NeoVolta: Is this new solar battery brand here to stay?
In 2018, retired Marine Corps Colonel Brent Willson saw a huge gap in the home energy storage system market. There were high performance batteries like the sonnen Eco that cost an arm and a leg to install, and decent performance batteries, like the Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem, that were more affordable. Wilson sought to find the middle ground.
Thus, NeoVolta Inc. was born. The company’s flagship battery uses lithium iron phosphate (LFP) technology for improved performance and safety, and comes at a reasonable price. NeoVolta is based in San Diego, and their products are manufactured right here in the U.S.
Despite being a relatively young company, NeoVolta has seen a fair share of success. But is the NeoVolta the right home battery for you? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
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How does the NeoVolta solar battery work?
The NeoVolta battery works like any other solar battery - the battery is connected to a solar panel system and is then charged with the solar power the panels produce. The stored solar energy is released from the battery when you need it, like at night or any other time when your solar panels aren’t producing any electricity.
Learn more: How solar batteries work
Not only does the NeoVolta battery power your appliances when the sun goes down, it can also keep them running when the power goes out. Many people don’t realize that when the power goes out, your solar panels turn off, too. If you want your panels to stay on, you need to pair your system with a storage battery like the NeoVolta.
The purchase of a NeoVolta battery includes:
- The battery itself
- An integrated battery inverter (if needed)
- A built-in automatic transfer switch
- The installation of a critical load panel, so the battery knows which electrical loads (which is anything that uses power to operate) to power during a blackout
NeoVolta batteries can also be paired with standby generators for extra resilience in case of a power outage.
How much does a NeoVolta solar battery cost?
NeoVolta doesn’t explicitly list the price of their battery, but based on the information that is on their website, you can expect to pay between $13,000 and $15,000 before incentives for a NeoVolta battery.
At first glance, this price seems a little high compared to other batteries on the market. The Tesla Powerwall, for instance, sells for about $8,500 before installation, and $10,500 after. Similarly, the LG Chem RESU Prime sells for about $8,000 before installation and $11,000 after. However, the installation of a NeoVolta includes the cost of adding a critical load panel to your home, which these other battery brands don’t include in their initial pricing.
The good news is, batteries qualify for the 26% federal solar tax credit when they’re paired with a solar panel system. There are also many states and utilities that offer additional energy storage incentives, like California's SGIP program that can cover thousands of dollars of the costs of installing a battery.
Key specifications for NeoVolta
NeoVolta’s primary residential battery is the NV14. Let’s take a closer look at what features the NV14 has to offer:
|Power capacity||14.4 kWh|
|Continuous power output||7.6 kW|
|Depth of discharge||90%|
|Dimensions||38" L x 10" W x 50.5" H|
|AC or DC-coupled?||Both|
|Warranty||70% at 10 years or 4,000 cycles|
NeoVolta has an additional battery model called the NV24. When you install an NV24 system, you install one NV14 battery plus an additional 9.6 kWh battery (AKA the NV24). The specifications for the additional battery are nearly identical to the NV14 in all aspects, except for how much power the battery can store.
The power capacity of a battery tells you how much electricity the battery can store for you to use, measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). NeoVolta’s NV14 can store 14.4 kWh of electricity, which is about enough to cover the average American household’s daily energy usage.
Most solar batteries on the market today have a power capacity between 10 kWh and 15 kWh. NeoVolta’s 14.4 kWh storage capacity falls on the higher side of average for lithium ion solar batteries. For reference, a NeoVolta battery can store more than the Tesla Powerwall, which has a usable capacity of 13.5 kWh.
NeoVolta also has their NV24 version, which lets you expand your storage system to 24 kWh of capacity. Most homeowners don’t need this much storage, but it is a great option for houses that consume high amounts of electricity.
Solar batteries store electricity produced by your solar panels, but the battery system needs to use some of that solar energy to actually store and release the power. The efficiency of a battery system will give you an idea of how much power that is sent to your battery will actually be used by your home.
The NV14 has an efficiency rating of 94%, which is pretty good for a solar battery. Most lithium ion solar batteries today have an efficiency rating of 90% or higher.
Continuous power output
The continuous power output rating of a battery tells you how much electricity a battery can release for a home to use for a prolonged period of time. This gives you an idea of how many and what kind of appliances the battery will be able to backup.
The NV14 punches in at 7.6 kW of continuous power, which is higher than the industry average of 5 kW. This means you can power more appliances at once with a NeoVolta than you can with a battery like the sonnenCore.
Depth of discharge
Depth of discharge tells you what portion of the total capacity has been discharged from the battery. Most batteries list a recommended DoD of how much of the battery’s capacity you can use before it will negatively affect the battery’s cycle life.
NeoVolta doesn’t explicitly list a recommended DoD, but they do highlight 90% DoD to get 6,000 cycles out of the battery on the NV14 data sheet. So, we’ll take that as the recommended DoD.
Residential solar batteries today tend to have a high cycle life between 90% and 100%, so NeoVolta’s 90% DoD is comparable to most batteries on the market. The 90% DoD means that you can use 12.96 kWh of the 14.4 kWh of electricity stored within the NV14.
AC and DC-coupled
Batteries can either be AC-coupled or DC-coupled. AC-coupled batteries come with a built-in inverter and are usually better suited for adding a battery to a pre-existing solar panel system, whereas DC batteries are easier to install as a part of a new solar panel system.
You can purchase either an AC-coupled or DC-coupled version of the NeoVolta NV14.
Learn more: AC vs. DC-coupled batteries
NeoVolta manufactures lithium iron phosphate batteries. LFP batteries are still considered lithium-ion batteries, but they don’t contain cobalt, making them safer than the more commonly used nickel manganese cadmium (NMC) batteries.
Because of their lack of cobalt, LFP batteries are less susceptible to catching on fire because the chemistry remains stable at high temperatures, and they are much easier to recycle at the end of their life. If safety is a main concern of yours when looking for a solar battery, then you probably want to consider an LFP model.
What is NeoVolta’s battery warranty?
As you use a battery, it loses some of its ability to hold a charge. Think about your cell phone - the battery life probably lasted much longer when you first bought it compared to now. A battery’s warranty will give you an idea of how long the battery will last, and how much electricity it will be able to hold over time.
There is a little bit of confusion about what exactly NeoVolta’s warranty is. A recent press release says that the company offers a 6,000 cycle warranty, their FAQ page lists a 4,000 cycle warranty with 80% DoD, and the warranty sheet on their website has a 4,000 cycle warranty with no mention of depth of discharge anywhere. For now, we’re going to focus on the full warranty statement found on their website that you can read here.
NeoVolta’s site states that your NV14 will operate at its full rated capacity for 5 years or after it reaches 2,000 cycles. After 7 years, it will operate at 80% of its original capacity. No cycles are listed for the 7-year benchmark. Finally, after the earlier of either 10 years or 4,000 cycles, the NV14 will operate at 70% of its original capacity.
This warranty is pretty great. 4,000 cycles translates to completely discharging and recharging the battery every single day for almost 11 years. Plus, they include how the battery will operate after 7 years of use - most batteries only list the 10-year performance threshold.
In order to guarantee your battery is covered, you must register your NeoVolta battery on the NeoVolta website. The battery must also have access to a stable WiFi connection to allow for monitoring and to allow NeoVolta to complete remote firmware updates.
Can you go off-grid with a NeoVolta battery?
Short answer: no.
NeoVolta’s batteries are designed for grid-tied solar systems and are not suitable for whole-home backup. The company does offer their NV24 battery to increase battery capacity, but that likely isn’t enough to go completely off-grid.
The NV14 is best suited for daily use to increase energy independence from the utility grid and for partial home backup of critical loads such as refrigerators, lights, WiFi, and device charging in the event of a power outage.
Where can you buy a NeoVolta battery?
It’s unclear if NeoVolta batteries are available in all 50 states. At the very least, it seems they are available in California, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The company has expanded rapidly since they first opened up shop in 2018, so if NeoVolta isn’t available in your state now, they could be in the near future.
NeoVolta batteries must be purchased and installed by a NeoVolta-certified installer, otherwise the warranty is voided. You can find NeoVolta certified installers through the NeoVolta website.
Is the NeoVolta the right battery for you?
NeoVolta offers a great battery product if you're looking for partial home backup. The NV14 is safe and performs great, thanks to its battery chemistry. Plus, it's assembled right here in the U.S., so you’ll be supporting an American-based company. What’s not to love?
Well, we can answer that - unfortunately, it’s the confusion about their warranty. In all likelihood, it was an oversight and the warranty information just hasn’t been updated on their website yet to match their press release. But, it’s still something to keep in mind. Even the possibly-outdated warranty listed on their site is a good one though, which leads us to believe that the battery will operate well over time.
You may also be wary because NeoVolta is a newer company. Despite that, in March 2021, the company reported almost $4 million in revenue over 9 months, and they’ve been expanding their service area and their production facilities. Even though NeoVolta is relatively young, they seem to be financially stable.
Keep in mind, solar batteries aren’t always the most economical choice, and are oftentimes luxury items that above everything else, provide peace of mind. If your utility still offers full-retail net metering and you don’t experience regular, prolonged blackouts, a battery probably isn’t right for you. But, solar panels still could be.
In much of the U.S., solar panels are a worthwhile investment for homeowners. You can find out how much solar panels can save you by using our solar panel calculator below.
- NeoVolta is a new California-based solar battery company.
- NeoVolta’s NV14 battery will cost between $13,000 and $15,000 to install, before incentives.
- The NV14 is a 14.4 kWh lithium iron phosphate solar battery that meets or exceeds most solar battery performance standards.
- NeoVolta offers an impressive warranty, however, it is unclear which warranty on their site is the most up to date.
- NeoVolta batteries are suitable for partial home backup for grid-tied systems, not for going completely off the grid.