When it comes to setting up a new solar panel installation, your customers are likely going to be focused on the panels first and foremost. That’s natural because the panels themselves perhaps do the best job of selling the idea of solar energy. But supporting that system are other products and devices like inverters, monitors, and of course, batteries.
Solar batteries are ideal for storing the energy your solar panel arrays produce throughout the day. As day turns to night, or you experience a few gray days, your home can rely on the power stored within the batteries to keep everything up and running without issue.
As a solar sales consultant with Palmetto, you’ll likely get questions about solar battery options from your customers. To ensure that you can give them accurate answers quickly, we’ve assembled this quick guide that outlines the different kinds of solar batteries that are available.
How Many Kinds of Solar Batteries Are There?
While it would be great if there was a “one size fits all” type battery that you could easily point your clients to, the reality is that there are several options when it comes to solar batteries. Which one your client picks will largely depend on their needs, their estimated energy usage, and of course, their budget. Fortunately, there is a solar battery for every need and every home.
There Are Four Primary Types of Solar Batteries
When discussing solar batteries, you’ll find that there are four types that stand out from the others. Typically, these four batteries are regarded as the most practical, most advanced, or even the most efficient. There are a variety of different solar battery manufacturers, some even offering more than one kind of battery.
Lead-Acid Solar Batteries
Considered by many to be the “original” solar battery, lead-acid batteries have been a part of the solar technology industry since the very first solar arrays went up. Its lasting legacy and widespread use have ensured that the lead-acid solar battery is one of the most capable and reliable batteries on the market. Many homeowners choose these batteries because of their low cost, ease of installation, and simple maintenance needs. These factors are the reasons that many with larger solar panel installations, or high energy usage needs, choose to build lead-acid battery banks to store large amounts of solar energy for the long-term.
That’s not to say that this option is not without its issues. Lead-acid batteries do not last as long as other, more recently developed options. This means that they can be expensive to use in the long-term if your client is regularly replacing them.
Saltwater Solar Batteries
A more recent development than the lead-acid battery, saltwater batteries are a great choice for homeowners for a variety of reasons. Unlike other solar battery options, saltwater batteries do not use any heavy metals in their construction. That makes it easy to responsibly recycle the battery when it fails to hold a charge. Also, saltwater batteries are a cheaper option than other batteries. This makes them ideal for those who are both eco- and budget-conscious.
Despite these clear advantages, saltwater batteries aren’t the most proven of technologies. This is in large part due to their scarcity. The leading manufacturer of saltwater batteries declared bankruptcy in 2017 and halted production as a result. There are few other manufacturers filling the void at this time.
Lithium-Ion Solar Batteries
For those even casually aware of most modern battery technology, lithium-ion should be a recognizable name. These batteries can be found in a litany of consumer goods, from small smartphone batteries to even electric vehicle batteries. It makes sense then that you would have a lithium-ion option for your solar panel array.
When properly set up and used, lithium-ion batteries can offer nearly 20 years of reliable service. However, the effective lifespan of these batteries is affected by the depth of discharge of the battery. Typically, lithium-ion solar batteries offer approximately 8,000 charge and discharge cycles without issue. That’s if the battery is never drained past roughly 80 percent of its capacity. Should you draw more power than that regularly, you’ll find that the number of effective charges drops to around 6,000.
Flow Solar Batteries
Undoubtedly one of the more advanced battery options, flow batteries hold a lot of potential for residential solar panel owners but haven’t quite made their way to the market yet. Flow batteries are unique in their function. Within the battery is a liquid electrolyte that is moved across a membrane in the battery. This innovative design allows for the battery to be completely charged and drained without any effect on the long-term usefulness or lifespan of the battery.
But with new technology comes new problems. The small parts within the flow solar batteries are prone to failure. Similarly, impurities in the liquid electrolyte within the battery can also impact the batteries performance. Just like the saltwater solar battery, flow batteries are not widely available because the major manufacturer of them stopped producing residential models in 2017.
Help Others Go Solar Today
Palmetto solar technology is looking for a new group of solar sales consultants. Your job in solar sales helps to connect people with affordable and effective solar panel technology. As a part of the renewable energy revolution, you’ll help us expand our reach, ensuring that communities across the entire nation can enjoy this new technology. With great pay, flexible hours, and opportunities across the U.S., it’s easy to imagine yourself working with us!