FranklinWH Battery: Cost, Key Features, and Installer Reviews
With utility rates and grid outages on the rise, there is more reason than ever for homeowners to generate and store their own electricity. Solar and battery systems are clearly the most viable and affordable alternative to grid dependence – the only question is which products will give homeowners the most bang for their buck.
In 2022, FranklinWH unveiled its flagship product – the Franklin Home Power (FHP) system – and immediately piqued the interest of installers and homeowners searching for a legitimate “whole home” backup solution.
In this article, we’ll put the FranklinWH Home Power system under the microscope, focusing especially on:
- Franklin Home Power system cost
- Components and compatibility
- Key features and performance
- How Franklin compares to other brands
- Installer reviews
Let’s dive in by answering the first question most people ask about any home energy storage system: What does it cost?
Fully installed, the average price of the Franklin Home Power system (one aPower + one aGate controller) is around $18,000. After claiming the 30% federal clean energy credit on your taxes, the net cost comes down to $12,600.
How did we get to that figure? Well, the retail price of a Franklin aPower battery is currently listed at $11,000 and the aGate controller is listed at $3,500. That puts our equipment cost at $14,500.
Now, according to our breakdown of battery project costs, installation costs like sales tax, labor, engineering, permitting, inspection, and interconnection account for 19.5% of the average residential battery projects – which comes to about $3,500 and puts the pre-incentive cost of the project around $18,000.
|aGate Energy Management Device||$3,500|
|Permitting, installation, and tax||$3,500|
|Gross project cost||$18,000|
|Net cost after 30% tax credit||$12,600|
At the net project cost of $12,600, an FHP system with a single 13.6 kWh aPower battery boils down to just over $925 per kWh.
This cost per kWh is a tad higher than other batteries in this size class. However, there are a few factors that influence the overall cost of battery project.
Size and scope of the project
Perhaps the biggest factors in battery pricing are the size and scope of the project. For example, our analysis of battery pricing data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that it costs 25% more to install a battery on its own than it does to install a battery as part of a solar and battery project. This is due to the overlap in labor, permitting, engineering and other soft costs.
For this same reason, the price per kWh is typically much lower for larger projects (say, three batteries instead of one) than it is for smaller projects.
For example, you can stack up to three aPower batteries with a single aGate to get 40.8 kWh of usable capacity. That brings your equipment costs up to $36,500 (without a bulk discount) but most of your soft costs – aside from additional installation labor and sales tax – would be the same as a single battery project.
Let’s say the gross cost of a 40.8 kWh FHP system comes to $45,000. After the 30% tax credit, the net cost comes down to $31,500 and ~$770 per kWh instead of $925 per kWh for a single aPower system.
|1 aPower (13.6 kWh)||3 aPowers (40.8 kWh)|
|Permitting, installation, and tax||$3,500||$8,500|
|Gross project cost||$18,000||$45,000|
|Net cost after 30% tax credit||$12,600||$31,500|
|Cost per kWh||$926||$772|
Installer and market factors
The other key influence on battery pricing is the market conditions in your location. In mature battery markets like California, competition between battery-savvy installers drives down the price of home storage projects. The inverse is true in areas where battery-savvy installers are few and far between.
Finally, incentives from government bodies, utilities, and non-profit groups can lower the cost of a home battery project. Most notably, batteries qualify for the Residential Clean Energy Credit worth 30% of the installed cost of the project with no maximum – even if they aren’t connected to a solar system.
In California, the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) offers rebates for up to $1,000 per kWh of capacity installed.
Now that we have an idea of what a Franklin Home Power system costs, let’s get an idea of what we’re getting for our money.
Components of the FHP System
There are three major components to the FHP system: The aPower batteries, aGate energy management device, and FranklinWH monitoring app.
The aPower batteries store electricity from your solar panels or grid to be used at your convenience. They also have built-in inverters that flip the electrical current from AC to DC to charge the battery and DC to AC to power your home or export onto the grid.
The aGate energy management device connects your battery, solar panels, home, and the grid. The aGate controls the flow of electricity between these systems and, when it detects an outage, disconnects your home system from the grid so you can continue operating in backup mode.
The FranklinWH app allows you to monitor and manage your system remotely from your mobile devices.
Franklin Home Power Compatibility
As an AC-coupled battery system, the FHP system can be integrated into existing solar systems much more easily than a DC-coupled battery system – as long as it’s compatible with the solar inverters.
According to FranklinWH’s customer support articles:
“As an AC coupled system, the FHP is compatible with most solar inverters of various types and brands in the market.”
That’s… uh… pretty vague – but it’s also what we hearing from our installation network and seeing on industry forums. The Franklin Home Power system is definitely compatible with major solar inverter brands like Enphase and SolarEdge and we have yet to come across an instance of incompatibility.
Now that we know what’s included in the FHP system and how much it costs, let’s take a look at what makes this an attractive energy storage option.
Here’s a quick look at the aPower battery specifications. We’ll explore what they mean in detail below.
|Franklin aPower feature||Specification|
|Chemistry||Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP)|
|Usable capacity||13.6 kWh per unit, up to 15 units (204 kWh)|
|Peak output||10 kW (10 seconds)|
|Continuous output||5 kW|
|Depth of discharge||100%|
|Work modes||Self-consumption, Time-of-use, Emergency Backup|
|Warranty||12 years or 43 MWh throughput|
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) is a type of lithium-ion battery chemistry that has several advantages over the Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) chemistry used in comparable solar batteries.
The advantages of LFP include:
● Longer expected lifespan
● Deeper depth of discharge (up to 100%)
● Wider range of operating temperatures
● Do not use nickel or cobalt (which can be mined under questionable practices)
● Virtually no risk of fires due to thermal runaway
Given these advantages, LFP is emerging as the dominant lithium-ion chemistry for residential solar batteries, which puts the Franklin aPower on the leading edge.
Usable Capacity/Depth of Discharge
Usable capacity measures how much of the energy stored in a battery can be accessed without damaging the battery. Thanks to its LFP chemistry, the aPower can be discharged 100% without harming the battery’s lifespan and therefore has a usable capacity of 13.6 kWh.
Power output measures how much electricity a battery can discharge over time and dictates how many systems it can power at once. A single aPower can provide a peak output of 10 kW for up to 10 seconds and continuous output of 5 kW.
For context, a 4-ton air conditioner typically needs a 3.8 kW surge to kick on and 1.5 kW per hour to operate.
Roundtrip efficiency measures how much of the electricity that goes into a battery actually comes back out to power your home. In AC-coupled battery systems like Franklin Home Power, efficiency tops out at around 90% because the current has to be inverted on its way into the battery and on its way out.
With that in mind, the aPower’s round-trip efficiency of 89% is on par with its peers.
The FHP system can operate in three different modes.
● Backup mode powers home systems and keeps your solar system active during grid outages
● Self-consumption mode prioritizes storing and using electricity from your solar panels to avoid interaction with the grid, and the battery only charges on solar electricity
● Time-of-use mode is similar to self-consumption mode, but the battery will also charge on grid electricity during off-peak time-of-use hours
Today’s lithium-ion batteries typically carry warranties that guarantee 70% of nameplate capacity after 10 years. The Franklin aPower is warrantied for 12 years or 43 megawatt hours (MWh) of throughput, whichever comes first.
Throughput is a measurement of how much energy the battery stores and delivers over time. In this case, Franklin is saying the aPower can store and discharge 43,000 kWh of electricity while still retaining 70% or more of its original capacity.
That boils down to ~3,161 charge/discharge cycles at 100% capacity, about one a day for over 8.5 years. However, as the battery capacity slowly decreases over time, each cycle will have continuously less throughput, so that 43 MWh of guaranteed throughput will be spread over more cycles.
As a relative newcomer to the scene, the big question is how the Franklin Home Power system compares to more established home battery systems.
We’ve written similar product analyses on Enphase IQ Batteries and the Tesla Powerwall+. Here’s how these three batteries stack up side-by-side.
|Franklin aPower||Enphase 5P (x2)||Tesla Powerwall+|
|Chemistry||Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP)||Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP)||Lithium-ion (NMC)|
|Usable capacity||13.6 kWh per unit||9.92 kWh||13.5 kWh|
|Peak output||10 kW||15.36 kW||7.6 kW|
|Continuous output||5 kW||7.68 kW||5.8 kW|
|Depth of discharge||100%||98%||100%|
|Work modes||Self-consumption, Time-of-use, Emergency Backup||Self-consumption, Time-of-use, Emergency Backup||Self-consumption, Time-of-use, Emergency Backup|
|Warranty||12 years or 43 MWh throughput||15 years up to 6,000 cycles||10 years unlimited cycles|
Since its debut in early 2022, the Franklin Home Power system has been very well received by homeowners and industry professionals. Most notably, it’s receiving high praise from the solar installers who actually install, monitor, and service home batteries.
In fact, we asked the top battery installers in solar.com’s installation network to rank their favorite batteries to install and Franklin Home Power emerged as the preferred system.
More specifically, our installers gave the FHP top marks for:
● The aGate Smart Circuits Module device that controls which systems the battery powers and when
● Locked Rotor Amperage (LRA) of 100 Amps
● Open access to API data
● FranklinWH’s technical support
● Peak and continuous power output
● 12-year warranty
It’s worth noting that size and weight were commonly listed as a downside to the aPower battery.
We also checked online solar and battery discussion forums to make sure that installers outside of our network are providing similar feedback – which they are.
Here are a few posts we found from verified solar professionals:
● “Franklin all the way. Especially if you’re backing up a central HVAC unit…Performance aside, their customer service is second to none. No clicking through random menus, you get connected to a knowledgeable technician within 20-30 seconds of calling them.”
● “I would say Franklin is the best battery currently available in the market. It’s a 15kWh battery that’s marketed as a 13.6kWh battery (the 1.4kWh is dedicated to black start) plus it has a better ATS design with smart circuits and the best genny integration on the market.”
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