The lifespan of solar battery storage systems is typically dictated by the type of technology used. But while that is so, some practices, such as operating the battery in higher heat levels, can cause it to fail too early than its estimated lifespan. So how long do solar batteries last and how can you extend that? Let’s find out.
How Long Does a Solar Battery Last?
Although features vary, the lifespan of solar battery storage devices, based on manufacturer estimations, is expected to range from 5 years to as long as 15 years and higher. In the real world, however, usage habits can shorten or lengthen this lifespan. The solar battery life is typically its rated number of cycles:
Solar Battery Cycles
Solar battery cycles refer to the number times that it can be charged and discharged before it can lose its usefulness, which is when it only charges up of 80 % its capacity. But what is a battery cycle?
A charge cycle is said to be completed when the battery, while charged, is discharged and then fully charged again. The number of solar battery cycles generally range from 3000 to 6000. These, as earlier mentioned, define its expected lifespan.
Solar Battery Life Expectancy
The solar battery life expectancy, in years, is basically calculated using its rated number of charge cycles. Generally speaking, that means between 3000 and 6000 cycles for a lifespan that ranges from 5 to 15 years. Besides type, the solar power battery life is determined by these factors:
- Usage cycles: frequently using the battery depletes its cycles and shortens its useful life. This is more common in hybrid than grid-tie systems, as the frequency of use is usually higher.
- The battery’s DoD or depth of discharge: discharging a battery beyond its rated DoD shortens its life. If yours has low percentage for DoD, you’re more likely to shorten its life than when it has a higher DoD.
- Bedrijfstemperatuur: the lifespan of solar battery storage systems also depends on the temperature. Higher heat levels generally lower the lifespan, although that doesn’t mean running it at temperatures that are too low.
Other ways that the solar battery life expectancy is affected, apart from the type of technology used, include the owner’s way of caring for it. Talking of battery technology, below is what to expect when using either a lead acid or lithium salt type of the solar storage device.
Which Solar Batteries Last Longest
Some battery technologies offer extended lifespans than others. Typically, the flow battery is the longest lasting solar battery, with up to more than 25 years. But this type is only available for industrial use, seeing that it requires very large spaces to install and a long time to charge.
For most applications today (both residential and commercial), the lead acid and Li-Ion batteries are the most popular. Several reasons explain this, including their versatility and ability to preserve power in small spaces. So, for how long can you expect the solar batteries of this type to serve you?
Lithium Ion Solar Battery Lifespan
This battery lasts longer than the lead acid type, with up to 15 year of service life if well maintained. The only downside to it is that it costs a lot, which can make your solar installation a more expensive project. But given the longer lithium ion battery lifespan and other advantages, it still makes economic sense to install one.
Lead Acid Battery Lifespan
Although reliable to use especially when it comes to surge or start currents, the lead acid solar battery lifespan is generally lower, up to 5 years depending on its quality and other features. In terms of cycles, most batteries of this type offer between 1500 and 3000 charging cycles compared to over 6000 cycles of the best lithium ion type.
How Can I Make My Solar Battery Last Longer?
The lifespan of a solar battery as a storage device is based on several factors. If these are taken care of, the device’s useful life can be considerably increased. These include charging, discharging, and the battery’s operating temperature levels among other practices.
Charging Solar Batteries
When charging solar batteries, ensure you have a working regulating device called a charger controller in place. This regulates charging parameters, ensuring that they’re within acceptable levels. It also ensures your battery pack does not overcharge, as that could cause damage or shortened lifespan.
Solar Battery Discharge
Just like charging, solar battery discharge must happen within acceptable levels. Based on the type of technology employed, each battery has its DoD – or depth of discharge in full. This must not be exceeded, or the storage device’s health will be at risk of declining.
Solar battery Temperature
The lifespan of solar battery storage systems is also increased by ensuring optimal operating temperatures. Typically, higher temperature levels lead to rapid deterioration. That being said, temperatures that are too low are not acceptable either. For most batteries, the optimal temperature to operate them is around 25°C.
Solar Battery Maintenance
Proper maintenance of your solar battery will make it last longer. This involves several practices: be sure to regularly inspect the battery for occurrences that might cause it to get damaged too soon. These include dirt buildup or terminal corrosion and frequent cleaning to remove them. Timely solar battery repair also ensures it lasts for a long time.
The lifespan of solar battery systems or devices varies considerably. Generally, it lies between 5 and 15 years, with the some battery types lasting longer than others. Other factors that might affect a solar battery’s lifespan are usage conditions, with extreme temperatures shortening the life considerably. Using the tips in this guide, you can ensure that yours lasts long enough.