solar batteries

How Long Do Solar Batteries Last? Lifespan Factors

6 minutes, 48 seconds Read

A home solar system may be in your future. If so, you may already be thinking about using solar batteries to store any extra energy you generate. Perhaps you want to install solar panels on your RV so that you can use it as a mobile power source while you’re camping or traveling.

The first question you’re likely to ask yourself is, “how long do solar batteries last?”

Home solar battery units last anywhere between 5 and 15 years. To match the 20 to 30-year lifespan of your solar power system, it is almost certain that you will need to replace your solar battery if you decide to install one today.

Solar Battery Type

The solar battery type is one of the most crucial and fundamental choices you can make regarding the solar battery you buy. The battery’s lifespan may differ depending on the type of solar battery you choose for your application. You can decide which uses for each type of solar battery by understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries are the two main categories we’ll be examining. Despite the fact that lithium-ion batteries typically outperform lead-acid batteries, it’s crucial to know how to use them to get the most out of them.

Lead-Acid Batteries

The costliest type of solar battery overall and the least expensive of the two is a lead-acid battery. When money is an issue, lead-acid batteries are a desirable option because of the upfront cost savings. Lead-acid batteries do, however, have some notable drawbacks.

Lower depths of discharge, or DoD, or lead-acid batteries, are more common. Additionally, they last less time than lithium-ion batteries. Lead-acid batteries, however, can be a great option for infrequently used off-grid solar installations.

Many of the issues with lead-acid batteries can be avoided with an off-grid solar installation that isn’t used frequently. When creating a power backup system for a boat or RV, you can save a sizable sum of money thanks to the lower usage rate of lead-acid batteries.

The most popular sealed lead-acid batteries are the Agm battery and Gel battery, which typically last between 3 and 5 years but could last up to 12 years if you take good care of them.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are the most trusted for just about any solar system application. With a greater depth of discharge and a longer solar battery lifespan, they provide a small, lightweight solution. Higher capacities and improved efficiency are two more advantages they offer.

Overall, lithium-ion batteries outperform other solar batteries in terms of efficiency.

Numerous lithium-ion batteries have a life expectancy of two to three years, or 300 to 500 cycles, but some can last longer. Lithium-ion batteries are recommended for solar power systems that are in continuous use. Due to the lithium-ion battery’s higher efficiency, greater depth of discharge, and greater capacity, each cycle tends to be more valuable than a lead-acid battery cycle.

Related Reading: Can I Charge A Lithium Battery With A Normal Charger?

How Long Do Solar Batteries Last?

Batteries deteriorate with time, just like any other product. This is a necessary and inevitable process. There are many factors that can affect a solar battery’s lifespan, which can range from 5 to 20 years. The terms “useful life” and “warrantied life” are the two main categories used to describe a battery’s expected lifespan.

solar batteries

Useful life of the battery: A solar battery has a limited amount of “useful life” before it is no longer useful. When a battery falls short of meeting about 60% of its nominal storage capacity, it is generally considered to have reached the end of its useful life. Lower percentages of the battery might still permit operation, but it’s unlikely to supply enough power for your needs.

Warrantied life of the battery: The period of time for which your solar battery is warranted to function normally is known as the warranty. The warranty period varies depending on the type and brand of solar battery you buy and is typically set at 10 years from the date of installation. However, it can be anywhere between 10 and 20 years. Typically, a warranty period for solar batteries will expire once it meets one of three conditions:

  • Warranty period date expires
  • Exceeds maximum cycle allocation
  • Energy throughput (total amount of energy that passes through your battery) capacity is reached

Use the aforementioned framework only as a general suggestion because not all warranties adhere to it.

Related Reading: Can You Charge Solar Batteries Without Charge Controller?

Factors That Affect Home Solar Battery Life

  1. Solar Battery Type:If you’re asking, “Which batteries work best with solar power?” then you need to know that solar power batteries are made with one of three different chemical compositions: lead acid, lithium ion, or saltwater. Of the three types, lithium-ion batteries (also known as li-ion batteries) are the most common sources of energy storage for a home solar system.4
    Lead-Acid Batteries:Long-lasting lithium-ion batteries have a longer lifespan and greater depth of discharge (DoD), while lead-acid batteries have a shorter lifespan and less DoD. Lead-acid batteries have been used in off-grid energy systems for decades. The opposite of charging, a battery’s DoD reflects the amount of power the battery is able to discharge relative to its full kilowatt-hours (kWh) capacity.5
    Lithium-Ion Batteries:Lithium-ion batteries are the industry standard for home energy storage systems because they are lighter, more compact, have a longer lifespan, and a higher DoD than lead-acid batteries. Not only that, but higher demand has decreased the cost of lithium-ion batteries by 85%, making solar power backed by solar storage that much more attainable.6
    Saltwater Batteries:Saltwater batteries, in contrast to lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries, rely on saltwater electrolytes rather than heavy metals. As a result, saltwater batteries are easier to recycle and become more environmentally friendly.
    Even so, saltwater batteries are still a relatively new technology.7 If you want to make the most of your solar energy potential, lithium-ion batteries will provide the most dependable source of power.
  2. Solar Battery Usage:Most of a solar battery’s life expectancy is determined by the number of cycles it is used. Fortunately, the majority of solar batteries are deep-cycle batteries, allowing them to discharge up to 80% of their stored energy before recharging.
    Some battery banks require manual discharge before recharging. With Brightbox, your solar battery charges automatically to avoid overcharging and to ensure your battery stays healthy and efficient for as long as possible.8​
  3. Solar Battery Temperature:Where you install your battery storage system at home can have a big impact on how well it works depending on where you live. This is due to the fact that your battery unit should be maintained at an ideal temperature to maximize its life and effectiveness.
    For instance, if you reside in a region with mild or moderate temperatures, your battery might be installed outside. The Solar Advisors at Sunrun can help you choose the best location for your solar battery. For example, in areas with extreme temperatures, your battery will only function optimally if it is installed in your garage or basement.
  4. Solar Battery WarrantyManufacturers of solar batteries provide a variety of warranties for their battery goods. Lithium-ion batteries typically have a 10-year or longer warranty, while lead-acid batteries typically have a shorter warranty.10 Sunrun provides one of the most thorough solar system warranties, which includes roof and panel protection, so you can use solar power without worry.
  5. Solar Battery MaintenanceThe longevity of your solar battery will greatly depend on proper maintenance. Repairs to your solar system can cost anywhere from $100 to $3,200, while maintenance costs $150 to $300 annually.11 Backed by Sunrun’s Solar guarantee, our all-inclusive solar energy storage service eliminates the cost of maintenance by remotely monitoring your solar panels and battery around the clock.

Solar Battery Lifespan Summed Up

The most popular solar battery for your home today is made of lithium-ion, though there are other types as well. How often your battery is charged and discharged will determine how long it lasts.

You can be sure your battery will last for a long time by using it with the appropriate care, choosing high-quality products with solid manufacturer guarantees, and installing the battery in a climate-controlled environment.

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