Are Batteries Right for You?

Battery storage won’t be beneficial in all households so it’s important to determine whether it is suitable for you. Adding a battery to your solar system is the next step for energy independence however the benefits of batteries are still secondary to the benefits of solar itself. For some households adding a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid or allow you to become 100% independent from the grid as part of a standalone (off-grid) system.

It’s important to note that whilst batteries are gradually coming down in price, adding a battery won’t necessarily benefit your current financial situation like a solar system will. Today’s current prices (if your State does not offer subsidies or incentives for battery) could have you looking at an expected return on investment in 8-15 years. As technology advances and batteries become more accessible it is expected prices will drop, similar to how they have for solar systems.

Households with smaller solar systems that aren’t generating a large amount of excess power may find it more cost-effective to receive feed-in tariffs for their excess power instead of purchasing a battery. Those with large solar systems and a substantial amount of excess power could benefit greatly from installing battery storage.

If you answer YES to most or all of the below questions, then battery storage may be for you!

  • Do you have a solar system with a substantial amount of excess energy being fed into the grid? Or
  • Planning to install a solar system large enough to run your home through the day with excess power at night?
  • Are you fed up with low feed-in tariff rates and being charged high rates when using the grid?
  • Do you want more energy independence?

But before you go any further please note:

 

Having Battery Storage Does Not Mean You Have Black-Out Protection

Having a battery does not mean you have protection from blackouts. Battery with backup for blackout protection requires additional components, a compatible inverter (not all are compatible) and a solar battery system large enough to generate and store energy through a blackout. The cost of these additions in most circumstances will outweigh the benefits. It’s also unlikely your battery will have enough energy stored to power your entire house through a blackout. Meaning when installing backup you will need to have in mind what appliances will be a priority to keep running should a blackout occur. This will give the installer guidance when re-wiring and installing your battery with backup.

 

Having A Battery Does Not Mean You Are Off-Grid

If your purpose for adding battery is to go completely Off-Grid it will come at a price. Off-grid solar systems with battery backup start at approximately $30,000 due to the solar and battery system needing to be large enough to have no reliance on the grid. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid.

 
Decided battery is right for you? Start speaking to installers and receive Obligation Free Quotes!

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.