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  • Writer's pictureAdam H. Cooke I SunVault I Solar Storage I Battery BackUp

SunPower is one of the top solar panel manufacturers, thanks to its reputation and the quality of its products, and its solar batteries are no different.

The SunVault solar battery has been designed to work exclusively with SunPower solar panels and is a perfect addition to the SunPower Equinox solar system. While the SunVault is a relatively new battery, it is a trustworthy option because, like the Equinox system, it will be built, warrantied, and serviced by SunPower.

How does the SunVault storage battery work?

It is easiest to buy an entire SunPower Equinox system - solar panels, battery, and all - instead of adding it to an already-existing SunPower system.

Similar to other solar storage batteries on the market, the SunVault battery stores the excess energy that your solar array produces. It will also supply power to your home in the event of a power outage, or any other time where your solar panels won’t be generating electricity, like at night.

Backup batteries are typically meant to provide electricity for a limited number of appliances in an emergency - and only for a few hours. When you work with an installer during your battery install, you will choose which appliances are important to you to run during a grid outage, such as your fridge or well pump.

Based on these factors, it is then determined how much backup energy storage you will need, meaning you might need more than one battery to provide it.

What are the technical details of the SunVault?

The SunPower SunVault offers one type of battery, the 13 kWh battery. You can install up to two if you need more backup power, giving you a maximum 26 kWh of energy capacity.

The SunVault system includes the battery itself, as well as the Hub+. The Hub+ is what controls the energy flow and dictates how the stored energy is used. For example, it can determine when there is no energy available coming from your panels and will then switch to stored energy from your battery.

Rated energy capacity

When shopping for a battery, the capacity rating is one of the most important figures to look for. The rated capacity of the SunPower SunVault is 13 kWh, which works out to about half of the average American household’s daily energy usage. 13 kWh is a great amount of electricity to have stored up for daily use.

However, SunPower doesn’t list what the usable capacity of the battery is. The usable capacity tells you how much of the total battery capacity is actually available for you to use once you factor in things like charging efficiency and how much electricity you can discharge before causing damage to the battery.

Today, most lithium-ion batteries allow you to use all of the energy stored in the battery, so the rated capacity and the usable capacity will be the same. This is likely the case for the SunVault, but we can’t say for certain since Sunpower doesn’t specify in their product brochure.

How much does the SunVault cost?

Batteries are certainly pricey; for a SunVault storage battery you can expect to pay about $12,000 - $25,000, including installation.

Many times, it is impossible to give an exact number for how much you can expect to pay for a battery, SunVault included. The cost of a battery depends on local installation costs, whether or not you are adding a battery to an already existing solar system, installing both the battery and solar panels together, and if you will need one or two batteries.

The good news is the total cost can be reduced with the Federal 26% Tax Credit. We can help you decide how many batteries your home needs and how you can claim local and state incentives.

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