Complete review of the Q CELLS Q.HOME solar battery

Updated

Q CELLS is one of the top solar panel manufacturers in the solar industry. Not only were they the preferred supplier for Tesla solar panel installations, they’ve also been rated one of SolarReviews’ top 10 solar panel brands.

But does Q CELLS’ newest solar battery, the Q.HOME+ ESS HYB-G1 (aka the Q.HOME), meet the same elite standard as their solar panels? The answer may surprise you. 

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    Is your home suitable for solar battery storage?

    How does the Q.HOME battery work?

    The Q CELLS Q.HOME battery is designed to be used daily with residential rooftop solar panel systems. Any solar energy your solar panel system produces that your home doesn’t use will be sent to your battery. 

    At night, the stored energy is released from the battery to power your home so you don’t have to take electricity from your utility. The Q.HOME also serves as a backup power source in the event of a power outage. 

    The Q.HOME comes with 4 operating modes: 

    • Force Time Use
    • Self Use
    • Back Up Mode
    • Feed in Priority 

    However, Q CELLS doesn’t provide additional information regarding what these operating modes entail and how they differ. 

    You can monitor your Q.HOME battery’s performance right from your smartphone or computer using Q CELLS’ built-in monitoring technology

    How much does a Q.HOME battery cost?

    Q CELLS has not released any official pricing for the Q.HOME battery, but you can expect to pay between $7,000 and $20,000 depending on what size battery you purchase. 

    The good news is, batteries that are installed with solar panels qualify for the 26% federal solar tax credit, and many states and utilities offer energy storage rebates, so you’ll be able to save on some of the upfront costs. 

    Find out what solar battery storage rebates and incentives you qualify for here

    Q CELLS Q.HOME battery specifications

    The Q.HOME is a modular battery, which means it actually isn’t one single battery. Instead, the Q.HOME is made up of small, individual battery packs that are wired together to operate as one storage system. The modular design allows Q CELLS to easily manufacture multiple battery sizes.

    The Q.HOME battery will be built with one of two modular battery packs: a 4.5 kWh pack or a 6.3 kWh pack. Let’s take a look at how these batteries perform:

    Table 1. Q.HOME battery specifications
    Specification 4.5 kWh pack 6.3 kWh pack
    Usable capacity 4.5 kWh 6.3 kWh
    Round-trip efficiency 96.7% 96.7%
    Power output 7.5 kW 7.5 kW
    Depth of discharge 90% 90%
    AC or DC-coupled Both Both
    Chemistry Nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) Nickel manganese cobalt (NMC)
    Warranty 60% at 10 years or 13.5 MWh throughput 60% at 10 years or 18.9 MWh throughput

    Usable capacity  

    The usable capacity tells you how much electricity you can use and store in your battery, and it’s measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The individual battery packs have usable capacity ratings of 4.5 kWh and 6.3 kWh. 

    As we said earlier, the Q. HOME is a modular battery, so these individual battery packs can be stacked together to create a larger battery. This means that a Q.HOME battery can be designed to store as little as 4.5 kWh or as much as 18.9 kWh. 

    The modular design is great, as it allows homeowners to choose what battery will best suit their lifestyle. For most homeowners, a 10 kWh battery will adequately meet their needs. But, if you consume a lot of energy, or you want to be able to run your appliances for longer periods of time, a larger battery might work better for you. Either way, the Q.HOME gives you that option. 

    Power output 

    A battery’s power output rating tells you how much electricity the battery can release, measured in kilowatts (kW). This gives you an idea of how many, and which appliances the battery can run. 

    Most residential solar batteries on the market today have a power output rating of 5 kW. The Q.HOME comes in at an above-average power rating of 7.5 kW. With a 7.5 kW power output rating, the Q.HOME will be able to power your lights, refrigerator, outlets to charge devices, and a few smaller appliances.

    Round-trip efficiency 

    The solar battery system needs to use some of the electricity generated by the solar panels to actually store and release electricity. Round-trip efficiency tells you how efficient that process is. The higher the round-trip efficiency rating of a battery, the better - because that means more of the electricity your solar panels produce can actually be used by your home. 

    The Q.HOME has a round-trip efficiency rating of 96.7%, meaning only 3.3% of the electricity sent to the battery is used to store and release the energy. Anything above 90% is considered a good round-trip efficiency rating. 

    Depth of discharge 

    The recommended depth of discharge (DoD) of a battery is how much of the battery’s capacity you can use before the battery needs to be recharged. As a general rule of thumb, any DoD rating above 90% is fine for a lithium ion battery. 

    The Q.HOME has a DoD rating of 90%, which means you can discharge 90% of the battery’s capacity before having to recharge it. If discharged further than 90%, you run the risk of damaging the battery and shortening its lifespan. 

    Many batteries on the market today, like the Tesla Powerwall and the Enphase Encharge, have a 100% DoD rating, meaning all of the power stored in the battery can be used without causing damage to the battery. While this is a great feature, having a DoD lower than 100% isn’t a dealbreaker.  

    AC and DC-coupling

    The Q.HOME battery can be installed with either AC or DC-coupled solar systems. We won’t get into the details of what that means here, but it basically means the Q.HOME can be easily paired with an existing solar panel system. It can also easily be installed at the same time as a new solar panel system installation. 

    Learn more: Is a DC or AC battery right for your solar home?

    What’s great about the Q.HOME is that it comes with a hybrid inverter. Hybrid inverters connect to both the battery and the solar system, so the two can work together even when the power goes out. 

    Plus, hybrid inverters usually include other components, like charge controllers and monitoring equipment. Having all of these components in one neat package reduces how much equipment you need to install and how much space the storage system will take up. 

    Chemistry 

    The Q.HOME is a lithium ion battery - more specifically, a nickel manganese cobalt battery. Nickel manganese cobalt batteries, also called NMC batteries, are the most common type of lithium ion solar battery on the market. 

    NMC batteries are able to store more power in a smaller amount of space than lead acid batteries, or even other types of lithium ion batteries, like lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. However, NMC batteries tend to have lower safety ratings and are harder to recycle at the end of their life than LFP batteries. 

    What is the Q CELLS Q.HOME battery warranty?

    The Q.HOME warranty states the battery modules will operate at 60% of their original capacity after 10 years or after the battery releases a certain amount of electricity, whichever comes first. 

    The amount of energy the battery can release before it reaches 60% capacity, also referred to as the throughput, is outlined in the following table: 

    Table 2. Q.HOME battery throughput
    Battery pack Throughput
    4.5 kWh 13.5 MWh
    6.3 kWh 18.9 MWh

    This means that the 4.5 kWh Q.HOME battery pack will operate at 60% of its original capacity after 10 years, as long as it hasn’t released more than 13.5 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity. To spread out 13.5 MWh over 10 years, you could only use 3.69 kWh per day from the battery pack, otherwise the battery would reach 60% of its capacity before 10 years is up. 

    We’re going to be honest, we’re not crazy about the Q.HOME’s warranty. Most batteries today offer warranties that guarantee they will operate at 70% of their original capacity after 10 years. Basically, this warranty tells us that the Q.HOME won’t last as long as other batteries on the market.  

    Is the Q CELLS Q.HOME the right solar battery for your home?

    The Q.HOME isn’t the most impressive battery on the market right now, but it’s not bad by any means. In general, it will perform like most batteries. It has decent specs and the same basic functionality as other batteries. 

    The biggest advantage to the Q.HOME is its modular design, which gives you more variety when choosing what size battery will work best for you. Plus, it's offered in both AC and DC models, so even if you already have solar panels you can easily install the Q.HOME. 

    But, we can’t help but be disappointed by the Q.HOME’s warranty. Operating at 60% capacity after ten years is much lower than the industry standard of 70%. Plus, the throughput threshold the warranty outlines basically guarantees that you’ll be operating at 60% capacity before the battery even gets the chance to reach 10 years in age. 

    Then there’s the pricing issue. Q CELLS doesn’t list the price for the Q.HOME online, and there are plenty of other battery manufacturers that don’t list their pricing online either. But, without the price, it makes it hard to gauge if the Q.HOME is a good value for the money or if you’re better off going with another battery. 

    Overall, the Q CELLS Q.HOME is a decent battery that will successfully cover your energy needs. There are longer-lasting batteries that offer better performance, but Q CELLS is a reputable brand, so you can at least expect a high-quality product and decent customer support. 

    Find out how much you can save monthly by switching to solar

    Key takeaways

    • Popular solar panel manufacturer, Q CELLS, released the Q.HOME modular solar battery that can store up to 18.9 kWh of electricity.
    • The Q.HOME has both high power output and round-trip efficiency ratings.
    • Q CELLS offers a 10-year performance warranty on the Q.HOME that falls short of industry standards.
    • No official pricing has been released for the Q.HOME, but homeowners can expect to pay between $7,000 and $20,000 for an installation depending on the battery size.
     - Author of Solar Reviews

    Catherine Lane

    SolarReviews Blog Author

    Catherine is a researcher and content specialist at SolarReviews. She has strong interests in issues related to climate and sustainability which led her to pursue a degree in environmental science at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

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