SimpliPhi Power batteries for homes: the complete review
Last updated 8/27/2018
SimpliPhi Power is the U.S. based manufacturer of home energy batteries. The company, originally established under the name LibertyPak, has been innovating energy solutions for both grid-tied and off-grid applications since 2002.
How do SimpliPhi's batteries measure up against all the others? Read on to learn more about SimpliPhi Power battery costs, technology, and warranty coverage.
What is the SimpliPhi Power battery system?
SimpliPhi produces batteries that can pair with a solar panel installation to store energy at home, help you manage energy costs, and provide backup power. SimpliPhi’s PHI batteries are most commonly used for residential installations, and offer anywhere from 1.3 to 3.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy storage each. Depending on your budget and why you want a home battery, you can choose to install a single SimpliPhi battery or multiple batteries.
Installing a solar-plus-storage system at your home is a great way to take control of your electricity bill, but it doesn’t mean that you’re completely disconnected from your utility. Going "off the grid" with solar and batteries is possible, but you won’t be able to achieve that with a single home battery.
California Governor Jerry Brown went off the grid with SimpliPhi batteries at his family home outside of Sacramento. His solar-plus-storage system includes 10 SimpliPhi batteries, and he also has a backup natural gas generator. If going off grid is your goal, prepare yourself to spend a fair amount of money and time to set up your property.
How does SimpliPhi Power’s battery work?
The SimpliPhi home battery is a smart choice to pair with a solar panel system, especially if your utility has reduced or no net metering, time-of-use rates, or demand charges. Installing a solar storage solution like SimpliPhi’s battery allows you to store solar power at home for you to use later when electricity is more expensive.
As with other energy storage products, the SimpliPhi is sized for day-to-day use at your home, and is usually installed alongside a home solar panel system. You can store your solar energy at home in the SimpliPhi battery pack instead of sending it back into the electric grid. Later, you can use the electricity stored in your home battery instead of having to buy it from your utility.
How are SimpliPhi's batteries different from other home batteries?
One big difference between SimpliPhi and other home batteries is in their chemical composition. SimpliPhi batteries use lithium ferro phosphate (LFP), a special type of lithium ion battery chemistry. Unlike many other home batteries, LFP batteries don’t use cobalt, a metal that is becoming more expensive as home batteries and electric cars take off. LFP batteries are also less sensitive to high temperatures than other lithium ion batteries.
Additionally, SimpliPhi batteries are smaller than other home batteries like the Tesla Powerwall and Sonnen eco. Installed alone, they aren’t designed to take you off the grid or provide backup power. (To do that, you’d need to install a whole row of SimpliPhi batteries.)
Instead, a SimpliPhi battery can help you increase your “self-consumption” of solar energy throughout the day, which can reduce your electric bills if your utility has time-of-use (TOU) rates or demand charges.
Places with time-of-use (TOU) electricity rates, such as California, have electricity prices that vary throughout the day. When your electricity rates are higher (typically in the mid-to-late afternoon), you can use the energy stored in your battery instead of buying from the utility.
Utilities in Arizona and Massachusetts are starting to roll out demand charges for homeowners. Demand charges are higher if you draw a lot of electricity from the grid at once. If you have a SimpliPhi battery to store energy on-site, you can reduce the amount of energy you need from the grid, which can save you money.
What warranties come with SimpliPhi’s battery system, and how long does the battery last?
SimpliPhi batteries come with a manufacturer warranty in the event that the battery pack malfunctions. If you install a SimpliPhi battery, you’re covered under a warranty of 10 years or 10,000 “cycles.” (Every time you charge and then draw from your battery, that’s considered one cycle. Most residential homeowners who are connected to the grid won’t cycle more than once or twice a day.)
SimpliPhi battery technology is similar to other rechargeable batteries both large and small: as time goes on, the battery loses some of its ability to hold a charge. Think of how the battery life of a brand-new smartphone compares to one that is a few years old. As you continually charge and drain your phone’s battery, it starts to lose some of its ability to hold a charge.
The life of your SimpliPhi battery will deteriorate in the same way. That isn’t an indicator of a product flaw – all batteries lose some of their ability to hold a charge over time, whether it’s an electric vehicle battery, a home energy battery, or a rechargeable AA battery.
Home energy storage is a relatively new product area, and the cost of installing a battery can be high for some homeowners. If you’re thinking about going solar but don’t want to invest in a battery just yet, you can ask your solar installer to design a "storage ready" solar system with an inverter that is intended to be used with a battery. That way, if you decide to install one down the line, you won’t have to overhaul your system.
How much do SimpliPhi batteries cost?
The installed cost for a SimpliPhi battery depends on the specifics of your home, as well as your location, taxes, and available incentives. Because it’s smaller than other home batteries, it comes with a lower price tag. The cost of one SimpliPhi battery, before installation, is $3,000 to $3,500.
If you want to install a SimpliPhi battery as part of a solar-plus-storage system, battery costs are just one part of the equation. An average 5 kilowatt (kW) solar energy system costs anywhere from $9,000 to $15,000 depending on where you live and the type of equipment you choose. That may sound like a lot of money, but installing a solar-plus-storage system can be a worthwhile long-term investment – and you can save significantly on installation costs by installing both technologies at once.
Solar battery economics depend on a few different factors. Whether or not SimpliPhi’s home storage solution makes sense for you is determined by the way that your electric utility structures its rates, the size of your solar system, how much you value backup power, and your reasons for installing a solar battery.
In some cases, depending on where you live, you may have access to financial incentives that can reduce your home energy storage installation costs. If you live in California, you could get a cash rebate worth up to $400 per kWh to cover a portion of your home battery costs through the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). (You can find the most current SGIP incentives at the Center for Sustainable Energy website.
Other states (such as Massachusetts) are in the early stages of evaluating potential energy storage incentives as well. Most recently, Maryland established a solar battery tax credit worth up to $5,000 for homeowners.
Where to buy SimpliPhi batteries
Whether you want to install a SimpliPhi battery or other home battery pack, you will need to work through a certified installer. Adding energy storage technology to your home is a complicated process that requires electrical expertise, certifications, and knowledge of the best practices required to install a solar-plus-storage system correctly.
A qualified EnergySage-approved company can give you the best recommendation about the SimpliPhi home battery and other energy storage options available to homeowners today. If you are interested in receiving competing installation quotes for solar and energy storage options from local installers near you, simply join the EnergySage Solar Marketplace today and indicate what products you’re interested in your profile’s preferences section.