Nominal Voltage Range||450V|
Best For Usable Capacity: Tesla Powerwall 2
Tesla is known for its innovative technology across the green electricity space, so it’s no surprise that they’ve made one of the most powerful solar batteries out there. If you have a big home, or just higher than average energy usage, then the Tesla Powerwall 2 could be a great option for you.
With a usable capacity of 13.5kWh, this solar battery is capable of keeping your whole home running through the night without problem. During dark winters when daylight hours are few and far between, this battery will keep you powered up. And with a round-trip efficiency of 90%, the powerwall is incredibly effective too.
Tesla Powerwall 2 Features
- 90% round-trip efficiency
- 13.5kWh usable capacity
- 10 year warranty
- Innovative Tesla tech
|Tesla Powerwall 2|
|Warranty||10 years (as standard, unlimited with paid cover)|
Best For Warranty: Moixa Smart Battery
The Moixa Smart Battery is an interesting concept as far as smart batteries go, because they’re actually part of an interesting initiative called Gridshare. Essentially Gridshare allows you to sell excess energy in your Moixa Smart Battery back to the National Grid, similar to the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).
Although with Gridshare you only get 50% of the price of your electricity sold, you will be placed on an unlimited warranty for your solar battery, which is an incredibly attractive option, considering you would only have a 10 year warranty otherwise. With a usable capacity of 4.08kWh it’ll be suitable to plenty of homes, too.
Moixa Smart Battery Features
- 4.08kWh usable capacity
- Max power output: 850W
- 10 year warranty (or unlimited with Gridshare)
- 85% DoD
|Moixa Smart Battery|
|Max Power Output||850W|
|Warranty||10 years (as standard, lifetime warranty with Gridshare)|
Best Solar Battery Storage UK Summary:
|Best Overall (ESE’s Top Pick):||Hanchu ESS LVES Home L Series (3.2kWh/9.4kWh)|
|Best For Price:||Alpha Smile-B3-Plus|
|Best For Small Spaces:||Huawei Luna 2000-10|
|Best For Usable Capacity:||Tesla Powerwall 2|
|Best For Warranty:||Moixa Smart Battery|
As you can see, at ESE we have a clear opinion about which solar battery is the best in the UK. For us, the innovative blade technology used in the 9.4kWh model of the Hanchu ESS LVES Home L Series battery is something truly exciting. Hanchu ESS are not only making themselves stand apart from their competitors, but offering real families a real solution for their solar battery storage, and are pushing forward new technology never before seen in solar batteries.
Of course, for some households other batteries might be better, especially if they care deeply about one issue, such as warranty length or getting the perfect solar battery for smaller spaces. The above table ought to help you there.
Really, the best solar battery storage is still about finding the perfect solar battery for you and your circumstances. Work with ESE Group, and we’ll guide you towards the perfect solar battery for your system!