What are the Benefits of Batteries?
Imagine collecting your energy from the sun and using it later when you really need it? A battery system will give you the following benefits:
Helping to reduce reliance on the grid – you can use your battery power when the sun is not shining
Maximising the energy from your solar panels by storing it in your battery instead of returning it to the grid
Offsetting increased power costs used during peak times by using your battery power
Saving money by storing energy from the grid overnight when power prices are low
Using your battery power when there are power outages
What Kinds of Batteries does Solar Spot Use?
Solar Spot only use the best quality Lithium-Ion batteries as they have a higher depth of discharge of 80%. This means that if you have a 10 kWh battery, you will only obtain 8 kWh of power. Alternatively, lead-acid batteries have a depth of discharge of only 30% to 50%. We will ensure that we only sell you Lithium-Ion batteries. We will quote a Lithium-Ion battery size that will suit your individual or business needs.
Lithium-Ion batteries have been popular for many years and have been used in laptops and mobile phones. These batteries are falling in price due to increased production and can now be made in larger sizes to suit solar power storage.
What is the Difference Between Lithium-Ion and Lead Acid Batteries?
Compared with lead batteries, Lithium-Ion batteries have the following benefits:
- Are higher in capacity and storage
- Lighter in weight and have a higher voltage
- Require a smaller space and environmental footprint
- Have reduced maintenance due to inbuilt battery management systems
- Have a longer cycle life and greater depth of discharge
Lithium-Ion batteries have the following disadvantages when compared to lead batteries:
- Possible limitation in operating temperate range
- Recycling programs in Australia are expanding
- It is a lesser known technology
What are the Warranties for Batteries?
Solar Spot will only supply quality Lithium-Ion batteries that have been supported by manufacturers. Generally, Lithium-Ion batteries will come with a 2 to 10 year warranty, depending on the Battery Supplier. Warranties can be given as an Energy Throughput Figure or a life expectancy, based on the limit that is reached first. Energy Throughput is calculated as the number of cycles per year if there is one cycle per day. For example, a 5,000 cycle system working at an 80% discharge rate is expected to last potentially 11 years or 10 years (under warranty), whichever comes first.
This means that if there is a fault with the battery or connection of the battery you will be protected by the warranty and the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission).
What is the CEC Approved Solar Retailer Program?
In addition, Solar Spot is a CEC Approved Solar Retailer and we must install a battery according the CEC guidelines. If the battery is not installed properly, we must come on site to ensure it is installed correctly.
If a customer has a complaint about a Solar Retailer, it should be directed firstly to the Solar Retailer. If the result is not satisfactory, a formal complaint can be lodged with the CEC. The CEC can investigate breaches of Approved Solar Retailer program. The Retailer may have their approval in the program revoked. This will ensure that you get a battery system that will work according to its specifications.
What if my Solar Retailer Becomes Insolvent?
Should the Approved Solar Retailer become insolvent, the customer can lodge a claim with the Company’s Administrators. The customer will then become an unsecured creditor.
When the battery has been installed for a business, the business can make a commercial complaint through Consumer and Business Services, phone 13 18 82 (in South Australia).
What if my Battery Installation is Not Safe?
If you have safety concerns about your battery installation, you can contact the Office of the Technical Regulator on 08 8226 5518 (in South Australia).
How Much Power do I Need from the System?
Your previous power bill will indicate how much power you are using. However, a general rule for a typical house may use around 18 kWh of energy a day (energy stored by a battery system). Maximum power consumption during a point in time can be 4.5kW to 15kW. A battery may not meet all your power needs at a point in time, but your system will be connected to the grid and will draw electricity from there.
Most battery systems have a power rating of 2-5 kW (power consumption) and an energy rating of 2-10 kWh (battery energy storage).
Your typical appliances may consume this much electricity:
- Air Conditioner – 2-5 + kW
- Water Heater – 3kW
- Clothes Dryer – 2.4kW
- Electric Kettle – 2.4 kW
- Hair Dryer – 1-2 kW
- Dishwasher – 1.5 kW
- Washing machine – 1.5 kW
- Microwave oven – 1.5 kW
- Plasma TV – 0.8 kW
- LED/LCD TV – 0.2 kW
However, if you have a Power Black Out and are using a battery energy storage system, you may not have enough battery energy storage to run all your household appliances. You will only want to use those appliances that are important.
Battery Storage Checklist
When purchasing a battery for storage of your solar power, ensure you understand:
- What the battery will be used for and the amount of energy available for that use - for example how much power will the air-conditioner and fridge use? 8 kW?
- Ensure you monitor the battery system once per month and understand what you are reading
- Know what you need to check when taking meter readings
- Your battery may not perform well during sudden changes in temperate (either hot or cold) and you may need to monitor your battery power during this time
- Ensure your batteries are not accessible to children and have been vermin proofed - Do not store items on top of your batteries or against them due to a potential electrical fire
- Ensure the correct safety and warning signs have been installed for the battery type - Ensure you know the emergency procedures
- Keep your manufacturer, installer and warranty information to refer to.