Solar Battery Costs For Off Grid And Backup Power

Solar Battery Cost

NAVIGATION

A solar battery backup cost me about $4,200 for my tiny home and homestead. This might sound like a big investment, but it gave me 12 lead-acid 6-volt solar batteries that have kept my homestead running continuously and efficiently through power outages, giving me freedom and allowing me to live as off-grid as I like.

solar battery backup for tiny houseWhile I know that high solar battery costs can make solar batteries for home use impractical for some, I’m a huge proponent of the benefits of going fully solar.

I made the decision to invest in lead-acid batteries because it was the most economical decision for my off-grid property.

I’ll go over all the reasons why I chose my batteries and the pros and cons of other types to help you make the right decisions for installing solar batteries as cost-effectively as possible.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

Each of my 6-volt solar batteries costs me about $350, so I know how pricey solar batteries are and how important it is to consider your options. I’ve experienced great success having a solar battery backup on my tiny house homestead. I’m sharing the options here to give you information about solar battery backup costs, hoping it’ll help you make the best decision for your home.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

How Much Do Solar Batteries Cost?

How Much Do Solar Batteries Cost

Living in a tiny home, my energy needs are on the smaller side, so investing in solar battery backup costs less on my homestead than it might in an average to large size home. In most cases, you won’t only have to pay for the solar batteries themselves, but you’ll also have to pay a company to install them, which can ratchet up the cost.

solar panel batteriesIf you’re trying to save as much money as possible, you can look into installing your system, but this will take extra research and installation time, particularly if you’re installing your solar panels simultaneously.

How much are solar batteries going to cost you? The answer will depend on how many kilowatt-hours of energy you use, the number of appliances you’re powering (and how long you’re powering them), and the storage capacities of your chosen batteries. I have 12 lead-acid batteries to power my tiny home and homestead, which cost me around $4,200.

If you’re looking to power an average-sized home with no outdoor energy needs, you might get away with the same number of batteries. However, an average home’s solar battery backup can cost $10,000 to $15,000 if you’re looking into lithium-ion batteries.

Average Costs Of Solar Batteries

On average, solar batteries for home use cost from $4,000 to $7,500, with an additional cost of $2,000 to $3,500 for the professional installation of a small system. Costs can vary widely depending on what you’re powering. As mentioned above, it depends on how much energy you use, but the prices listed act as a good starting point for calculating which type of batteries will be the most worthwhile investment for your home.

200 watt solar panel

How Do Solar Batteries Work?

How Do Solar Batteries Work

I use more power at night than during the day, and that’s the same for most of us, so a downside to solar panels is that you have to pull from the electrical grid once the sun goes down. That’s where solar batteries come in.

solar generators for off grid livingThe cool thing about solar batteries is that they store all that energy created from your solar panels during the day (much of it completely unused) for use later.

Once night falls and your solar panels are no longer generating power from the sun, your batteries will use the stored energy to power your home. It’s an efficient system, and for many of us committed to solar power, solar battery costs are worth every penny.

Solar batteries also provide power even when the grid is down. Many solar panel users are still connected to the electrical grid for some energy needs (like pulling electricity when the sun goes down).

Solar batteries provide the option of being completely off the grid, using only your solar system for all your energy needs. I don’t even notice when the power goes down in my area unless a friend tells me because my solar system keeps running. If you have a lot of power outages in your area, this might be a big consideration for you.

Solar Battery Backup Cost Depends On How Many Batteries You Install

Solar Battery Backup Cost Depends On How Many Batteries You Install

Determining how many solar backup batteries you need goes back to your monthly power usage and the number of appliances you want to power. You’ll want to take care when mapping out the storage capacity you need, as the more solar backup batteries, the more your backup system will cost.

You’ll also need to decide which type of solar battery is best for your lifestyle, as the type will directly affect how many you’ll need and the cost. I mentioned earlier that I invested in 12 lead-acid batteries, which might seem like a lot since I live in a tiny home, and many average-sized homes only require between six and eight batteries. The difference comes down to the battery type, which I’ll get into below.

how to run ac on solar power

Solar Battery Characteristics And Features

Solar Battery Features

The types of solar batteries you choose, and their features will factor into the cost. I always recommend a five-step process when tallying up your solar system’s cost and worth.

Costs, Characteristics, And Features To Consider

  1. Determine which batteries are the most cost-effective for your lifestyle.
  2. Calculate the number of batteries you’ll need for your solar system.
  3. Consider whether your batteries will have their own inverters.
  4. Add in any additional costs, like wires, breakers, etc., that are often overlooked.
  5. Factor in the cost of labor to have your solar system installed.

solar powered mini fridge

The Quality Of Your Solar Batteries

Both the brand and the type of solar batteries you invest in will directly affect the cost of your solar system. Many solar battery brands sell cheaper batteries, but I don’t recommend going that route. Don’t let the low prices trick you into thinking you’ll save money by investing in lower-quality batteries. I always advise sticking with well-known, well-reviewed solar batteries.

I intentionally make choices in my life, and I’m a proponent of purchasing quality over quantity, whether in my clothes shopping, food choices, or solar power. My solar battery backup cost was worth it, so I can comfortably live off-grid.

reasons to live off grid

The Chemistry Of Your Solar Battery: Which Type Should You Choose?

Before you decide on a brand for your solar battery backup, you’ll need to consider the chemistry of the solar battery. There are three primary types of solar batteries, each with completely different chemical makeups determining their power and effectiveness. The two most popular battery types are lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries, and we’ll look at a breakdown of the characteristics of each, as well as nickel-cadmium batteries.

Nickel-Cadmium Solar Batteries

Nickel Cadmium Solar Batteries
Nickel-cadmium batteries are known to last between five and 10 years, but they aren’t used much anymore due to their high cost and high toxicity once they hit the trash after use. Cadmium is known to be highly harmful to the environment, and the danger of improper recycling has led to these types of batteries even being banned in some countries and some states within the U.S. For this reason, I don’t recommend buying nickel-cadmium batteries for your solar system. I’m only mentioning them here because you might hear about them in your research.
off grid solar cooking

Lithium-Ion Solar Batteries

Lithium Ion Solar Batteries
Generally considered the best quality, with the highest performance, lithium-ion solar batteries are long-lasting, with a lifespan of up to 10 years. Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive than lead-acid batteries. Still, they perform better since lithium-ion gives solar batteries more power and longer use than lead-acid batteries. I chose lead-acid batteries because they were the more economical choice for my off-grid lifestyle, even though I have to replace them more often.

Lead-Acid Solar Batteries

Lead Acid Solar Batteries
As I mentioned, the 12 solar batteries backing up my tiny home are lead-acid batteries. I chose this type because of my off-grid lifestyle and because I don’t mind a bit of hands-on maintenance. Known to last between three and five years, these batteries can be bulky, require some extra maintenance, and lack the power and efficiency of more expensive lithium-ion solar batteries, but they’ve also served me well. Lead-acid solar batteries have provided a good starting point for my solar backup. I’ve effectively powered my tiny home, including my off-grid kitchen and bathroom and different utility lights I’ve used for my chickens and gardens.

off grid bathroom

tiny-house-solar-panel-batteries

Several options exist for setting up lead-acid batteries to increase their power. You can connect them in either a series, series-parallel, or parallel. I opted for wiring them together in a series to get my solar system to 24 volts while having three strings wired in parallel.

The Number Of Solar Batteries You Need

After you’ve chosen the brand and type of battery that will work best for your budget and specific needs, deciding how many batteries you need will help you approximate what your solar batter backup cost will really be. As I said, I have 12 lead-acid batteries backing up my off-grid tiny house. If you live in an average-sized house and are planning on purchasing lithium-ion batteries, chances are you can get away with between six and eight batteries.

minimalist budget

Does Your Solar Battery Have Its Own Inverter?

An inverter converts DC electricity to AC, allowing solar batteries to be connected to your power source. Some batteries come with their own inverter built in, making them easy to “plug in,” while others require a separate inverter to do the job. Yes, it’s convenient to have built-in inverters, but it’s also more expensive. You can decide whether this convenience is worth it by weighing the added cost of batteries with built-in inverters against the cost of an inverter itself. It’s normal for inverters to cost between $1,000 and $2,000.

does homesteading save money

Additional Solar Battery Backup Costs Of Wire, Breakers, And Other Materials

Depending on what solar panels and batteries you invest in, you might buy a whole functioning system to be installed at once, or you might purchase all the materials separately. You’ll most likely need a DC circuit breaker and wiring that’s safe for use outside.

solar powered refridgerators

Local Labor Costs

Local labor costs vary, but they are something you’ll need to consider when installing your home solar battery system. It’s common for solar battery backup installation to cost between $2,000 and $3,500. If you enjoy DIYing your house projects, it is possible to install your solar system, but it does require a lot of technical and electrical knowledge and skills, so I don’t recommend this to everyone. The best thing to do at the outset is to talk to a local solar provider who will know all the important details and your local solar system regulations.

solar generators

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Solar Batteries?

Pros And Cons Of Solar Batteries

Like any other big investment, there are pros and cons to adding solar battery backup costs to your home. Most of the positive benefits of a solar system are long-term sustainable lifestyle improvements, but the cost-related drawbacks can still be a big deal.

Pros Of Solar Batteries

Solar power with battery backup has been a huge positive in my life as an off gridder. Having a backup power source to pull from at night or when the grid is down has given me more energy independence while decreasing my carbon footprint and saving me huge money on my power bill. For these reasons I highly recommend going solar.

slow living lifestyle guide

Cons Of Solar Batteries

In my situation, connecting to the electrical grid after building my tiny home would have cost me much more than investing in solar panels and backup batteries, but I know that isn’t the case for everyone. Setting up a solar system has a significant up-front cost, will take up a decent amount of storage space, and won’t always provide backup for your whole home depending on your energy consumption.

gosun fusion solar oven

Are Solar Batteries Worth It?

Are Solar Batteries Worth It

Yes, for me solar batteries are worth it. Having solar power with battery backup for the past decade has saved me a lot of money — particularly because the power company was going to charge me $15,000 just to run a power line to the tiny home I built on my land. My solar backup system has given me complete freedom and confidence that I’ll be able to live comfortably off-grid.

off grid challenges

Solar Battery FAQs

Solar Battery FAQs

Due to my years of living off-grid, I get asked a lot of great questions about solar battery backup and costs, so I’ll answer a few here.

How Long Do Solar Batteries Last?

Depending on their quality and type, solar batteries can last anywhere from five to 15 years. That’s a decent amount of time, but you’ll want to keep this time frame in mind when you’re factoring in the potential cost and returns on your investment.

complete solar oven guide

How Long Can A Solar Battery Run My Appliances?

Most solar batteries have 10 kWh or more of usable energy, which is enough to power an average American home for around eight hours. The actual answer for your specific situation will depend on how many appliances you power (think refrigerators, lightbulbs, fans, air conditioners, heaters, etc.).

Can I Install A Battery Without Solar Panels?

Yes, you can absolutely install a solar battery even if you don’t have solar panels. In this case, your solar battery backup cost will be lower, since you won’t be purchasing solar panels, but your batteries also won’t be recharged for free every day by your solar panels. Without panels, your batteries will simply charge from the power grid. While this option comes with a lot of backup benefits, your electric bill will be higher, and your batteries won’t be able to charge when the grid is down.

fifty acre homestead layout

What Features Should I Look For In A Solar Battery?

When you’re choosing a solar battery, you should not only consider the cost of the battery itself, but also the features. These features include the battery’s storage capacity, its projected lifespan, whether it has a warranty, its depth of discharge (DOD), its ambient working temperature, its efficiency, its peak power output, and also any smart features or monitoring capacities. Understanding these will help you choose your solar batteries confidently.

solar camping gear

Where Do You Buy Batteries For Your Solar Installation?

Where possible, I recommend purchasing solar batteries from a local solar equipment provider. This will ensure you’re buying the correct equipment for your local climate and codes, and they’ll be able to answer your location-specific questions and might even manage the installation.

solar panel installation for a tiny houseIf you don’t live near a local solar provider, you can always shop online for a good price with the right features for you.

When building my house, my solar battery backup cost me less than I would have paid to connect my homestead to the power grid. It continues to save me money every month on power bills.

While I know everyone’s situation is different, I highly recommend looking into the benefits solar power and the security that a solar battery backup system could bring to your home and homestead.

Your Turn!

  • Do you have a lot of power outages in your area?
  • How many solar batteries would you need to back up your home or homestead?
1 Comment
  1. Have you ever thought about making your own batteries? It’s not hard and a 5 gallon bucket foundry is all you need. You can make a 20,000 wat capacity for the same price you paid for you 12 batteries.

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