How long do solar batteries last? Although many factors contribute to the lifespan of solar batteries, on average, you can expect one to last around five to 15 years.
If you’re a solar user planning to invest in batteries for your system, you need to be aware of all the things that affect their performance and longevity. This is because solar batteries are an expensive investment you should make the most of.
To get the best bang for your buck, follow all the best practices you can to make your solar batteries last for a lifetime.
But first, let’s understand:
What’s the Use of Solar Batteries?
Solar batteries work in tandem with your solar array to provide your household with backup power. Having backup power means you can use solar energy even when the sun is not shining. You can save big on your electricity bills and gain much-needed independence from your local utility grid.
Installing solar batteries will help you maximize the usage of your solar array and can empower you to live an off-the-grid lifestyle.
But for all of these things to happen, you need to know the difference between the useful life and warrantied life of these batteries.
Useful Life of Solar Batteries
Solar batteries, like any other gadget, degrade over time. What this means is that the efficiency with which they store power slowly declines as their internal components age.
As long as a solar battery is able to recharge 60% or higher, it still has useful life left in it.
While you can continue using solar batteries with less than 60% recharge capacity, they won’t be as efficient as they used to be.
Warrantied Life of Solar Batteries
Your solar battery’s manufacturer will tell you about its longevity at dependable working capacity. This is the warrantied life of the solar battery.
The best manufacturers guarantee more than ten years of battery life for their solar products. So, choosing the right company to buy from is critical to make good on your investment.
How long does a solar battery last in real life? It depends on the following factors:
Factors That Impact the Lifespan of Solar Batteries
Type of Batteries
Not all solar batteries are the same. The different types of solar batteries include:
The most affordable of the lot, these batteries are great for households who only use solar power occasionally. These batteries, even though affordable, do not last for more than five years. Some manufacturers may have longer-lasting models, but they are still not as efficient as others on this list.
Li-ion batteries are incredibly efficient, low maintenance, and powerful performers. They are more expensive than lead-acid batteries and last for over ten years.
Relatively new compared to the other two, flow batteries depend on chemical reactions to work. They deliver 100% depth of discharge (DoD) and are far and away the most efficient of the lot. Lightweight and often portable, these solar batteries are worth every penny you spend on them.
For example, the Growatt INFINITY 1300 only needs 2.5 hours of solar charging and can power standard home appliances for an extended period of time. It is also compatible with standard power grids and provides uninterrupted backup power when you need it the most.
Usage Cycle and Depth of Discharge (DoD)
The depth of discharge determines the best use of solar batteries. But what does DoD mean, and how does it affect a solar battery’s longevity?
DoD measures how much power you can use without compromising the battery. So a solar battery with 80% DoD means you can use ⅘ of its capacity.
If you make it a point to use 80% or less of its storage capacity, the solar battery will last longer. You will not end up compromising the battery’s most sensitive components, which will help it last for many years.
How long a solar battery lasts also depends on its maintenance. Checking it regularly for wear will lead to timely repairs. This will save you a lot of money and prolong the life of the battery.
Modern solar batteries are bundled with mobile apps where you can monitor their status.
Remember that you need to keep an eye on your solar battery over the years. You shouldn’t just forget about it once it has been installed.
Last but not least, the location impacts the lifespan of your solar battery. In fact, the same is true of your solar array.
Extreme weather conditions, like humidity, temperature, wind speed, hailstorm, snowfall, etc., can adversely affect your solar battery. You must install it where the solar battery will get protection against natural elements.
You can install solar batteries outdoors, but it’s best to keep them under an awning for protection.
Solar manufacturers have also come up with state-of-the-art batteries that can be wall-mounted and installed indoors. If you purchase one and install it correctly, rest assured it will last a long time.
It may not be feasible for everyone to have an indoor setup, especially if you have stacked solar batteries to cover the needs of your entire household. In such cases, talk to your local solar expert to determine the best placement for your battery.
Switching to solar is a lifetime commitment that needs your constant attention. The better you maintain your solar setup, the longer the components will last.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are deep cycle batteries?
Deep cycle solar batteries are designed to provide continuous power supply to any appliance they are connected to. They are very reliable backup solutions that can easily be connected to a solar setup and the local utility grid. And a robust energy storage component will take a standard solar system to the next level.
But because these batteries are consistent performers that run 24 hours a day for years, they also need a fair bit of maintenance. When using deep cycle batteries, it is best not to discharge them to more than 80% of their capacity. This is the best way to continue using them for the entirety of their longevity.
2. Do solar batteries last longer than solar panels?
No, solar batteries don’t last longer than solar panels. On average, a high-quality solar battery that is well-maintained lasts around 15 years. In contrast, even the cheapest solar panels can last for over twenty years at a stretch.
However, recent advancements in technology have significantly lengthened the lifespan of solar batteries beyond the 15-year mark. But such models are far and few for now. In addition, they are incredibly expensive.
3. When should you replace your solar battery?
Ultimately, the decision to replace a solar battery should be based on a combination of factors, including the battery's age, performance, maintenance needs, and your energy goals. Consulting with a professional solar installer or technician can provide valuable insights and help you determine the optimal time for replacement.
Normally, solar battery lifespan varies (5-15 years). Consider replacement if:
Capacity drops noticeably;
Frequent discharges wear it out;
Maintenance becomes frequent;
Warranty is expiring;
Technological advancements offer better options;
Repairs cost near a new battery;
Energy needs change;
Summing It Up
There’s no denying that solar batteries are incredibly useful for users who want to gain grid independence or simply maximize the use they get out of their solar panels.
But at the same time, know that investing in one involves regular upkeep. As long as you can ensure your entire solar setup, including your batteries, are of good quality and well-maintained, you don’t need to worry.