Solar Battery Showdown: Sonnen ecoLinx vs Powerwall
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Solar arrays don’t produce as much power when the sun isn’t out. Most solve this problem by connecting to the power grid, allowing them to put their excess solar power on the grid and use it as a credit towards electricity used when the sun goes down. While this solution works for earning pennies back on the dollar, it isn’t the best option – battery backup is. This is because battery backup lets you use a greater percentage of your solar-generated power at the market rate within your own home. Battery backup is how you can take advantage of declining net metering incentives for solar-powered homes.
Prolonged power outages aren’t common in the United States. However, 2018 EIA statistics show the average American experiences 5.8 hours per year of power loss. For homeowners who want power continuity during an outage or off-grid power, a home battery is the best energy solution. However, these solar homeowners need to make sure their solar storage solution works with their array and supplies their home’s storage need.
Home Battery Specifications Comparison
While solar batteries have many components to consider, four battery specifications help homeowners determine which will best meet their needs. These specifications include capacity, power, round-trip efficiency, and warranty.
Comparing Capacity & Power of the ecoLinx and Powerwall
Capacity measures how much power the battery can store, as measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Power determines the number of appliances a battery can handle at once. Together, the capacity and power rating determine how long the home battery will last on a full charge.
Tesla Powerwall 2 Capacity and Power
The Powerwall has 13.5 kWh of usable capacity, and it has a maximum power rating of 5.0 kW. As long as the home doesn’t need to draw more than five kilowatts or 5,000 watts at once, one Powerwall can easily manage the energy load for several hours. If using energy-sucking appliances, like a central air conditioner, the Powerwall won’t last as long and may only power a few other things or nothing else with it.
ecoLinx Capacity and Power
All of the ecoLinx options have a power rating of 8.0 kW. The ecoLinx comes in five different size increments; its usable capacity ranges between 12 and 20 kWh in 2kWh increments. Depending on the size of the ecoLinx and the amount of power consistently drawn, one of these home batteries could last longer than the Powerwall.
Round-trip efficiency shows the loss of electricity when the battery goes through its charge cycle. The Powerwall has 90 percent round-trip efficiency, and the ecoLinx has 81.6 percent round-trip efficiency. Meaning for every ten kWhs of input, the Powerwall can output 8.4 kWh more power than the ecoLinx.
The Powerwall has a 10-year warranty at 70 percent charge capacity. The Sonnen ecoLinx has a 15-year or 15,000 cycle warranty at 65 percent charge capacity. While the ecoLinx has a longer warranty, its actual length could shorten if it goes through 15,000 cycles before 15 years.
Off-Grid Solar Battery Capabilities
While most homeowners opt to use home batteries as a backup and utility offset solution, they can configure their storage to cover all the home’s energy needs for multiple days rather than a couple of hours. However, this requires far more battery storage and a larger solar array to charge them.
Going Off-Grid with ecoLinx and sonnenProtect
Most homeowners don’t have enough unshaded space or money to go off-grid. However, those few who do should know that Sonnen batteries require sonnenProtect technology for off-grid connection. According to Sonnen’s FAQ page, Sonnen batteries without this technology will not power anything without a grid connection, making it ineffectual during an outage.
Off-Grid and Power Outage Powerwall 2 Capabilities
To go off-grid, homeowners need significantly more Powerwalls. However, this home battery doesn’t require extra hardware or software to function without the grid. The Powerwall 2 can even disconnect from the grid during an outage, so your home can continue producing solar power during the day.
Home Battery Monitoring
Home battery monitoring allows homeowners to see exactly how much energy their battery stores, the electricity the solar array produces, and the ability to choose when and how to use it. To monitor these metrics, both Tesla and Sonnen have monitoring portals and apps for both of these battery products.
Tesla’s Home Battery and Solar Monitoring
Through Tesla’s monitoring app, customers can see the home and Powerwall’s energy consumption, including how the battery performed in past power outages. Customers can also choose between three charge and discharge modes. While Tesla shows homeowners their solar generation, looking at specifics of the solar array may require viewing the solar inverter’s monitoring portal or app.
Sonnen Home Battery Monitoring Portal
Per customer feedback, Sonnen has started transitioning away from their old portal and monitoring app to my.sonnenPortal. Unfortunately, the new portal still has a few hiccups: One of these hiccups includes not allowing customers to view the battery’s consumption and production. This feature currently only runs in the background. However, Sonnen has promised that it will become viewable soon.