Solar + Batteries

Boone Guyton

We are looking into adding some more PV to our exisiting net metered 3.8 KW system along with a compatible amount of batteries. The idea being to produce enough to fuel an electric car with solar generated electricity that will be our short run town car. We have a 2015 Prius for longer trips. We pretty much never take two cars on long trips and the majority of our travel is between home and Asheville, about a 25 mile round trip.

Also the batteries will work as back up if the grid goes down to keep our fridge, well pump, computers and phone working. Since switching to ATT Uverse our phone is now voice over internet so the modem must be working for the phone to work.

I looked into batteries quite a bit and there is a lot of media coverage these days due to the tesla battery announcement. Suddenly it is starting to look like storage is getting more affordable incorporated with a solar system. The Tesla is sold out through 2016 and as the NC Renewable Energy Tax credit has been left out of the state budget after 2015 ( )  we wanted an alternative that could be installed this year.

The one I had liked the sound of most was the Aquion, “Aquion developed this solution into our patented Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI™) chemistry, a unique saltwater electrolyte battery technology. Using abundant, nontoxic materials and modern low cost manufacturing techniques, “ ( )

It had good stats for longevity and low maintenance as well as its low impact chemistry. Turns out though you can’t let it tip more than 15 degrees off of vertical at any time in the installation and our driveway is more than that in places. Also their warranty is only 4 years.

Next I looked into Sealed AGM batteries because they don’t need as much maintenance as the flooded Lead Acid batteries. They would work but don’t last as long for more money. I went to a home where they had a system using the Lead Acid batteries to see the space requirement and what it takes to keep up with the system. It seems like a reasonable trade off and the batteries are recyclable at the end of their lifetime. So we will go with the Lead Acid flooded batteries that are reliable and lower cost but I expect that soon there will be more competitive alternatives.

3 new ways batteries can keep you going and going and going



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