Whether you’re making the switch to a sustainable lifestyle or just looking for a cost-effective way to power your home, solar panels are a smart solution. Installing a solar system will boost your savings and cover your energy needs during outages.
But you’ll need a solar-powered battery pack to convert solar energy into usable power for your appliances. One benefit is that these devices also store the energy for later use. Needless to say, these devices are a wise investment.
If you’re trying to figure out what type of solar-powered battery pack to choose and the factors to consider, this comprehensive and beginner-friendly guide is just what you need!
What is a Solar-Powered Battery Pack?
A solar-powered battery pack helps convert the energy generated by solar panels into usable energy. It also stores the energy for later use on cloudy days when your solar panels have minimal efficiency.
Solar-powered battery packs are typically lightweight, compact, and portable—especially compared to traditional gas generators. Most solar battery packs provide multiple outlets and charge various devices. Some also support charging via the grid.
How Does a Solar Battery Pack Work?
The mechanism of a solar-powered battery is similar to a traditional generator.
Instead of fossil fuels, solar battery packs are connected to and run on the energy generated by solar panels. Their compact build contains an internal inverter and a battery.
When solar panels absorb sunlight, they generate energy. This energy is directed toward an inverter that converts it to AC, which can be used by various appliances and devices. Excess energy can be stored in the solar battery pack.
Note that a solar-powered battery pack can also collect power from wall outlets, USB outputs, 12V DC, and hydrogen fuel cells.
Advantages of Solar-Powered Battery Packs
Solar-powered battery packs offer a better deal than gas generators. These packs also come with some unique benefits, which include:
Reduced Grid Reliance
Solar battery packs help you reduce the use of grid power by harnessing the sun’s energy. With a large enough panel and battery, you will no longer need to worry about the increasing prices of local utilities.
While installation may be expensive, solar-powered battery packs last a long time. You can quickly get a healthy return on your investment.
You will earn savings from your utility bills and can even take advantage of local net metering programs.
If you and your family go camping frequently, these battery packs can help you save money on fossil fuels used to power generators.
Solar energy is a renewable power source and is also cleaner, safer, and more sustainable than fossil fuels. A solar-powered battery allows you to harness this energy for your use.
What to Consider When Choosing a Solar Battery Pack?
A little knowledge and awareness of the factors to look for and what they mean might help make shopping for a solar battery pack easy.
Here are the key considerations and a quick summary to help you get on track.
Storage capacity, expressed in watt-hours (Wh), indicates the amount of power a battery pack can store. A higher capacity will store more power, allowing you to power more devices with a single full charge.
The best capacity for your needs depends on your power consumption.
To calculate the best battery capacity for your needs, it’s best to itemize the electronic devices you want to charge and their power requirements. Then, calculate how many hours you will need to use them. Use these numbers to calculate the storage capacity that will cover those needs.
Typically, a 4- to 5-member household using basic appliances should look for a battery pack with a total storage capacity of 1350Wh. In contrast, campers who only need to charge their cameras, drones, and smartphones on a backpacking trip will do fine with a battery pack that has a total storage capacity of 500Wh.
Power output, expressed in watt (W), refers to how much energy your solar battery pack delivers and how many devices it can charge at once.
Power output is a parameter that should always be considered along with battery capacity. Batteries with a larger power output can charge more devices simultaneously, but they won’t last long if they have a small battery capacity. In contrast, higher battery capacity and smaller power output will allow you to run the batteries for longer but only connect one or two devices at once.
Simply put, higher output and higher capacity are best if you're charging more devices simultaneously. A lower output with higher capacity is fine if you’re only charging/running one or two devices at once for a longer duration.
Another element to remember is that a battery with a higher output than the voltage requirement of the device will result in irreparable damage. Check the compatibility of your devices with your battery before you plug them in.
Learning about the different types of solar-powered batteries might be a bit overwhelming. To make it easier, we’ll give you some quick pointers on the two main types: LFP and NMC.
They are both types of Lithium-ion batteries distinguished by their internal chemistry and number of cycles. They are the two main types available in most solar battery packs.
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP)
LFP batteries, also known as LiFePO4, have the longest lifespan and the highest number of charge cycles. This means they can maintain their performance for a longer period, typically thousands of cycles of charging and discharging.
Another great feature of LFP batteries is their high Depth-of-Discharge (DoD). A higher DoD means more power can be withdrawn from your solar-powered battery before plugging it for a recharge.
For example, your solar battery pack has 90% DoD and a capacity of 10kWh. In that case, you should ideally use no more than 9kWh of power before recharging it.
These are also the safest of all battery types, making them an ideal solution for those who need solar battery packs to power their homes.
The only drawback is that LFP batteries are larger and heavier than NMC batteries.
Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC)
NMC batteries take up very little space while providing lots of storage capacity. They’re also lightweight, so they’re ideal for those who go on many backpacking trips.
However, their lifespan and DoD are much smaller than the LFP batteries.
Charging speed refers to the time it takes for a battery pack to replenish its full capacity. Faster is undoubtedly better for most users, as it can harness more of the generated energy in just a few minutes or hours.
Speeds differ among products, and we suggest looking for a range from 1.5 to 2.5 hours. Consider the charging speed from wall outlets and solar panels separately.
Outlets or Ports
Most solar-powered battery packs come with multiple ports and outlets to charge your devices and connect your appliances. Ideally, you should be able to power 8 to 12 devices at once—this number is crucial if you’re camping or in the middle of a blackout.
Ideally, look for batteries with more outlets and ensure the outlets are compatible with your devices.
Manufacturer and Warranty
A reliable manufacturer with years of experience is always the best choice. However, the solar-powered battery industry is relatively new, and the technology is quite advanced. So, you’ll need to do your due diligence and research to find the best options.
One thing you can trust is the warranty on products. A manufacturer that provides quality items will also cover a reasonably long warranty period.
Growatt Solar Battery Packs
The complete range of Growatt’s solar battery packs, also known as portable power stations, gives you all the variety you need for a solar-powered battery.
Their battery pack offerings come with bi-directional inverter technology, app-based monitoring and remote control, and top-quality safety features.
Let’s take a close look at all their battery packs:
The most affordable of the three, VITA 550 is the perfect small and portable solar battery pack weighing only 17.99 pounds. It features LFP batteries with a 538Wh capacity with 600W output. It is ideal for powering small devices like laptops, internet routers, LED lights, refrigerators, food processors, etc. And comes with 11 diverse outlets.
In addition, you also get the watt+ feature, which allows you to run heavy-duty devices of up to 1050W.
Its Battery Management System (BMS) gives you multiple layers of protection while ensuring a safe power supply to your devices. Your devices are also protected during power outages with reliable 24/7 Emergency Power Supply (EPS).
The battery on the 550 can be charged to its full capacity within 1.6 hours via wall charging and within 2.5 hours via solar panels. It also comes with two years of warranty coverage.
At 42.32 pounds, the INFINITY 1300 is ideal for long camping, RV trips and home emergencies. It has a capacity of 1382Wh and an output of 1800W, which can run any home, off-grid, or professional backup appliances and devices during emergencies.
At once, the INFINITY 1300 can easily power multiple devices through its 14 outlets. If you’re worried about damage to your devices due to power outage, the 24/7 EPS feature will be your favorite. It has a switchover time of less than 20ms, ensuring your essential devices and appliances don’t fail.
All this, while its built-in BMS feature keeps your devices protected against issues like overload, low voltage, etc.
It promises the longest life cycle with LFP batteries: over 3000 cycles. And the best part is that this battery pack has a five-year warranty.
The INFINITY 1500 is the perfect solution for running one or two heavy appliances during blackouts. Its 1512Wh capacity and 2000W output can easily power up a washing machine or an air conditioner. But you can also run multiple small devices at once with its 12 diverse outlets.
The INFINITY 1500 also features the industry-leading Battery Management System to guarantee the safety of your devices. What’s more, its EPS feature comes with a switchover time of less than 20ms, keeping the power running even in the case of a shutdown.
It comes with NMC batteries and weighs 36.4 pounds. It has a two-year warranty period and can run over 800 cycles.
Are Solar Battery Packs Worth the Investment?
Solar battery packs are a worthwhile investment because they deliver much-needed backup power support. They can be used at home and outdoors and charge a wide range of devices and appliances. The best part is that they help you reduce your carbon footprint by harnessing renewable solar energy.
How Long Will a Solar-Powered Battery Pack Last?
A solar battery pack can last 5 to 15 years, depending on its battery type and how well it is maintained.
Whether you want to spend more time off the grid or create a more sustainable on-grid life, solar-powered battery packs fit both needs. And with increasing energy bills, they’re a welcome alternative everyone should consider.
If you’re trying to make a well-informed purchase, you now have all the necessary information to do so. So long as you know your needs and thoroughly research the products, you should have no problem finding the best and most reliable solar battery pack for your home.