Q.HOME CORE expert review: all about Qcell’s new energy storage system

Updated

The new Q.HOME CORE at the 2022 RE+ Conference
Qcells debuted its new complete energy storage system, Q.HOME CORE, at the 2022 RE+ Conference. Image source: Twitter

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 take a closer look and find out whether it's right for your home.

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Key takeaways

  • Qcells’ Q.HOME CORE energy system includes the Q.VOLT inverter, Q.SAVE battery, and Q.HOME HUB for energy management.
  • The battery can hold between 9 and 18 kWh of usable energy storage.
  • Official pricing has not been released for the complete Q.HOME CORE system, but it can be expected to cost more than $12,000.
  • Qcells’ offers an excellent battery performance warranty of 6,000 cycles or 10 years, whichever comes first.
  • The Q.HOME CORE system could make Qcells a popular choice not just for solar panels, but for energy storage as well.

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    Features of the Qcells Q.HOME CORE energy storage system

    The Q.HOME CORE system consists of three components:

    • The Q.VOLT inverter
    • The Q.SAVE battery
    • The Q.HOME HUB

    The Q.VOLT inverter comes in two sizes: one that supports solar systems up to 7.6 kW in size, and one that is designed for larger systems up to 15.2 kW in size. The inverter is located at the top of the system and connects to the Q.SAVE battery modules below.

    The Q.SAVE battery is modular, meaning you can add or remove modules, or battery packs, to store the amount of energy that’s right for you. Each module has a total capacity of 5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) - that’s enough power to run a standard refrigerator for about 10 hours. You can choose to have two, three, or four modules in your Q.SAVE battery, for a maximum total capacity of 20 kWh.

    Qcells recommends using only 90% of the stored energy to preserve the battery's health. So, a four-module Q.SAVE system will be able to store a total of 20 kWh of energy, but only 18 kWh are available for you to use. That’s still plenty of storage - you can run a refrigerator, a WiFi router, and a few lights for a full 24 hours with 18 kWh!

    Another key thing to note is the battery’s power output, which tells you how many appliances the battery can power at once. Qcells only lists the Q.SAVE’s maximum power output, not the continuous output, so it’s hard to know exactly what appliances you can run with the Q.SAVE. The maximum power output ratings for the Q.SAVE fall in line with industry standards, with ratings from 5.5 kilowatts (kW) to 11.1 kW.

    Table 1: Technical specifications of the Q.SAVE battery

    Model Q.SAVE D10.0SX Q.SAVE D15.0SX Q.SAVE D20.0SX
    Number of battery modules 2 3 4
    Total energy 10 kWh 15 kWh 20 kWh
    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

     

    How much does the Q.HOME CORE system cost?

    Qcells doesn’t list any official price for the new Q.HOME CORE energy systems, and being that it won’t be available until November 2022, we probably won’t hear any rumored pricing for a few months.

    See how much solar + storage will cost for your home

    How long will the Q.HOME CORE system last?

    The entire Q.HOME CORE system should all operate for at least a decade. The Q.VOLT inverter and Q.HUB management system both come with 10-year warranties.

    How long the actual battery lasts depends on how you use it. The Q.SAVE battery comes with a 6,000-cycle or 10-year warranty, whichever comes first. This is a great warranty, and you can likely expect your battery to last for the full 10 years. The battery has a high cycle life thanks to its lithium iron phosphate chemistry, which makes it last longer and is safer to use than the modules used in other batteries, like the Tesla Powerwall.

    However, we wish Qcells listed the capacity retention at the end of the warranty, which tells you how much energy your battery will be able to store by the end of the warranty period compared to how much it could hold initially. You see, every time you use a battery it slowly loses its ability to hold a charge. Think of your cell phone battery - you probably need to charge it up more now than you did when you first got it.

    Most batteries on the market today are able to hold 70% of their initial capacity by the end of the warranty term. The Q.SAVE will probably fall somewhere in this average range, but we don’t know for sure.

    The bottom line: The Q.HOME CORE system looks promising

    The Q.HOME CORE system is still very new, so we don’t have all of the information we’d like, like operating modes of the battery, expected capacity retention at the end of the warranty, or pricing. But from what we do know, it seems like it could be a solid home energy storage option.

    For one thing, Qcells is a very reliable brand so you can trust them to make high-quality products and provide good customer support if needed. Plus, every part of the Q.HOME CORE system comes from one company, so if there is an issue you are only dealing with Qcells instead of fumbling around trying to find which part of the system isn’t working and find who to call. This also makes installation easier, as each component is specifically designed to work together.

    Not to mention, the entire system looks great. We got to see it in person at the RE+ conference this year and its sleek all-white design is a huge upgrade from the company’s previous energy storage model.

    With the combination of Qcells' reputation and the information we’ve seen about the energy storage system so far, it definitely seems like the Q.HOME CORE could be a great choice for homeowners looking for a battery storage solution. Qcells is already on more residential roofs in the U.S. than any other solar panel brand, this system could set them on the path to be in homes too.

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     - 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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