Thought about getting batteries for your solar panel system? Maybe you’ve heard all the hype about the Tesla Powerwall and think there is a cheap, easy way to use your solar power at night? Well this is partly true and there are some very exciting technologies on the horizon as far as solar batteries go. This article will look at some of the biggest-name solar batteries available today and compare them to see how your options stack up.
- SMA solar battery systems
- LG Chem solar battery systems (RESU 6.4 Ex)
- Tesla Powerwall (and Fronius?)
- Enphase AC solar battery systems
- Aquion saltwater solar batteries
Quick Summary of each system
SMA is a leading German inverter manufacturer. They’ve been in the game forever. But they have been quite slow to get on-board the battery train – my assumption is that they are sticking with inverters (which is not a bad thing) but we’d love to see what SMA could do to compete with Lithium battery technologies.
Currency as of December, 2015
Current SMA solar battery systems:
- Sunny Island with traditional battery bank (expensive & clunky)
- SMA Smart Energy (low capacity hybrid (2kWh) – not expandable?) – Download SMA Smart Energy Datasheet
LGChem have been around for quite a while – making Lithium batteries since the 90’s and having mass production in Germany since 2012. These are a quality product by a quality company and easily compete with the top players.
Current LGChem solar battery systems:
- RESU 6.4 EX (Lithium stackable battery management system) – Download information brochure on LGChem
Tesla Powerwall don’t have much past experience in batteries for home solar systems, but they are vastly famous for their EVs and the technology is not really different. The Tesla Giga Factory is causing a global stir with expectations that it will halve the current price of Lithium battery storage technology.
Current Tesla Powerwall solar battery systems:
Enphase are entering the solar battery storage market with their “Enphase AC Battery” system. Enphase have dominated the micro-inverter market globally and have produced a product which is modular, has a storage capacity of just 1.2kWh and a claimed estimated lifetime of 10 years.
Current Enphase solar battery systems:
- Enphase AC Battery System – Download information sheet for Enphase AC solar batteries
Aquion Energy have a salt-water based battery technology which is currently sold as a complementary solar product. With a 100% DoD (Depth of Discharge) and a 4 year warranty, it seems like a good alternative to Lithium based systems.
Current Aquion Energy solar battery systems:
- S20-P08F Battery Stack – Download information sheet for Aquion batteries here
Solar Batteries Comparison Table
Here’s a table to compare the above battery systems. Solar Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney – all have relatively similar results with battery storage. Although SA are lucky enough to have a rebate!
|Tesla Powerwall||Enphase AC Battery||SMA Smart Energy||Aquion||LGChem|
|Capacity||7kWh - 10kWh||1.2kWh||2kWh||N/A||6.4kWh|
|Cost?||Approx. $6,000 AUD||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Approx. $7,000|
|Lifetime (claimed)||10 Years +||10 Years||5 Years +||4 Years + (3,000 Cycles)||10 Years +|
|Warranty?||10 Years||Unknown||5 - 7 Years||4 Years||Years|
|Type||Lithium ion with Liquid Thermal Control||Lithium Iron Phosphate||Lithium ion||Aqueous Hybrid Ion|
|Appearance||Slick as the wind||Average||Average||Beastly|
|Handles Export Limiting?||Unknown||Not yet...||No||No||No|
|Compatibility||Requires a Fronius inverter?||Awesome - works with all AC systems||Fully Integrated||Requires BMS||Compatible With Major Brands|