When comparing quotes for different solar battery systems, it can be difficult to determine which characteristics and technical specifications matter most.
Here are a few of the most common decision criteria, as well as which battery specs matter most if these criteria match your situation:
- If you want to power more of your home at once, look for a solar battery with a high power-rating
- If you want to be able to power a more energy-intensive appliance (like a sump pump), look for a battery with a high instantaneous power rating
- If you want to run your home with your solar battery for a longer amount of time, look for a battery with a higher usable capacity
- If you want to get the most out of every kilowatt-hour of electricity you put into your battery, look for batteries with a higher roundtrip efficiency
- If you are space-constrained and want to get the most amount of storage out of the least amount of space, look for lithium-ion nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) solar batteries
- If you want a battery with the longest life that you can cycle the most amount of time, look for lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries
- If you want a battery with the absolute highest safety rating possible (don’t worry, they’re all safe!), look to LFP solar batteries
The power rating of a battery refers to the kilowatts (kW) of power that the battery can provide at once. In other words, a battery’s power rating tells you both how many appliances your battery can power at once and which appliances those are.
Most of the batteries available on the market today have a continuous power output of around 5 kW. Importantly, solar batteries often have two different power ratings–a continuous power rating and a 5-minute or instantaneous power rating–meaning they can provide more power in short bursts. This is important if you have an appliance like a sump pump that requires a large amount of power to turn on but then runs at lower power.
A battery’s capacity is the amount of electricity that a battery is able to store and supply to your home. Be sure to look for the usable capacity of a battery, as that number represents the amount of stored electricity that you can actually access in a battery.
A battery’s expected throughput and cycles are like a car’s mileage warranty. Throughput lets you compare how much electricity you’ll be able to move through your battery over its lifetime. Cycles measure how many times you can charge and discharge a battery.
All solar batteries have to meet certain safety requirements in order to be certified for installation in homes and businesses. The most important thing to remember is that all batteries installed in the US are very safe.