How to choose a solar battery
Once you’ve decided, yes we want to have solar but we’re not at home in the middle of the day so we also have some batteries to save up that solar energy – how do you go about choosing a battery system? In this slide I’ve got a few key questions that you should ask if you’re thinking about buying batteries.
Where do you put it?
One of those questions is well where do you put it? Battery systems range from maybe the size of a small briefcase to the size of a refrigerator. A lot of battery systems can only be installed indoors. There’s a few that can be installed outdoors, but you should ask the vendor – well if its installed outdoors will continue to operate on a hot day? That’s really key because if your battery can’t operate when it’s hot then it can’t operate when you have your air conditioning running and you’re using a huge amount of electricity in your house. So a key question is – where can I put the battery if I don’t have room indoors? Then you need to find a battery system that’s suitable for outdoor operations so that it can actually continue to operate when it’s hot.
Warranty and service
Another key question is – what sort of warranty and ongoing service you’re going to get from your supplier? Research work that I’ve done shows that quite often solar systems are offline and have may have tripped out and nobody ever notices. If you buy a system from a vendor who basically walks away after the installation, that’s not ideal because there’s no one really looking to see if there’s a fault or a minor grid issue that could mean your system systems offline. These issues are usually very simple to rectify but unless someone’s monitoring the system every day they’re often missed.
It it upgradeable?
Another key question is – is the system upgradeable? Battery systems today make sense at a certain price point and a certain size but as the technology changes it’s quite likely you might decide to put some more batteries on your house down the road. If the system you buy isn’t easy to add more batteries to then you kind of lock yourself into a technology and it would be very expensive to add more batteries as your house changes or the technology changes.
How are the batteries managed?
And the last question to ask is – how these batteries managed? So not only is someone watching them to see are they working but how are they operating them? Batteries are an expensive device and to get the most cost savings out of your battery they really need careful management – careful decisions on when they charge the battery out when do you use the electricity from the battery how to operate the batteries it’s hot it’s cold outside and so on. And we’ve certainly found in our research that to get the most out of batteries they need to be very careful active ongoing management every day of the week.