What Are Solar Batteries? And What Does Being Battery Ready Mean?
You’ve heard of people upgrading their Solar PV Systems to include a battery, but what are batteries? Are they going to benefit you right now? Or can you set yourself to be battery ready for the future?
What are solar batteries?
A solar battery is an optional component to your Solar PV System. The solar battery can become charged from your solar panels when your solar panels have generated more energy than you currently need. It then stores that charge to be used at a later time. This stored power can be used when your solar panels are no longer generating energy…In other words, the sun is not out.
What are the main benefits of having a solar battery?
If you are exceeding the amount of energy your solar panels are generating or use a large majority of power when the sun is not out, batteries will give you more energy independence.
The excess energy you generate will be stored for your use, as opposed to being sold back to the grid at a lower rate.
Avoiding the peak time utility costs
During peak energy consumption times, people pay higher rates. These times are typically between 4pm-10pm. Having a battery will mean you are able to rely on your own stored energy instead of the grids. Therefore avoiding the high utility rates.
Black-out protection isn’t guaranteed
Don’t assume a battery has back-up and will keep your household powered through a black-out. The pure purpose of battery storage is to store your excess power generated in the day to be able to use at night. The average battery won’t be able to store enough power to keep your home powering through a blackout. Black-out protection add-ons or systems are available however, they come at a costly price. You will need to weigh up the priority of having black-out protection, over the extra costings.
Do I need batteries?
If you already own a Solar PV System
If you are exporting more energy than you use, batteries are a good way to keep that energy stored. This way you have it ready for your highest energy consumption times.
Due to recent years lowered feed-in tariff rates, your energy exported to the grid is worth less, than it is when using it yourself. The cost to receive energy from the grid, during the hours your solar panels are not generating energy is high.
Most 9am-5pm workers will find themselves using the largest amount of their power in the evening and some in the morning. Unless you are setting all your high energy consuming appliances on timers during the day whilst at work, you won’t be maximising your generated energy and the majority of it will be going to the grid.
Sounds like your circumstances and sick of paying grid rates? Then it may be time to add a battery to your system.
If you are yet to switch to solar
If you haven’t switched to solar, should you get a Solar PV System with a battery?
While this might sound like the best option and will stop you from having to upgrade in the future, it will depend on your energy consumption habits.
It can be hard to say until you’ve switched to solar and truly have tracked your savings and energy consumption. Although a solar installer should be able to give you an idea based on previous power bills or you can use our Solar Savings Calculator to assist!
But you should be battery ready!
What you should be, is battery ready or have a battery ready system. This way you can upgrade in the future without changing your system. Being battery ready can save you big bucks in the future and future-proof your energy consumption costs.
Factors like a change in; feed-in tariff rates, grid usage rates or your energy consumption can make adding a battery more appealing and beneficial.
TIP: As technology advances, batteries will decrease in costs. Being battery ready will make adding a battery, in the future a simple process.
What is a battery ready system?
A “true” battery ready Solar PV System is compatible to add battery storage, should you require it in the future. This battery ready system usually comes with a hybrid inverter, instead of the standard inverter. A hybrid inverter can convert both solar and battery power.
Be careful some systems claim to be battery ready, but are just battery compatible or upgradeable.
Battery compatible or upgradeable systems will need additional parts, replacement of components (inverter) or may need a revised installation if the initial installation is not suitable for battery storage. This is on top of purchasing the battery.
A true battery ready system should only require the additional battery.
Why choose a “true” battery ready system over compatible or upgradeable
Deciding to go for a battery ready system, when stepping into the solar game will future-proof your solar energy needs and save you in the long run.
A battery ready system is initially more expensive than a standard Solar PV System. We’re talking $1,000-$2,500 more, and while that sounds like a substantial price increase, it should only set you back 1-2 years on your ROI. Especially with the Government Rebates still kicking on.
If you were to upgrade to a battery ready system later, it could set you back almost $15,000.
This is under the assumption you would need to:
- Increase your Solar PV System size (if you have a system smaller than 5kW you will need to, for a battery to be beneficial)
- Add a hybrid or battery inverter
- Buy a battery
- Re-installment if needed
The installation for a battery in a battery ready and a battery compatible system will be quite different.
- Battery Ready System; If your Solar PV System is battery ready with a hybrid inverter, once you have decided on a provider your installation should be straightforward, with adding the battery.
- Battery compatible or upgradable Systems; If your Solar PV System is not battery ready you will need to organise with your solar provider a compatible inverter, as well as have the size of your system and installation assessed.
Let us do the hard work for you and get you in touch with solar providers that can assist with your Solar PV System or battery needs. Whether you’re already a solar homeowner looking to add battery storage or looking to switch to solar, we’ve got you covered!
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