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Get More From Your Solar Power With A Battery System

 

The price of solar battery storage is becoming more affordable for the average homeowner
Rebates, cash back deals and solar credits can make the purchase even more affordable
Federal initiative encourages small businesses to install battery systems by offering a tax deduction

Sonnen Solar Battery System

Adelaide is offering a rebate of up to $5,000 for installing battery-based solar power storage (and $5,000 to install solar panels).

Home energy storage has been available for a number of years but price of batteries and other components have been high, making them unaffordable for the average customer. A rapid price drop and new technology is changing this, allowing customers to make the most of their solar power energy and giving the option of being connected to the mains grid for back-up or having total energy independence.

The slight catch with battery storage systems is that they aren’t subsidised in Australia like PV solar systems are. But rebates and cash back deals are often available on leading brands including Tesla, SMA and Enphase through companies such as Energy Matters, that can make the purchase more affordable.

Solar credits can also knock down the price if customers purchase a solar + energy storage solution. Although the credits only apply to PV solar panel systems, it can still be a sizeable rebate, depending on where you live and the size of the system purchased.

Small businesses can enjoy a 100% tax deduction on battery systems up to $20,000, thanks to the Federal Government’s solar incentive outlined in the 2015 budget. As well as substantial annual savings on electricity, small businesses also benefit by having a visible signal of sustainability efforts, something that is favourably perceived by many existing and potential customers.

As one of the likeliest regions for power outages during summer, there is a strong push for more people to use solar power in South Australia. In Adelaide, residents, schools, businesses and community groups in the CBD are offered a rebate of up to $5,000 to install battery energy storage. The incentive, run by the Adelaide City Council, encourages investment in solar PV and battery energy storage.

According to the council’s website: If you install a PV system, you can receive a rebate of 20%, up to a max of $5,000, of the installation costs, and for a battery 50% of the installed system cost, up to a max of $5,000.

 

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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.
 

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