How Long Will My Solar Battery Last During a Power Outage?
Power outages are no fun for anyone. One of the best things about solar panels is that they help you to rely less on the electrical grid, meaning you’re less affected when there’s a power cut. As long as the sun is still shining, your panels will ensure your home gets a steady supply of electricity.
But what about when the sun goes down? When power outages happen overnight, you have to rely on the energy stored in your solar battery if you want any power at all in your home.
For this reason, many people are asking, “how long will my solar battery last during a power outage?” It’s a good question and unfortunately has no clear-cut answer since there are lots of variables to consider.
In this article, we’ll round up the factors that affect how long your solar battery can keep the lights on during a power outage, and how to maximise that time.
Key Factors in Solar Battery Life
The Size of The Battery
Solar batteries come in many sizes, and it probably won’t come as a surprise to find that larger batteries will result in a longer performance. An average solar battery of about 8-10kWh can power a home for about 24-48 hours.
However, this is just one piece of the puzzle. There are several other crucial factors that impact how long your battery can power your home.
The Type of Battery
There are several different types of solar batteries out there, and the type you opt for will have an impact on how long it can keep your lights on in the event of a power outage. Let’s take a look at some of the main battery types:
- Lead-acid batteries are the oldest and cheapest type of solar battery, and they’re also clean and environmentally friendly. The downside to lead-acid batteries is that they have a relatively low depth of discharge and therefore have lower capacity than other battery types.
- Lithium-ion batteries are newer than their lead-acid counterparts and use more advanced technology. They’re also smaller, require less maintenance, and have a greater depth of discharge, allowing them to power your home for longer. However, these batteries cost more and must be installed properly in order to be safe.
- Flow batteries are very new, and still in development in some ways. They boast a depth of discharge of 100%, the best of all the battery types, and are completely non-toxic. Unfortunately, they are expensive and take up a lot of space.
The Amount of Energy You Use
When considering how long your battery can keep your home running during a power outage, you need to think about how much energy you’ll use. If you want to keep all your appliances running as normal, you will of course run out of power much faster than if you carefully ration your energy usage.
The best approach here is to prioritise your energy use, allocating your electricity to only the most essential appliances and tasks. That means saving your energy for things like your refrigerator, heating, water heating, and lighting, and considering holding off on things like loud music systems and multiple TV screens until the power outage comes to an end.
The overall energy efficiency of your home
Not all homes are created equal when it comes to energy efficiency. More energy-efficient homes can last much longer on a single solar battery compared to less efficient ones, even when energy usage is the same.
Some buildings are simply unlucky in this regard, but there is still a lot you can do to make your home more energy-efficient, such as:
- Add insulation to your walls, attic, and floors — this helps reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer
- Find any gaps in windows, doors, and electrical outlets that can cause air to escape, then plug them
- Use a smart thermostat, which automatically regulates your heating and cooling systems as efficiently as possible
- Use energy-efficient lighting such as LED lights instead of incandescent bulbs — these last longer and use less power
- Try to buy energy-efficient appliances
Tap Into Expert Knowledge
Choosing the right solar battery and solar panel system for your needs is the best way to reach energy independence and keep your home running smoothly even when the traditional power grid isn’t there for you.
At SnapSolar, we can help you choose and install the right solar system for your needs — something we’ve done for countless homes and businesses throughout Mackay and the surrounding Queensland area. Get in touch with us to learn more.
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