In the rapidly evolving world of renewable stored energy, solar power batteries and battery storage systems have become popular choices for homeowners and businesses. After all, going solar – particularly with a battery – can reduce reliance on electricity retailers, provide power during blackouts, and lower energy bills.
No one wants to see a good thing end, so you’ve probably caught yourself wondering, “how long do solar batteries last?” In this blog post, we’ll delve into how to get the most out of your solar battery, and what can impact the longevity of your battery. First off, let’s unpack the fundamentals of your battery to help you get a detailed understanding of its inner workings.
Understanding the lifespan of your solar battery power
In order to get a detailed understanding of how long a solar battery will last, it’s worth digging deeper into a battery’s technical side. Here’s a summary of the seven biggest factors that affect a battery’s longevity:
1. Battery Type
The type of battery you choose plays a crucial role in determining its lifespan. Generally speaking, there are two major types used in most solar storage solutions – Lithium-ion solar batteries (Li-ion) and Lead Acid batteries.
Lead Acid batteries are an easy to acquire, and very well-understood technology. They’re also cost-effective and readily recyclable. As a downside, Lead Acid batteries have a limited Depth of Discharge (DoD), compared to Li-ion. (Read on for more detailed information on DoD.)
Lithium-ion batteries, on the other hand, have recently gained a lot of popularity due to their smaller physical size, greater cycle life, and faster recharge time. Overall, Li-ion batteries are built to last. Li-ion batteries are also made from non-toxic battery chemistry, and have a smaller environmental footprint, making them an attractive choice for most solar batteries used in our day-to-day lives.
As a subset of this, Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, which are used in the Redback battery range, have a high-rated solar battery lifespan, meet Australian safety standards, and are considered one of the safest battery options on the market.
2. Depth of Discharge (DoD)
The depth to which you discharge your battery during each cycle can impact its overall lifespan. Shallower discharges, where you only use a portion of the battery’s capacity, can extend its life compared to deep discharges. It’s essential to strike a balance between meeting your energy needs and preserving the battery’s health.
In general, a higher DoD can potentially shorten the life of a battery as it puts pressure on the internal components, leading to faster degradation and overall lifespan. Conversely, a lower DoD can extend the lifespan of a battery because a shallower discharge creates less stress for the battery to deal with, which can reduce wear and tear.
Overall, manufacturers will have recommended DoD levels for their batteries, and it pays to be attentive to them. If you are looking to install a solar battery, your best bet is to get in touch with an accredited installer, who will be able to take you through everything you need to know about how to get the most out of your battery.
3. Installation Quality
The installation process is another critical factor in ensuring the longevity of your solar battery. Who installs your battery, how it’s installed, and where it’s installed all matter. Improper installation can lead to issues such as overheating, reduced efficiency, damage, safety hazards, or non-compliance with AS/NZS 5139:2019 regulations.
To maximise your battery’s lifespan, a ‘home job’ isn’t going to cut it. It’s essential to work with qualified and experienced professionals who follow best practices for installation. So how do you know if your installer is the ‘real deal’? The Clean Energy Council (CEC) has an accreditation process for installers that includes training, proof of qualifications, and compliance documents – so a CEC-accredited installer is your best bet.
Redback is proud to work with fully accredited and certified installers all around the country. In addition to the training provided by the CEC, Redback also provides our installer network with additional training material focussed on our specific batteries and inverters. With this additional training, Redback installers are equipped to complete an easy, safe and compliant installation.
4. Cycle Life
The cycle life of a battery refers to the number of charge and discharge cycles it can endure before its solar battery capacity significantly degrades. Cycle life and DoD tend to work together to determine how a battery works and lasts. A battery with a high cycle life might be able to handle deep discharges optimally, without degrading the battery itself. That said, it’s still advisable to avoid frequent deep discharges wherever possible.
High-quality Li-ion batteries typically have a longer cycle life compared to lead-acid batteries. Choosing a battery with a high cycle life can help ensure it lasts for many years. For example, the batteries used in Redback battery storage systems have a high cycle life.
5. Environmental Factors
The environment in which your solar system operates can also affect its longevity. Extreme temperatures, humidity, and exposure to direct sunlight can all impact the performance and lifespan of your battery. Properly sheltering and maintaining your battery can mitigate these environmental factors.
As a general rule, if you’re opting for an outdoor installation, we always recommend keeping your Redback battery out of direct sunlight. Installation on the side of your home in the shade will yield great results! It’s also worth noting that if you live in a coastal region, installing your battery indoors can offer additional protection and longevity against the salty sea air.
Indoor installation is also an option, with many Redback customers opting to install their Redback battery in their garage.
Regular maintenance is crucial for preserving the health of your solar battery. This includes monitoring its performance, ensuring it’s clean and free from debris, and promptly addressing any issues that arise. Neglecting maintenance can lead to premature battery failure.
Part of this maintenance includes ensuring the battery is online and working optimally. When it comes to Redback’s batteries, all online systems are remotely monitored by our Brisbane-based Tech Support team. This will help to ensure the battery is working optimally, while also allowing for remote over-the-air updates.
Homeowners can consistently monitor their Redback batteries’ status, including Live Power Flow, Daily Home Energy Use and Daily Bought and Sold Energy in the free MyRedback app. More importantly, if your system is offline for any reason, you’ll be able to see this in the app and know to get in touch with your installer to rectify any issues – simply click ‘System’ and scroll down to see your installer’s details.
It’s worth speaking to your installer about recommended maintenance for your battery. They’ll be able to assess the environment, understand the inner workings of the internal components, and be able to recommend an adequate maintenance action plan that will suit your needs.
When it comes to your solar power system, the warranty matters – but not all warranties are created equal. Understanding your manufacturer’s warranty conditions is a large part of understanding your batteries’ longevity, and can also help protect you against any manufacturing faults.
Redback Technologies offers a solid 10-year Australian-backed warranty – that’s a decade of peace of mind, showing Redback’s confidence in longevity and product durability. The Redback Technologies Installer Tech Support team is also standing by in our Brisbane office to answer any installation questions and troubleshoot any connection issues for installers on site.
Of course, it’s reasonable to expect that a battery will last longer than the warranty period if it’s well looked after and if the above advice has been followed – particularly if you’re adhering to your installer’s recommended maintenance plan.
So how long will a battery last?
Now that we’ve taken a deep dive into what makes a battery tick, it’s time to answer the age-old question: “How long is my battery expected to last?”
Taking all of the above information into account, it’s reasonable to expect your battery storage system to last for a long time, even decades. A well-cared-for battery storage system can easily outlive its warranty period, and be a long-lasting addition to your home. But let’s break this down a bit further.
General research indicates that solar batteries can last between 5 and 15 years, depending on installation location and general care. However, the factors we discussed above, namely cycle life, can have a significant impact on your battery’s lifespan.
For example, the Lithium Ion Phosphate batteries used in Redback’s systems have a cycle life of 8,000 cycles, a lifespan that could potentially last 20 years or more when cycled once per day. At Redback, we’re proud to partner with a top-tier battery manufacturer with a proven track record of delivering safe, reliable batteries for home storage for over a decade.
By being rated at 8,000 cycles, not only can you be confident that the batteries in your Redback system are ‘in it for the long haul’, but as a bonus, a longer lifecycle also means fewer replacements which is also kinder to the environment.
The same research shows that the payoff period of a solar battery system is about 7-13 years, meaning you’ll likely meet your return on investment goal long before it’s time to replace the battery.
When investing in a solar battery storage system, it’s essential to have a realistic expectation of its lifespan and take steps to maximise its longevity. By making informed decisions and prioritising quality, durability and care, you can ensure that your solar battery serves you well for many years.
Before you get started on your solar battery journey, it pays to do your research. More importantly, don’t be shy to ask your installer for advice – they’re a wealth of information on batteries, installation, aftercare, maintenance and safety. To start a conversation about solar batteries, your needs, and the benefits of solar storage, get in touch with a fully accredited Redback installer today.