Is Solar Battery Storage A Good Investment?

 

Now that people have seen the financial benefits of installing solar power and it has become an affordable household purchase, many Australians are investigating the addition of solar battery storage.

Adding a battery gives a solar power system the functionality to store excess electricity generated from the solar panels to use at night, therefore, giving a household more energy independence.

Is Battery Storage As Beneficial As Solar Power?

solar battery storage

While a solar power system can benefit the majority of (if not all) households with the fast return on investment they provide, the addition of battery storage has not quite reached these stages.

When considering whether battery storage is right for you, it’s important to consider a few factors including; how much excess energy your solar power system is producing, the expected payback period of a battery and what Government incentives or discounts are available for battery storage.

Solar Power System’s Excess Energy

The purpose of battery storage is to store the excess energy your solar power system has generated so that your household can run off this electricity when your solar panels are not receiving sun. This stops or minimises the need for your household to rely on the electricity grid at night, which will reduce your electricity charges further.

For your solar power system to have excess electricity the system needs to be generating more electricity than you are using during the day. The larger the solar power system is, the more electricity it can generate e.g. a 7 kW will produce more electricity than a 5 kW.

If you currently have a solar power system installed, you should monitor and track how much excess energy your solar power system is producing before determining whether battery storage is right for you.

If you are wanting to install a solar power system and battery storage in one go, it is best to speak to a solar installer about what size solar power system will cover your day-time energy needs and provide enough excess electricity for your battery.

Battery Storage Government Incentives

As solar power systems have become increasingly affordable without the assistance of rebates, some State Governments in Australia have turned their focus to providing financial assistance for battery storage. These include;

Victoria – Solar Victoria’s home battery subsidy can provide up to $4,838 towards the cost of adding battery storage.

South Australia – Home battery scheme can provide subsidies up to $6,000 towards the cost of adding battery storage.

For those eligible it could mean adding battery storage at half the cost, making the payback period significantly shorter and a more realistic investment.

battery storage savings

Battery Storage Payback Periods

If you’ve worked out that your solar power system is producing a substantial amount of excess energy, the next thing you will want to consider is if the payback period is going to make battery storage a worthwhile investment. While a solar power system can pay itself off within 2-5 years, battery storage does not.

Battery storage can be expensive and for the average home in Australia will not pay its self-off in time to make it a cost-efficient investment. These days batteries have an estimated return on investment within 9-15 years (if you don’t have access to Government incentives) and the average warranty for a battery is up to 10 years.

For those living in rural areas who are off-grid or have enough land to support a substantially large solar power system, the benefits and payback periods may be significantly different. If this sounds like you, get connected to local solar installers who can assist in determining whether battery storage is suitable for you.

Battery-ready Solar Power System

Battery storage is the future for households with solar power, to gain more or full energy independence. While battery storage does not currently give a fast return on investment, it will in the coming years once battery technology develops and prices drop.

Eventually, battery storage will become as popular and beneficial as solar power systems have. For this reason, it is wise to install a solar power system with intentions to add battery storage in the future. This will mean installing a solar power system that has the capability to add a battery easily and that will produce enough excess electricity to store in the battery.

Speak directly to solar installers about your options for battery-ready solar power systems and receive no obligation to purchase 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.
 

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