Are lithium ion solar batteries the best energy storage option?

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Iceland and Paraguay might seem entirely different on the surface, but they have one thing in common: they’re almost 100% reliant on renewable energy. 

So why do large nations like the US find it difficult to reach just 20% of energy gernaration from renewables? There are many answers to that question, but one you’ll often see is because renewables are an intermittent power source – meaning, they aren’t reliable enough to run a whole country. 

This is partially true. The two major forms of renewable energy – solar and wind power – are considered intermittent resources, as the sun isn’t always shining and the wind isn’t always blowing. However, new energy storage technologies, like lithium ion solar batteries are making it possible to power homes with solar energy 24/7. 

In this blog, we’ll explain lithium ion solar batteries, see how much they cost, review popular brands, and discuss their pros and cons. 

What is a lithium ion solar battery?

Lithium solar batteries are a rechargeable energy storage solution that can be paired with a solar energy system to store excess solar power. Lithium ion batteries are commonly used in rechargeable electronics like cellphones and in electric vehicles (EVs). 

In 2015, popular EV manufacturer Tesla announced their new lithium ion solar battery, Powerwall 1,  inspired by the technology used in their EVs. 

The launch of the Powerwall 1 ignited a torrent of discussion and research about energy storage and the development of cost-effective solar batteries. It also propelled Tesla to be one of the top battery manufacturers in the U.S. Powerwall paved the way for the future of lithium ion solar batteries – establishing pricing of battery energy storage, driving investment in the energy storage sector, and creating hope that battery technology could become affordable for average residential customers. 

Prior to the development of the Tesla Powerwall, most solar storage systems were composed of lead acid battery banks. However, there are now many lithium ion solar batteries on the market, so every homeowner can find the right option for them. 

But despite all the hype of this new technology, the industry and analysts alike have forgotten to ask one simple question. Are lithium ion solar batteries the best battery for solar panel systems?

How much do lithium ion solar batteries cost?

The biggest concern most homeowners have is how much an energy storage system will cost them. The total cost to install a lithium battery storage system could be anywhere from $7,000 to over $30,000. 

The price can vary, depending on:

  • What manufacturer you choose
  • The features the battery has
  • How many batteries you need
  • The installation costs

The cost of installing lithium ion batteries is much higher than the cost of installing lead-acid batteries. A lead acid battery installation could run you anywhere from $5,000 to a maximum of $15,000 – much lower than the installation cost of lithium ion solar batteries. 

So why do people continue to choose lithium ion batteries? The higher price tag comes with a lot of added benefits that you can’t get with lead acid batteries, which justifies the higher cost for some. 

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