Solar batteries are an investment, costing upwards of $10,000, including professional installation. However, they’re a valuable addition to your solar energy system to maximize efficiency. These add-ons store excess energy your system generates to use at night and during low sunlight hours. You can also tap into them to offset electricity costs when rates are high.
Our team has spent more than 700 hours researching the best solar companies and top solar batteries. This guide details solar battery costs, types, and installation fees, plus their long-term savings potential.
How Much Do Solar Batteries Cost?
A report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that a solar battery typically costs $18,791* to install, including the price of the battery itself and labor. Installation and permitting fees vary by location and installer, but the NREL estimates the battery itself typically costs $16,007.
*Based on a 2022 report.
Factors Affecting Cost
Many factors influence the total cost of a solar battery storage system. We’ve broken down the most important ones below.
- Accessibility: The installation location, its accessibility, and your existing electrical infrastructure all impact labor costs. The harder the site is to access and work on, the higher the installation costs.
- Brand: Different manufacturers offer solar batteries with varying quality, performance, and warranty terms. Well-established brands, such as Tesla, have a track record of reliability, so they come with higher up-front costs but greater peace of mind and long-term value.
- Capacity: A solar battery system’s storage capacity directly impacts its cost. Batteries with higher capacities cost more than batteries that store less energy.
- Inverters: Like solar panels, solar batteries require inverters to convert the stored direct current (DC) energy into alternating current (AC) energy for household or commercial use. Inverter costs vary depending on the battery system’s compatibility and the installation’s specific requirements.
- Maintenance: You’ll have to pay for ongoing maintenance for your chosen battery system. Understanding warranties, maintenance requirements, and potential replacement costs is crucial for understanding your long-term costs.
- System integration: Integrating a solar battery system with an existing solar panel system versus a new solar energy system affects the overall cost. Retrofitting existing systems to ensure compatibility between components costs more.
Types of Solar Batteries
There are four main types of solar batteries. Each type of battery has unique characteristics and advantages.
- Flow batteries: These are a newer technology that uses two electrolyte tanks to store energy. This technology provides a long life cycle, 20 years or more, and they store more significant amounts of energy than other batteries. However, they have the heftiest price tag.
- Lead-acid batteries: These are the oldest type of solar battery, and they are known for low prices and dependability. They come in two types: sealed lead-acid batteries and flooded lead-acid batteries. Though they only have a lifespan of three to five years, they are compatible with almost any solar energy system.
- Lithium-ion batteries: These are the most popular solar battery types. Originally used in electric vehicles, they have become the standard for residential solar energy storage. With a competitive price point, they are smaller, lighter, and longer-lasting than lead-acid batteries.
- Nickel-based batteries: Nickel-cadmium batteries are less widely used than lead-acid or lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are ideal for regions that experience extreme temperatures and feature a long life span of 20+ years.
Are Solar Batteries Worth It?
Solar batteries can be a significant investment; whether they are worth the cost depends on individual circumstances. However, most residential solar panel systems use solar batteries. Here are some factors to consider:
- Adding batteries to your system doesn’t make your panels more efficient, but it provides backup power during blackouts and helps you avoid peak demand charges from your utility provider.
- If you live in a state with full-retail net-metering, you may save little money with a solar battery because you can save the same amount of money with or without one. However, many homeowners use the excess energy in their battery backup to gain energy independence and generate extra credits to reduce their electricity bills.
- If you use more energy, you may need two solar batteries to power your home, which increases the cost.
- If you live in a state with solar incentives and rebates, you can reduce the total price of solar batteries.
- All solar energy storage systems qualify for the federal solar tax credit, which helps reduce the overall system costs on your owed federal taxes (up to 30%).
Pros and Cons of Solar Battery Installation
The table below explores some of the benefits and downsides of solar batteries.
Solar batteries are necessary for most residential solar panel systems, and you’ll need a professional solar installer to install the equipment. This is especially true if you want an off-grid solar energy system. Solar battery installation is as complicated as solar panel installation.
Use our tool below to get free quotes for solar battery installation from local installers.
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team aims to provide comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and data to back up our recommendations. Our rating system for solar batteries is on a 100-point scale based on five factors:
- Depth of discharge (20 points): Does the company disclose its depth of discharge (DoD) rating? Does the DoD meet the industry standard of 80%? The higher the rating, the higher the score.
- Round-trip efficiency (20 points): How efficient is the battery? Does it meet or exceed the industry standard of 80%? The higher the round-trip efficiency, the more points we awarded.
- Battery chemistry (15 points): We awarded more points to Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries than Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) batteries due to their higher efficiency and longer lifespan.
- Battery options (15 points): We awarded more points to brands with multiple battery sizes for better customization rather than only one size.
- End-of-warranty capacity (15 points): How powerful will the battery be at the end of its warranty? Does the projected end-of-warranty capacity meet the industry standard of 60%? We awarded more points to batteries with higher end-of-warranty capacities.
- Warranty length (15 points): How long is the battery’s warranty? Does it meet or exceed the standard 10-year warranty? Batteries with the longest, most comprehensive warranties ranked higher.
Total scores are divided by 20 for a final 5-point rating scale.
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