Are Solar Batteries worth the investment in Australia in 2021?

In Australia there are only 110,000 households with energy storage, less than 5% of solar adopters. Battery systems allow households to reduce their dependence on traditional on-grid electricity. But battery systems are costly, and have high pay-back periods.

The Benefits of Solar Batteries

Adding a battery to a residential solar system can double the amount of self-generated electricity consumption. For those cloudy days where your panels won’t be generating solar power, batteries allow you to store up electricity for several days worth of your energy consumption. This allows you to make the most of your solar energy usage, increased bill savings and blackout protection.

By getting a battery with your solar panels, you can:

  • use more of the solar power you generate in your own home
  • boost your energy savings
  • increase your independence from the big energy companies
  • get security and control during blackouts (if you get a battery that comes with blackout protection – not all do)
  • boost your positive impact on the environment by using more clean solar power
  • get your battery at the most cost effective time, because combining the costs of the panels and battery will cut out extra installation costs and combine the two payback periods into one

The cost of solar batteries in Australia

There are many variables to consider when installing a battery, from components to adjusting installation to property specifications. When comparing battery systems, people in the industry typically speak in terms of ‘dollars per kilowatt-hour’ ($/kWh) of storage capacity. Keep in mind that battery value can differ as different batteries can tolerate different levels of use. For example, batteries may only be charged / discharged (cycled) once daily while, others can be cycled up to 2-3x per day.

So, are batteries worth it right now?

This would depend on your individual circumstances, however, from an ROI stand-point we would say no. Coupled with a relatively high up-front cost and typically with a 10-year warranty, so most likely would need to be replaced before it fully pays itself off.

There are a few scenarios where it would make sense to consider solar batteries as an investment. Here are some in detail below.

When the utility company charges significantly more than the feed-in tariff

There is the ‘feed-in tariff’, which is where you get money paid back for exporting excess solar power to the grid. But in most cases, its more profitable for you to use that solar energy yourself. In this case, depending on the difference in price, the savings associated with storing and using that electricity yourself can very quickly add up.

Numerous subsidies and rebates available

The financial case for batteries also improves when there are local rebates and incentives on offer. These can range from upfront rebates when purchasing batteries, to demand response programs that reward you for taking load off the power network.

In South Australia, there is currently the home battery scheme. The subsidy is available to all South Australians, and calculated on the kilowatt hour capacity of the battery purchased. Furthermore, Energy Concession Holders are eligible for a higher subsidy, ensuring low-income households are supported to access the Scheme.

Incentives can greatly improve the feasibility of using batteries, either by reducing the upfront cost, or by increasing savings in the long run. The outlook improves further when expensive electricity is combined with battery incentives.

Choosing a battery with extended warranties or battery replacement plans

Some solar batteries come with warranties well beyond the typical 10 year standard. Receiving a decent ROI is far more achievable in a 20 year timeframe, particularly when coupled with government incentives.

Future-proofing

Another thing to consider is future-proofing your system, securing your independence and limiting your reliance on the grid. Electricity prices consider to rise, and along with the advent of new solar adopters, it puts strain and toll on the grid.

If money isn’t an issue, there is no reason not to.

Install as many panels as your roof can fit – the more you generate the more you can cover the balance of your energy consumption needs. If you can afford to buy a $10k TV which offers $0 ROI, or a $20k holiday then why not invest in your home and carbon impact? It comes down to your personal convictions and choices—what makes sense for you might not make sense for the next person.

Conclusion

Solar batteries are a viable option for Australians with solar panels who want to minimize their power bills and be less reliant on the grid. However, solar battery prices in Australia are currently high. For many Australians, a solar battery might not be worth the investment yet. However, when local electricity costs are very high, the savings potential improves the case for solar panels with batteries. Local incentives can also tip the scales in their favor. Finally, the benefits of battery storage aren’t purely financial and, as we move towards a zero-carbon future, more Australians are turning to energy storage as a means to achieve energy independence and a low carbon-footprint.

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Natural Technology Systems are solar providers that have been in business for over 30 years, we are a business that South Australia trusts and provide expert, obligation free quotes and advice. We provide customers with the most cost-effective way to slash those power bills for your home or business.

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