Solar Battery Storage

What is battery storage?

Battery storage, or a battery system, is an optional component for your solar system. A battery system will charge a battery with your solar system’s excess power and store the power for you to use when your solar panels are not generating energy (at night).

For a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy during the day for the battery to store. This excess energy is there for you to run your household at night or when the sun is not out. If you have a solar system without battery your home will run off the grid during these times and any excess energy will be fed to the grid in return for the feed-in tariffs.

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 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.

Battery Ready Solar System

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.

 
 

Battery Specifications & Factors that’ll affect pricing

  • Government incentives

    The Federal Government and most State Governments offer assistance and incentives for solar and/or battery storage for solar pv systems. Depending on which State you live in, these incentives will affect the outright costs of your battery storage. See what Government incentives are available in each state here.

  • Cycle life-time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge. A battery’s lifespan is based on the number of times it can be fully charged and discharged before the battery reaches the end of its functional life.

  • Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged

  • Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store

  • Depth of discharge

    The depth a battery can be discharged is the degree a battery can be emptied to its total capacity. Being able to discharge to full capacity means you are getting more out of the energy that has been stored and it is not degrading over time in the battery when stored.

  • 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.

  • Inverter

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

  • Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee

  • 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 of your home. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

     

 
Through the quoting process installers will be able to provide battery options tailored to your needs and in most cases will be able to assist you in claiming any available State Government Incentives.

Where in your solar journey are you?

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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.