How Much Does a Solar Battery Storage System Cost (And Is It Worth It?)
Are Solar Batteries Cost-Effective?
Some of the major contributors to solar battery costs are the chemical materials that make up the battery, the life cycle of the battery, the storage capacity, and the usable capacity. These factors can cause the storage system costs in the UK to typically range between £1,200 and £6,000.
Also, considering that a solar battery’s lifespan lasts 5 to 15 years, the battery may have to be replaced more than once over the lifespan of your solar panels (typically 20-30 years). This can increase the total cost of installing a complete solar panel system.
However, if you are not home during peak sunshine hours, having a home battery storage system is certainly worthwhile. Your solar batteries will be able to store electricity for use when you are home after dark.
Suffice it to say, solar battery storage system costs are not inexpensive, but the investment can make up for the cost if implemented effectively. With batteries, you can become 100% energy-independent and self-reliant.
If you would like to enjoy the convenience provided by solar battery storage systems, fill in the form above to get up to four tailor-made quotes from our trusted solar battery suppliers and installers. This service is offered free of charge and without any obligations.
Why Do You Need a Solar Battery Storage System?
Pairing solar batteries with solar arrays is a relatively new practice, but an effective one. You can benefit from solar battery storage in 4 key ways:
- Store energy for later use
- Significantly lower your energy costs
- Earn money by selling stored energy to the grid
- Become independent from the grid
Firstly, a solar battery stores the energy generated during sunlight hours and makes it readily available for use during non-production hours, such as at night or on cloudy days. By making use of photovoltaics you can essentially run your home on 100% renewable solar energy around the clock, as long as electricity demand does not exceed the supply that the battery can provide.
In addition, solar battery backup power can lower your energy costs significantly. By charging the solar battery during off-peak hours and discharging it during peak hours, you can avoid paying a lot for electricity from your utility company. The savings from this can serve towards reducing your battery system costs.
What’s more, you can sometimes earn money by selling the energy stored in your solar battery back to the electrical grid when electricity prices are at their highest—if your energy provider accepts the exporting of stored energy.
Finally, by adding a solar panel battery to your solar system, you can choose to be independent from the national grid at any time, thereby ensuring energy security for your household. Naturally, the how many solar panels you need to install for this will vary depending on your energy demands and budget.
When Is It Ideal to Install One?
A solar battery storage system is best used in combination with a solar PV array. Lucky, if you already have an existing array, it is a relatively simple task to add a solar battery into the mix. And if you have neither, the two systems can be bought in tandem to make your home run entirely on renewable energy.
The two technologies complement each other to bring down your storage system costs by making your solar panel array vastly more efficient. If you have been considering going green, there is no better time to start taking advantage of the money you can save on your monthly electricity bill.
Solar battery storage systems offer a variety of types of batteries for you to choose from, along with many advantages, like more eco-friendly efficiency, longer lifespan, and easier installation.
If you don’t have a solar panel system, you can purchase a battery by itself and charge it with energy from the grid. This would not be a solar battery solution but it can be another way to reduce your costs if you charge your battery during low peak times.
How Much Do Solar Batteries Cost?
Currently, the costs typically range between £1,200 and £6,000 depending on the capacity, chemical composite of the battery, and its life cycle.
Solar battery costs are in a similar situation to when the technology for photovoltaic systems was new. As the adoption of solar battery storage systems becomes more widespread, their price will naturally follow the same declining trend as solar panel costs.
Lithium-ion solar batteries are the most mainstream and cost-effective batteries of all kinds. The table below provides a rundown of lithium-ion costs based on usable capacity.
|Usable Capacity (kWh)||Estimated Price (Lithium-Ion Batteries)|
|3 – 4 kWh||From £3,410|
|4 – 7 kWh||From £4,288|
|7 – 9 kWh||From £5,185|
|9 – 13.5 kWh||From £5,920|
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Lithium-ion and lead-acid are two chemical materials that you can most commonly find in batteries used for solar panel systems. Despite the higher estimated price, lithium-ion batteries still enjoy a bigger market share thanks to their longer lifespan and higher usable capacity.
The following table explains in detail why lead-acid batteries are comparatively cheaper in the short term, but lithium-ion is a better fit if you take future replacement fees into consideration.
|Characteristics||Lead-Acid Battery||Lithium-Ion Battery|
|Storage Capacity (kWh)||4 kWh||4 kWh|
|Depth of Discharge (DoD)||50%||90%|
|Cost / kWh / Cycle*||£0.556||£0.278|
* Cost / kWh / cycle = preliminary cost / (storage capacity × DOD × life cycle)
Different materials have different impacts on the discharge rate and the lifespan of the product. For example, lithium-ion batteries can discharge 70%-90% of the total amount of storage while lead-acid can only discharge around 50%. And lithium-ion batteries have at least double the lifespan of lead-acid batteries. Higher discharge rate and longer lifespan will typically results in higher prices.
Storage capacity refers to the total amount of energy your solar battery can store, and usable capacity means the amount one can use, which is usually calculated by depth of discharge (DoD).
The amount of storage capacity and usable capacity, measured in kilowatt hours (kWh), directly influences how much your solar battery storage system will cost. Larger capacity means it can store more energy and support a larger area, thus, it will result in a higher price.
The life cycle is an important indicator of a solar battery storage system’s lifespan. The more cycles a solar battery can provide, the longer time it can perform normally. Considering the lifespan of solar panels is around 25 years, replacing a new solar battery may add up to the future costs.
Installation cost of solar battery storage systems varies slightly based on the size and may be covered by some brands. Generally speaking, it is more economical to set up your solar battery system while installing solar panels.
Are There Grants Available for Solar Batteries?
Even though the solar battery storage system cost may not be moderate, you can still find some ways to save money. There are currently solar panel funding opportunities in the UK.
Through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) you can earn money for exporting stored electricity back to the grid. Export tariffs vary with each energy supplier, but a good tariff is between 4-6p/kWh.
Be sure to check with your energy supplier if they allow stored energy to be exported.
Prior to the SEG, the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) was in effect. The FIT rewarded homeowners for using renewable energy such as solar, as well as for exporting electricity to the grid. The FIT ended in 2019, and no new applications are processed. Those that are currently registered under the FIT will continue to receive payments until the end of their agreements.
Another way to reduce the cost of the investment is to make use of the VAT reduction. Homeowners from England, Wales and Scotland looking to benefit from paying 0% VAT on energy savings materials (including solar batteries when installed alongside a solar panel system) can now do so until 2027.
As announced by the Government, on 1 April 2027 the zero rate will revert to the 5% reduced rate of VAT on energy saving materials.
If you live in Scotland, you can make use of the Home Energy Scotland Loan. This is an interest-free loan designed to help finance various energy-efficient improvements and renewable systems, including solar panels and solar batteries.
You can get a loan of up to £6,000 for a solar PV system, and £5,000 for a solar battery storage system. The repayment period is between 5-10 years, depending on the installation.
For specific eligibility criteria, you can visit the Home Energy Scotland website.
What Types of Solar Batteries Are There?
- RV/ Marine Solar batteries – Marine solar batteries are suitable for smaller systems and are used for boats and by people who own RV’s. In addition, these types of solar batteries work best when no other form of electricity can be produced, due to their lower capacity for continuous service.
- Flooded type – Flooded type batteries are lead-acid batteries that have caps for adding water. These types of batteries are not very expensive to buy and have a good life span compared to Marine solar batteries. It is recommended that flooded type batteries be used outdoors, as they emit gas when charged. If however, these are installed inside, then it is strongly recommended that a venting system should be used to vent out gases, which can be explosive and toxic.
- Gel – As opposed to the flooded type, sealed gel batteries have no vents and do not release gases. Because of this, venting is not important and these batteries can be used indoors without any risks The advantage of this is that the battery will have a more constant temperature indoors, leading to an increase in maintenance, and therefore performing better than the flooded type.
- Absorbed Glass Mat batteries (AGM) – A glass mat is used between the plates to hold the electrolyte. These types of batteries are leakproof which means that they do not release gas when charging. In addition to this, Glass Mat batteries also have superior performance, making them the best types of batteries. They have all the advantages of the sealed gel types but are of higher quality. Other advantages include the fact that they maintain voltage better, they self-discharge slower and finally they last longer. Of course, their superiority does mean that they are the most expensive out of the four types.
What Are the Pros & Cons of Solar Batteries?
As with any investment, there are both advantages and disadvantages to be aware of. Although there are many great benefits to investing in solar batteries, there are drawbacks that you need to know before you make the decision to buy a solar battery.
Below is a brief overview of the major pros and cons of solar batteries:
- Reduce your utility bills by storing surplus electricity, rather than exporting it
- Use electricity when and as you need it
- Earn a small amount by exporting stored energy to the grid
- High up-front costs
- You will need to replace the battery after 5-15 years
- Not all energy suppliers allow you to export stored energy
What Is the Lifespan of a Solar Battery?
The average lifespan of a solar battery storage system is around 5 to 7.5 years for lead-acid and 11-15 years for lithium-ion batteries. However, all batteries are vulnerable if they are over-discharged or exposed to extreme weather.
Depth of Discharge (DoD)
Depth of Discharge (DoD) means how much you can use the battery before recharging it. Just as it may be harmful for your phone’s battery to have only 2% remaining, the same goes for a solar battery storage system.
If you use up 100% of its charge or exceed its DoD limit before recharging it, the lifespan will be shortened significantly. For example, if you buy a solar battery storage system that has a capacity of 5 kW energy storage and 80% DoD, remember to charge it before using up the entire 4 kW in order to extend the life of the battery.
Compared with lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries can handle a larger range of temperature changes and feature a higher tolerance level if discharged improperly. These advantages lead to lithium-ion batteries gaining a larger market share.
What Is the Best Solar Battery?
A decent solar battery storage system can make your life better and save you from further unnecessary costs. In the table below you can find a list of popular solar panel battery brands.
|Brand||Usable Capacity (kWh)||Cost||Battery Material||Warranty||Life Cycles||Depth of Discharge (DoD)|
|Tesla Powerwall||13.5 kWh||From £5,500||Lithium-ion||10 years||Unlimited*||100%|
|SolaX 3.3||3.5 kWh||From £4,010||Lithium-ion||10 years||6,000||95%|
|LG Chem RESU 6.5||6.5 kWh||From £3,043||Lithium-ion||10 years||6,000||90%|
|Powervault 3||4 kWh||From £4,470||Lithium-polymer||10 years||>6,000||100%|
|8 kWh||From £7,020||Lithium-polymer||10 years||>6,000||100%|
* Within the warranty period
Installing a solar battery storage system can make your life more convenient all year round without worrying about the weather. As it becomes more common in private use, it is important to make a wise investment and choose the most cost-effective product.
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