Battery Recycling | Can Solar Batteries Be Recycled?


Disposing of solar batteries that have come to the end of their life-cycle has become an increasing environmental challenge for Australia.

Luckily, most solar systems and batteries have at least some part of them that can be recycled. Let’s take a look at the different types of solar batteries and how they stack up when it comes to sustainable disposal.

Lead-Acid Batteries and RecyclingSA home battery subsidy

Although lead-acid batteries cannot be disposed of in our regular garbage bins, solar lead-acid batteries have one of the best recyclable percentages at 90-98%.

Lead plates of a lead-acid battery can be recycled back into a new battery, hard plastics can be melted to make plastic pellets and the acid can be neutralised and discharged.

The best place to ensure your solar lead-acid battery gets recycled appropriately is to drop it either to a scrap metal recycler or the original manufacturer.

Solar Battery StorageLithium-ion Battery Recycling

Lithium-ion solar batteries are among the most popular battery choices in Australia. 

At the moment only 5% of a lithium-ion battery can be recycled and this percentage is set to lower again as cobalt (the most valuable element) begins to be removed from newer lithium-ion battery designs.

Other elements that are usually extracted from a lithium-ion battery are lithium phosphate, nickel and cobalt.

Flow Batteries Recycled

Sourced from gtm:

As a popular battery type for large-scale solar projects flow batteries are relatively new to the market.

Containing the rare mineral vanadium, recycling of flow batteries are of interest to many manufacturers around the world. However, there are not many available companies that can currently conduct this kind of recycling. Here is the current breakdown of the elements that can be recycled in a flow battery:

  • Zinc Bromine
  • Plastics and acid 
  • Zinc iron redox flow 
  • Vanadium 

Battery Recycling | Sodium Nickle-Chloride Batteries 

Sodium-Nickle-Chloride batteries are one of the most recyclable solar batteries on the market. Containing no toxic or hazardous materials, existing stainless steel and road paving industries are already equipped to 100% recycle these kinds of batteries.

Elements that are extracted for repurposing are: Nickle, sodium, chloride, sodium, aluminium, iron, copper and plastics.

How To Recycle A Dead Solar Battery 

The best way to recycle solar batteries is through a licensed battery recycling plant or the original manufacturer. When installing your solar battery ensure to ask about the available types of recycling options.

Solar BatteryInterested In Solar Batteries?

Solar batteries allow solar system users to store and use their solar energy during non-daylight hours. Solar batteries mean you can be more energy efficient and autonomous with your electricity use.

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By connecting you with local CEC accredited installers within your area, Solar Market ensures you are getting reputable and tailored information specific to your needs and property type.

Find out the best solar battery for you by getting three no-obligation quotes below!

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.

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