Solar battery cost: Why they're not always worth it

It usually costs about $9,000 to install solar batteries. Where you live helps determine if you'll make that money back over time.

Edited by: Alix Langone
Updated Feb 29, 2024
8 min read

A typical home needs about 10.1 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of battery storage to provide backup for your most critical electrical components. In 2024, a battery with that capacity costs $8,944 after federal tax credits based on thousands of quotes through EnergySage. 

If you're looking at solar batteries, it's probably because you either frequently experience power outages, or your utility company may not provide compensation for excess electricity your solar panels send to the grid. You could also just have access to really great incentives. If you fall under one of these categories, solar batteries are probably worth it. They could save you thousands of dollars over a decade. 

If you think you need a battery just because you have solar panels, maybe reconsider. Batteries can significantly increase the overall cost of your solar system, sometimes even doubling the price. In many cases, solar batteries aren't worth it yet. We'll help you decide if investing in a battery will pay off.

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Solar battery cost varies dramatically across brands. Different companies offer different battery sizes, so the easiest way to compare costs is to look at the price per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Kilowatt-hours measure the capacity of the batteries, or how much energy they can store at once. 

On EnergySage, LG Energy Solution offers some of the most affordable batteries at about $984/kWh. You'll typically pay the most for SolaX Power batteries, which cost about $2,000/kWh. 

Battery cost by brand

Battery Company
Price Per K Wh*
Typical Battery Size**
Total Installed Cost After The Federal Tax Credit
Enphase Energy$1,400/kWh10.08 kWh$9,878
Tesla$1,065/kWh13.5 kWh$10,064
FranklinWH Energy Storage Inc.$1,103/kWh13.6 kWh$10,501
SunPower$1,304/kWh13 kWh$11,866
EG4$1,049/kWh11.44 kWh$8,400
SolaX Power$2,000/kWh9 kWh$12,600
HomeGrid Energy$1,406/kWh9.6 kWh$9,448
SolarEdge Technologies$1,546/kWh9.7 kWh$10,497
LG Energy Solution$984/kWh16 kWh$11,021
Emporia Energy$1,603/kWh7.8 kWh$8,752

*The median price per kWh of the 10 most quoted batteries on EnergySage in the second half of 2023.
**The median usable capacity of the 10 most quoted batteries on EnergySage in the second half of 2023.

Battery prices aren't consistent from state to state. Based on EnergySage quotes, you'll pay the most for a battery installation in Oregon and the least in California. Installers may be less familiar with batteries in certain states and charge more for labor. Or, they may tend to carry more expensive battery brands in your state, which can also drive up the price. 

The optimal battery size also varies by state based on weather, policies, electricity usage, and more. As we explain more below, battery size and cost go hand-in-hand. Take a look at the average battery cost in your state: 

Battery cost by state

State
Price Per K Wh*
Battery Size**
Total Installed Cost After The Federal Tax Credit
Arizona$1,206/kWh10.1 kWh$8,526
Arkansas$1,397/kWh10 kWh$9,779
California$1,090/kWh10.1 kWh$7,706
Colorado$1,397/kWh13.5 kWh$13,202
Connecticut$1,304/kWh13 kWh$11,866
Delaware$1,603/kWh9 kWh$10,099
Florida$1,244/kWh13 kWh$11,320
Georgia$1,381/kWh10.2 kWh$9,860
Idaho$1,458/kWh9.6 kWh$9,798
Illinois$1,438/kWh10.1 kWh$10,167
Indiana$1,222/kWh13.5 kWh$11,548
Iowa$1,111/kWh13.5 kWh$10,499
Kansas$1,438/kWh10.1 kWh$10,167
Kentucky$1,432/kWh15.4 kWh$15,437
Louisiana$1,481/kWh13.5 kWh$13,995
Maine$1,637/kWh10.1 kWh$11,574
Maryland$1,397/kWh10.1 kWh$9,877
Massachusetts$1,488/kWh10.1 kWh$10,520
Michigan$1,190/kWh13.4 kWh$11,162
Minnesota$1,250/kWh10.1 kWh$8,838
Missouri$1,406/kWh10.1 kWh$9,940
Nevada$1,185/kWh13 kWh$10,784
New Hampshire$1,719/kWh10.1 kWh$12,153
New Jersey$1,463/kWh10.1 kWh$10,343
New Mexico$1,333/kWh10.1 kWh$9,424
New York$1,304/kWh13 kWh$11,866
North Carolina$1,252/kWh13.5 kWh$11,831
Ohio$1,352/kWh13.5 kWh$12,776
Oklahoma$1,250/kWh13.5 kWh$11,813
Oregon$1,638/kWh15 kWh$17,199
Pennsylvania$1,406/kWh10.1 kWh$9,940
Rhode Island$1,587/kWh10.1 kWh$11,220
South Carolina$1,111/kWh13.5 kWh$10,499
Tennessee$1,085/kWh13.6 kWh$10,329
Texas$1,103/kWh13.5 kWh$10,423
Utah$1,546/kWh10.1 kWh$10,930
Vermont$1,471/kWh10.1 kWh$10,400
Virginia$1,397/kWh13.5 kWh$13,202
Washington$1,800/kWh10 kWh$12,600
Washington D.C.$1,577/kWh10.1 kWh$11,149
West Virginia$1,103/kWh13.6 kWh$10,501
Wisconsin$1,538/kWh10.1 kWh$10,874
Nationwide$1,265/kWh10.1 kWh$8,944 

*The median price per kWh quoted on EnergySage in the second half of 2023.
**The median useable battery capacity quoted on EnergySage in the second half of 2023.

The most significant cost factor of a battery installation is the equipment itself. What battery are you installing and how many do you need? What chemistry does the battery use to store energy and does it come with an inverter? 

Equipment costs typically account for 50-60% of the price of an energy storage system. Labor and project planning make up the bulk of the remaining costs, so choosing the right installer is key.

Your battery's quality

The first thing to consider when selecting a battery is its quality. Energy storage products must meet rigorous safety testing requirements, but there are still variations in the overall quality of batteries, which primarily comes down to chemistry.

Most home batteries use some form of lithium-ion chemistry to store electricity. The two most common types of lithium-ion batteries are nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) and lithium-iron phosphate (LFP). NMC batteries tend to be more power-dense while LFP batteries are more efficient, tend to last longer, and are slightly safer. On the EnergySage Marketplace, LFP batteries are often 30-50% more expensive than NMC batteries, though this still varies by brand.

Check our full list of the best solar batteries

How much battery storage you need

If you just want to back up a few critical loads, your solar battery cost will be on the lower end. If you're looking to back up your whole home or go off-grid, expect to pay a lot for battery storage. We're talking $80,000 to over 100,000 in some cases.  

Compared to solar panel systems, batteries are a bit less customizable in terms of size. It's usually pretty easy to add or subtract a single solar panel to get the ideal system size. It's more challenging to fine-tune the size of the battery, though this is improving. Some companies today offer very modular options for more flexible configurations. 

Your battery's inverter

Batteries store direct current (DC) electricity, but your appliances use alternating current (AC) electricity. You need an inverter to convert the DC electricity stored in your battery to usable AC electricity. Some batteries come with a hybrid inverter that also works with solar or a storage-specific inverter. If yours doesn't, you'll need to purchase one separately. The inverter could add a couple thousand dollars to your system cost. 

If you already have solar or not

Energy storage installations require significant electrical work. If you install storage at the same time as your solar system, you save money by getting the electrical work completed simultaneously. If you retrofit a battery to an existing solar system, you'll pay extra for labor, wiring, and in some cases, equipment.

If you need to upgrade or add a new electrical panel

As we said, big storage projects cost a lot of money. Most home battery systems today aren't large enough to cover all your electricity usage. This means you need to put specific circuits onto a critical load panel. A critical load panel functions like a secondary electrical panel. On the panel, you include the essential circuits that you want to remain energized in the event of an outage. 

While the critical load panel itself isn't costly, the electrical work required to install one can add up. Some battery companies today offer load management devices that make critical load panels unnecessary. If you have or choose to install a smart electrical panel, you also won't need a separate critical load panel for your battery.

The installer you choose

There's no one-size-fits-all storage solution. It's important to get multiple quotes and compare prices, the same way you would for other big purchases like a car or a new HVAC system.

If you use EnergySage's online quote comparison platform, solar and storage installers will compete for your business, helping drive down the price. We vet all the installers on our platform, so you can feel confident that you're getting a quality solar-plus-storage system.

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