Batteries are a highly debated topic in the Australian solar industry.
Whether they are worth the cost is a question that we get asked all the time, so we thought we’d ask our qualified sparkies for their advice.
Before we get into it, let’s go over quickly what a solar battery is, how it works with a solar system and the associated costs.
How does a solar battery work?
Batteries store the renewable energy that you don’t use.
When solar panels convert sunlight into DC electricity, this power is sent to your inverter. The inverter then converts that DC electricity into 240V AC electricity to match the Australian electrical grid.
Any excess energy that you have generated, is either then stored in a battery, or sent back to the grid for a discount on your bill, through solar feed in tariffs (FiTs).
What are the costs?
At the moment, there are no government battery rebates. That means that installing a battery with your solar system will at least double the price. Here’s a quick look at the generic costs of installing battery systems in Australia:
3.3kW $5,500 – $6,500
4.8kW $6,000 – $6,800
6.5kW $6,500– $7,500
9.8kW $8,500 – $10,000
13kW $10,000 – $14,000
Even though this is just a basic guide, it gives you a rough idea of the cost, which is almost as much as the cost of a solar system installation.
How much does it cost to payback?
A typical payback period of a battery is about 10 years. Comparing this with a solar system without a solar battery, a system has a typical payback of around 4-6 years.
Does it make sense to buy one now?
In short, no. Until the government incentivises you with a substantial discount, batteries are very expensive.
Waiting another 2-5 years for costs to come down before investing in energy storage may be your best bet.
Is buying a solar system without a battery worth it?
You shouldn’t wait for battery prices to decrease before buying a solar system. The current government solar rebate is reducing every year, as they’re in the process of phasing it out.
If you buy a system now, your electricity bills will immediately reduce. Plus, all the best solar companies install solar systems that are battery ready.
So, in a few years you can simply add a storage system to your existing solar installation and reap the benefits of a lower cost battery.