Calculating the number of batteries needed for your solar system is essential for energy storage. Solar panels generate electricity only during the day, and you need batteries to store it for use at night or during cloudy weather. It ensures system efficiency, sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and meets your energy needs.
But there isn't a straightforward answer to the question of "how many solar batteries do I need for the solar system?" Read this article to learn about the factors that affect the number of batteries and how to calculate the number of batteries you need based on your needs.
How many batteries needed for a solar system depends on several factors such as the capacity of the solar panels, the daily energy consumption, the number of days of autonomy desired, and the type and capacity of the batteries themselves.
The choice of battery type and capacity significantly affects the sizing of a solar battery system. Different battery chemistries, such as lead-acid, lithium-ion, or flow batteries, have varying characteristics that affect their performance, lifespan, and cost.
Similarly, the battery's capacity, measured in ampere-hours (Ah) or kilowatt-hour (kWh), determines how much energy it can store and discharge.
In this article, we will use 200Ah 48V LiFePO4 battery with a depth of discharge of 50% as a quantitative measure to calculate the number of batteries required. Then the amount of power stored in a 200Ah 48V LiFePO4 battery (at 50% DoD) is 9.6kWh and 4.8 kWh is available for load operation.
Energy stored in a single battery = Voltage x Capacity= 48V x 200Ah = 9.6 kWh
A thorough understanding of solar battery types and capacities is the stage for designing an optimal solar cell system that meets the user's energy needs and budget.
The size of a solar panel array directly affects the amount of electricity generated, which in turn impacts the number of batteries needed to store that energy.
Larger solar panel arrays generate more electricity and therefore require more batteries to store the excess energy produced.
To calculate the number of batteries needed to store the electricity generated by a 2kW solar panel, now we still need to figure out the daily energy generated by the 2kW solar panel.
Assuming that the solar panel generates 8 hours of electricity per day (typical for a sunny day), the total energy generated per day would be:
2kW x 8 hours = 16 kWh
It is known that a 200Ah 48V LiFePO4 battery can store 9.6kwh of electricity, if all the electricity is stored directly in the battery, then the amount of electricity required is:
Number of batteries = (16 kWh) / (9.6 kWh) = 1.67 batteries
Since you cannot have a fraction of a battery, you would need to round up to the nearest whole number. Therefore, you would need two 200Ah 48V LiFePO4 batteries to store all the electricity generated by the 2kw solar panel per day.
In the same way, we can calculate the number of 200ah 48v LiFePO4 batteries required for solar panel systems of different sizes:
Solar panel system | Total energy generated in 8 hours | Number of batteries needed |
100W | 0.8kWh | 1 (0.0833) |
200W | 1.6kWh | 1 (0.167) |
1000W | 8kWh | 1 (0.667) |
10kW | 80kWh | 9 (8.333) |
15kW | 120kWh | 13 (12.500) |
20kW | 160kWh | 17 (16.667) |
However, for most of residental solar power systems, the electricity generated by the solar panels is not simply stored in the batteries, but rather used to power the load and store any surplus in the batteries.
This is a wise approach because it reduces the number of batteries needed and shrinks the impact on battery life of the self-discharge phenomenon that exists in the battery itself, where the battery consumes power on its own even when not connected to load power.
In this case, there are two more factors that should be taken into account in purpose of estimating the number of batteries needed.
The power consumption of the loads will determine the size of the solar panel system required to meet the energy demands, which in turn will determine the number and size of batteries needed to store energy for use during periods when the solar panels are not producing energy.
To determine the number of batteries required, you need to calculate the total energy consumption of your home or system per day in 2 Steps:
Determine the power rating of the load
This can be found on the device's label or in its documentation. It is usually given in watts (W) or
kilowatts (kW).
Calculate the energy consumed per day
Multiply the power rating of the load (in kW) by the number of hours it is expected to run per day. For
example, if a load with a power rating of 1 kW runs for 8 hours per day, it will consume 8 kWh
(kilowatt-hours) per day.
The number of batteries is calculated by adding up the power consumption of all loads and dividing the difference between the total daily power generation of the solar system minus the total daily power consumption of the loads by the capacity of the batteries.
A 10kw solar panel system works for 8 hours per day, so its total power production is 80kwh. Assuming that the load consumes 20kwh per day, the number of 200ah 48v LiFePO4 batteries required can be firgure out following the formula:
Amount of power to be stored in battery = 80 kWh (power production) - 20 kWh (load consumption) = 60 kWh
It is known that a 200Ah 48V LiFePO4 battery can store 9.6kwh of electricity, so it can be concluded that:
Number of batteries required =
Amount of power to be stored in battery / Energy stored in one battery =
60 kWh / 9.6 kWh per battery = 6.25 batteries
Since we can't have a fraction of a battery, we need to round up the number of batteries required to the nearest whole number.
Therefore, for a 10kw solar system, the number of 200Ah 48V LiFePO4 batteries required is 7.
However, if you plan to use battery power for several days in a row (e.g., during a power outage), you will need a larger battery system to ensure that you have enough energy to power your home.
In this case, it is best to estimate by the total amount of power consumed by the load and the formula to calculate the number of batteries needed would be:
Number of batteries = Daily power consumption x Days of autonomy / (Battery capacity x DoD)
For example, if your daily power consumption is 5kWh, and you want a system that can operate for 3 days without recharging, with a 200Ah 48V LiFePO4 at 50% DoD, the number of batteries required would be:
Number of batteries = (5kWh x 3) / 4.8kWh = 3.125
Therefore, you would need 4 200Ah 48V LiFePO4 batteries for the solar panel system.
Regrettably, determining the quantity of solar batteries required is usually not a simple matter. Firstly, the ultimate number of batteries needed can vary greatly depending on the specific objective of the solar storage system.
If you just want to use solar power storage to prepare for power outages, battery capacity and load power consumption are the main considerations for the number of batteries.
There is also a special case where you live in an area where there is not enough sunlight, more rainy weather or frequent power outages, there is also the number of days of battery power supply to consider.
If you simply want to reduce your dependence on utility power and save on electricity overhead, the capacity of the batteries, the size of the solar panels and the power consumption of the load all need to be considered.
It's important to note that the size of the battery will also depend on other factors such as the location of the solar panel system, the efficiency of the panels, and the expected weather conditions. Therefore, it is recommended to consult with a professional solar installer or engineer to determine the optimal size of the solar panel system and battery bank based on your specific energy needs and location.