Batteries have been around for a long time; but before we look at the 4 best batteries to install with solar, let’s take a quick look at how everything got started.
The oldest on record being the Baghdad Battery, found in 1938, but analysis dated it back to 250BC. Before that Benjamin Franklin was experimenting with linked capacitors and it was actually Franklin, who coined the term “battery”, in 1749. However, it was Alessandro Volta who is credited with inventing the first Battery in 1800. The chemistry was copper-zinc, and Volta, simply cut disks out of the rare metals, he then stacked the disks together, carefully separating each disk with pieces of cardboard soaked in salt water. The Voltaic Pile
Its hard to imagine these days, but besides having a little fun with kites, not even Franklin found anything that could be monetized. For thousands of years we see different chemistries competing for our acceptance, but they never made it into the mainstream for cars or houses.
We almost saw the arrival and adoption of the electric vehicle just over a hundred years ago. Celebrated inventor Thomas Edison loved his batteries and built a battery-powered electric vehicle in 1895 for fun. However, Edison wasn’t really interested in fun; he wanted to find business opportunities, and that’s exactly what he saw in the electric vehicle. His enthusiasm was contagious, and he was soon working with Henry Ford. Ford himself invested 1.5 M dollars into the project in 1896. Ford agreed to purchase the 100,000 batteries necessary to kick start the venture. Unfortunately, the two could not agree on the chemistry to scale the EV project, and the partnership fizzled. Ford had to walk away from the investment equivalent to 31 M in today’s dollars. Elon Musk used 70 M to start Tesla to put that into perspective. However, Ford motor company has come full circle announcing in June this year that they are now investing 2 B back into the EV market. Its been along time coming but technologies relentless drive to improve absolutely everything has finally given battery storage the push it needed. These particular batteries are great candidates to back up your current solar, or add on to brand new solar panels.
Let’s look at some pros and cons and see what makes these the 4 best batteries to install with solar.
Tesla Powerwall+ is a fully-integrated AC-coupled battery system for residential use. Each Powerwall+ costs approximately $12,000, and the average US home will need 2. The Powerwall+ has a storage capacity of 13.5 kWh, a continuous power output of up to 9.6 kW, and three operating modes: Solar Self-Consumption, Backup Only, and Time-Based Control Mode. The battery chemistry, nickel manganese cobalt, is new, but it’s the same chemistry used in Tesla vehicles. The powerwall+ is an integrated battery system controlled through the app. It’s intuitive, so when the system detects power outages, it automatically recharges; however you need to make sure you’re balancing the battery’s power capacity of the panels. If your solar panels can output more power than your battery can take in, the batteries will automatically shut off the system. Again, not a huge deal, but in a complete blackout situation, you don’t want any inefficiencies. The Tesla Powerwall is easily one of the 4 best batteries to install with solar on the marketplace.
The Enphase IQ 10T is an AC-coupled battery with three base IQ Battery 3T storage units all hung together in a housing. It’s the microinverters that really make these things awesome though, virtually eliminating battery sizing restrictions. These are plug-and-play, and adding another IQ Battery 3T down the road will be easy. It has a total usable energy capacity of 10.08 kWh. The Enphase IQ 10T is a very solid battery backup solution and it will meet the needs of both new and retrofit solar customers.
The RE-Volt Lithium Iron Battery is competitive, at just under $8k for the 10 kWh. Throw in another thousand dollars, and you get the 20-year warranty. However, It is rated for a jaw-dropping 11,000 full depth cycles, which equates to over 3 decades of life with daily use. Its the incredibly long lifetime that makes the RE-Volt one of the 4 best batteries to back up solar. A guarantee like that requires extreme confidence that this family owned battery shop will make higher quality, more reliable, better batteries than everyone else. They put a lot of extra pressure on themselves with these numbers, and I think thats great. Considering, Iron Edison is a small by comparison, family owned, retail store in downtown Denver, its inspiring to see them go head to head with the big boys.
All jokes aside, don’t let the smiles and positive attitudes fool you, this little battery shop is putting quality first.
In addition, the Re-Volt series uses Lithium Iron Phosphate chemistry, not the lithium cobalt oxide chemistry found in most consumer electronics or the nickel manganese cobalt found in Powerwall+, known for safety concerns.
Iron Edison’s Nickel Iron battery was inspired by Thomas Edison’s original battery design that he called “nearly perfect”, over a hundred years ago. The Re-volt storage system uses an integrated battery management system that prevents damage from overcharging or over-discharging.
Up to fifteen RE-Volt can be combined to produce a 150 kWh capacity for extremely large loads.
The SolarEdge Energy Bank is an excellent DC-coupled option at 10kWh this lithium-ion backup battery solution packs a ton of value at the $12,000 price point. In addition, they will throw in the 20-25 year warranty for about another $1000. The SolarEdge Energy Bank stores power at 9600 watts with a 100% depth of discharge of usable storage. The SolarEdge Energy Hub with HD wave technology is smaller, lighter, and more efficient than previous versions of SolarEdge inverters.
The LG Chem is a DC-coupled 9.3 kWh capacity, with 5 kW continuous and 7kW peak Output. This high-efficiency lithium-ion battery comes with a respectable 10 Years warranty with 60% capacity retention. With seemingly endless configurations, this is your go-to Battery for almost any solar design.LG Chem has a solid reputation in the industry, and there is no doubt that if you need service ten years from now, they will be on it. They are, ideally, paired with the SolarEdge Energy Hub.