Q.HOME CORE expert review: all about Qcell’s new energy storage system
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Qcells is one of the most trusted names in solar, so it's no surprise its panels are installed on more homes than any other brand in the U.S. The company isn’t just all about solar panels - they’ve been in the energy storage business since 2016.
The latest version of the Qcells battery was launched in September 2022 at the RE+ conference in Anaheim. The updated version, called the Qcells Q.HOME CORE, is a complete home energy storage solution that includes an inverter, a modular battery, and an energy management hub.
Is the Q.HOME CORE an improvement on the company’s battery system? Let's look closer and determine whether it's right for your home.
The Q.HOME CORE system consists of three components:
Each piece has a sleek, thin, all-white design, so it’s not an eyesore when installed. It’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor installation, making it easier to find a place to put it.
Qcells’ battery comes with an integrated solar battery inverter, the Q.Volt. The inverter converts the DC energy stored in the battery into AC electricity that home appliances can use.
The Q.Volt inverter comes in two sizes: one that supports solar systems up to 7.6 kilowatts (kW) in size and one that is designed for larger systems up to 15.2 kW. The inverter is located at the top of the battery unit and connects to the battery modules below.
The Q.HOME CORE system is scalable, meaning you can install more or less battery units depending on your needs. Each battery pack, a Q.SAVE unit, has a total storage capacity of 5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) - enough power to run a standard refrigerator for about 10 hours.
You can purchase a Q.HOME CORE storage solution with two, three, or four Q.SAVE units to get the amount of storage that suits your lifestyle best!
The Q.HOME HUB is the energy management system for the Q.HOME CORE. This is where the batteries are wired together and connected to the electrical service panel. You can think of it as the communication center of the system, where the grid, solar system, and battery all connect.
The Qcells Q.HOME CORE storage system has some solid operating specs.
|Model||Q.SAVE D10.0SX||Q.SAVE D15.0SX||Q.SAVE D20.0SX|
|Number of battery modules||2||3||4|
|Usable energy||9 kWh||13.5 kWh||18 kWh|
|Round trip efficiency||95%||95%||95%|
|Maximum power output||5.5 kW||8.3 kW||11.1 kW|
The usable capacity measures how much energy you can store and use from your battery system. Capacity is often used to describe the size of the battery.
The Q.SAVE comes in three sizes: 9 kWh, 13.5 kWh, and 18 kWh. Most homeowners will be fine with the 9 or 13.5 kWh options. But bigger homes may need more storage, which is where the 18 kWh comes in handy.
You may also want more capacity if you run your appliances off-grid for an extended period. For example, if you live somewhere that experiences regular prolonged blackouts, a bigger battery can run your key electrical loads for longer.
The maximum power output is the highest amount of power a battery can release to run appliances.
Usually, we would tell you to check out the continuous power output, as that tells out the output a battery can sustain over a long time. But Qcells only lists the maximum power, which a battery is typically only capable of releasing in short bursts.
Most batteries usually have a continuous power output of 5 kW, so the Q.HOME CORE’s maximum output of 5.5. kW is a little low. You can probably find more powerful batteries if you need to run more power-hungry appliances.
A battery’s round-trip efficiency gives you an idea of how a battery stores and releases energy. 95% efficiency is great and means there are minimal energy losses in the storage process.
|Equipment cost||Installation labor costs||Total installed cost|
|$7,500 - $13,300||$3,000||$10,500 - $18,300|
The Qcells Q.HOME CORE battery costs somewhere between $10,500 and $18,300, including installation. The price will vary depending on the battery size you install and the installer you choose. Most solar battery installations fall in this price range.
That’s a lot of money, but the Q.HOME CORE qualifies for the 30% federal solar tax credit, which helps reduce the cost of installing a battery system. Other solar battery rebates and incentive programs may be available to cut the price further!
The entire Q.HOME CORE system should last for at least a decade. The Q.VOLT inverter and Q.HUB management system come with 10-year warranties.
The Q.SAVE batteries come with a 6,000-cycle or 10-year warranty, whichever comes first. This is a great warranty, and you can likely expect to reach the full ten years before you hit 6,000 cycles.
However, the warranty also states that after 6,000 cycles or ten years, the battery will operate at 60% of its capacity. Most solar battery systems sold today retain at least 70% of their capacity at the end of their warranty period. So, the Qcells Q.HOME CORE degrades a bit faster than some competitors.
Overall, the Q.HOME CORE is a pretty average energy storage system. It doesn’t wow us when it comes to performance specs, and the warranty isn’t as good as what some competitors offer, but because it’s coming from Qcells, it’s likely a reliable system.
Qcells is one of the most popular and trusted brands in the solar industry. In fact, they took the top spot in our list of the best solar manufacturers of 2023. The company makes high-quality products and provides great customer service. Plus, the system looks great. The design is thin and discrete so that it won’t stand out in your garage or on the side of your home.
We wouldn’t go out of our way to seek out a Q.HOME CORE, but if presented with a quote from a trusted solar company for a reasonable price, it wouldn’t be a deal breaker. The system will get the job done for what most homeowners need, and if you’re getting Qcells panels, it’s always a plus to have equipment from the same brand. If you’re looking for something powerful enough to run large appliances or last a little bit longer, there are other great solar battery brands to choose from.
The best way to find the right energy storage system for you is by talking to solar installers in your area. Local solar companies can give you insight into what batteries will meet your needs and what systems your neighbors have liked the best so you can start storing your solar energy!