Battery backup buying guide
Battery backup buying guide
Having a backup power source can make a massive improvement for your comfort and safety during a power outage. In the past, this usually would have meant using a propane or gasoline-powered generator. But today, there are much cleaner alternative options for generators, including green energy backup battery systems.
Backup batteries run on electricity and can be either working as a standalone device or as part of a home solar system. When the lights go out, your backup battery system will automatically switch on and serve as a power source for several hours, a day or longer (this depends on several factors, which we will cover below).
However, all of these advantages come at a price. Installing a battery backup system can be a significant investment, so it is important to understand what is involved. In this article, we have pointed out some of the most common questions about battery backup systems, including how they work, how they are made, how much they cost, and where you can purchase them.
How battery backups work
As we mentioned above, battery backup is powered by electricity. It can be charged in two ways, using electricity from your utility or from solar energy as part of a solar panel system.
If your battery backup is set up as a standalone power source and is not connected to the solar system, you can expect it to provide power for several hours or a day, this is depending on how much capacity your battery backups have, and how many appliances you are using. For getting more power energy, you can set up several batteries on the same system.
However, if your battery backup is part of a residential solar system, you can continue to use your battery as long as your solar panels are creating power energy and sending it to your batteries.
Advantages of battery backup systems
Battery backups offer plenty of benefits whether you have a solar panel system or not. For example, they help you gain electrical energy independence in daily life so you don't have to rely on the public power grid. This is especially critical if you live in an area with frequent power outages or blackouts, such as a California wildfire country.
On top of that, battery backups don't operate on fossil fuels and provide clean power energy for your home. Unlike generators, battery backups are nearly silent to run and don't emit carbon into the atmosphere.
Even if the power has not gone out, you can also use your battery backup as a way to save money on your electric bills. For example, if you are on a time-of-use utility plan, you can draw on the power from your battery packs during peak hours rather than paying sky-high electricity rates to your energy company.
Different types of battery backups
There are several kinds of batteries used in battery backup systems, including lithium-ion batteries, lead-acid batteries, and flow batteries. There is a quick overview of each type.
Lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries
Lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are the most common for home systems. Most of today's popular battery backup products are lithium-ion, including the Enjoybot LiFePO4 batteries are lightweight and energy-efficient, making them perfect for home use.
Lead-acid batteries have been used for hundreds of years and they are the primary type of battery used in cars and other applications. They are cheaper than lithium-ion, but they aren't as efficient, you can only use 50% capacity of power at the most when they are fully charged.That means they are best suited for small systems.
Flow batteries (or redox flow batteries) are less common in home systems since they a mainly designed for commercial use. However, the technology is not green energy.
Purchasing, setting up, and maintaining a battery backup system
You can get battery backups from a range of businesses, including battery manufacturers, solar companies, or battery retailers. Prices will depend on which battery model you choose and how many batteries you buy for your system, but most average-sized systems will cost between $1,000 and $2,000 (This depends on how many batteries ans what size you choose) to run (excluding installation). If you are purchasing a battery backup as part of a solar panel system, you may qualify for a rebate or tax credit (This is depending on your location country's policy ).
Once you have decided on a battery or batteries, make sure they are installed professionally otherwise, you could run the risk of electric shock or injury. You can expect to pay a few hundreds dollars for installation (which is separate from the cost of the battery).
After the initial setup, there is little maintenance required on a battery backup system. You won't need to replenish a fuel source (like you would with a generator), and there is no need for regular maintenance.
Lifespan and warranties
Several years after installation, you may notice that the battery backup system doesn't hold a full charge as well as it used to. That is because, like other types of batteries, battery backups lose storage capacity over time (This is depending on what types of battery you use, and the way you use them). Generally, lithium batteries have 2000 - 5000 cycles of life. When you discharge your batteries at 100% DOD, they will have 2000 cycles. If you discharge your batteries at 80% DOD, they will have 5000 cycles. If people mishandled lithium batteries, they will shorten their lifespan.
Is a battery backup right for you?
Battery backups make the most sense if you have a solar panel system or if you plan to install one with your batteries. In these cases, your solar-plus-storage system will provide you with continuous power when the electricity runs out. Without solar panels, you will be limited to however much energy is stored in your battery, and you will have no way to generate more.
Whether you choose backup power or solar storage, lithium batteries will be a good choice because lithium is the most popular green energy source right now.