Lithium Ion Batteries and Solar Battery Storage

Tesla Powerwall 2

a Tesla Powerwall 2 Lithium ion battery

Lithium-ion batteries are a newer form of battery storage technology that are beginning to rapidly displace lead-acid batteries for solar storage in grid-connect scenarios.

This is mainly due to the fact that lithium-ion batteries can be discharged deeper and have a longer lifetime than lead-acid batteries. They will give you around 4,000 – 6,000 cycles at 80% discharge – so they will have a lifespan of 13-18 years.

Their main drawback, at least at the moment, is that they are about 50% more expensive than lead-acid batteries for the same amount of storage. This is expected to change rapidly over the next 5 years, however, as mass-production of lithium-ion batteries (like at Tesla's battery factory, the Gigafactory) significantly reduces the cost of lithium-ion storage. 

How much will a lithium ion + solar setup cost?

This all depends on the brand of battery you choose to go with. As I have outlined in another post, there are a number of competitors in the lithium-ion battery storage space, with a great deal of variance in pricing-per-kWh.

Everyone seems to be hyped about the Tesla Powerwall, though – so I will use it in this example. A 14kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 is expected to retail for around $8,750 AUD (at the time of writing).

As a very rough guide, a 5kW solar power system with a battery-ready inverter costs around the $8,000 mark. If you add the Powerwall 2 price to this, you wind up with a total cost of around $16,750.

(I'll be the first to admit that $16,750+ is a lot of money for the average Australian to find, even if they're extremely keen on adding battery storage to their solar PV system. My recommendation is for people to wait a year or two for battery prices to drop further before they consider adding them to their homes.)


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