Are solar batteries worthwhile in Australia proper now? – Vitality issues
If you are thinking about adding a solar battery to a new or existing PV system, you are not alone. Many Australian households have expressed a desire to buy solar batteries to reduce their reliance on traditional energy companies that have had them in a stranglehold for decades. In Sydney over 1 in 4 new systems were installed with a battery last year.
Touted as the future of electricity, batteries allow the solar power generated during the day to be stored for use at night or on cloudy days when solar panels cannot generate power. In fact, adding a battery to a private solar system can double your own electricity consumption. While the benefits of solar batteries are clear, the high cost of acquisition makes many people wonder whether it is worth investing now or waiting for the price to drop.
How much do solar batteries actually cost?
The question “How much do batteries cost?” Is difficult to answer because there are many variables involved in installing a battery, all of which can affect the cost.
As a rule of thumb, home solar battery storage prices are currently around $ 1,000 per kWh, including installation and GST. Variables to consider include the size and brand of the battery, the solar installers who were used to perform the work, and whether additional work is required to make the battery compatible with your system (such as installing an additional Inverter).
So are solar batteries worthwhile in Australia now?
Unfortunately, there is no black and white answer to this as it depends entirely on your individual circumstances. In many cases, and purely from an ROI perspective, no. They have a relatively high upfront cost and come with a 10 year warranty (usually) so they will likely need to be replaced before the payback period.
However, there are a number of cases when it may make sense to consider investing now. The following are some of the most common scenarios:
When the energy supplier demands significantly more than the feed-in tariff
Normally, properties with solar power systems can sell their excess kilowatt hours (kWh) back to the energy company – this is known as feed-in tariffs. This begs the question; If you're getting paid for your excess solar power, why store it? The reality is that some companies charge a lot more for what they buy from a customer. In this case, every kWh stored in batteries for later use is worth more than if it were fed back into the grid. Depending on the price difference, the savings from internal storage and use add up very quickly.
If there are federal and / or state funding programs
The financial case for batteries also improves when local discounts and incentives are offered. These can range from advance discounts on the purchase of batteries to demand-response programs that reward you for reducing the load on the power grid.
There are several active battery programs in Australia that vary by state and territory:
- Discounts on solar batteries are available in Victoria at their current value of up to $ 4,174 until all discounts are fully applied in the 2020-21 period. They are then reduced to $ 3,500.
- New South Wales offers homeowners using a battery-powered solar power system an interest-free loan of up to $ 14,000 and up to $ 9,000 for adding batteries to an existing installation.
- South Australia offers a battery discount of up to $ 3,000 and the option to participate in a Virtual Power Plant (VPP). When battery owners join a VPP, they let the electricity company use their battery capacity in exchange for utility bill credits.
- The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is offering a battery discount of $ 825 per kilowatt of power capacity up to 30 kW (up to $ 24,750).
Incentives can significantly improve the usability of batteries by either reducing upfront costs or increasing savings over the long term. The outlook continues to improve when expensive electricity is combined with battery incentives, which is the case in many parts of Australia.
When batteries come with extended warranties or battery replacement plans
Some solar batteries come with warranties that go well beyond the typical 10 year standard. For example, the new SENEC Home V3 Hybrid has a 20-year extended warranty. A decent ROI is far better achievable over a 20 year period, especially when combined with government incentives.
If it's not just about the economy
The world is changing. International agreements, global business attitudes and public awareness drive us all towards a low carbon economy. When you know how our consumption habits affect the planet and the safety of future generations, limiting your dependence on the electricity grid is a big step in reducing your personal carbon footprint.
In other cases, it's about future-proofing yourself. More independence from the power grid gives you, your family and / or your company the certainty that you always have access to a reliable source of energy. You may not need the excess energy now, but you will need it in the near future. Should you ever invest in an electric vehicle (over 50% of Australians plan to buy an electric vehicle the next time they buy a new car), installing a battery (e.g. the Tesla Powerwall) means setting it up and going.
In short, if money doesn't matter and / or you can afford the repayments, why not? Install as many panels as your roof can hold – the more you produce, the more you can cover the rest of your energy use. If you can afford to buy a $ 10,000 TV that has a $ 0 ROI or a $ 20,000 vacation, why not invest in your home and carbon Emissions? It all comes down to your personal beliefs and choices – what makes sense to you may not make sense to the next person.
Key to take away …
Solar batteries are a viable option for Australians with solar panels who want to minimize their utility bills and be less dependent on the grid. However, solar battery prices are currently high in Australia. For many Australians, a solar battery may not be worth the investment yet. With very high local electricity costs, however, the savings potential is improved with solar panels with batteries. Local incentives can also make the difference. After all, the benefits of battery storage are not purely financial, and as we move towards a carbon-free future, more Australians are turning to energy storage for energy independence and a low carbon footprint.
If you want to learn more about solar battery installation in Australia or want a free quote, our solar power and battery storage calculator is easy to use! Simply enter your zip code and the average daily electricity consumption in kWh. The solar calculator then generates useful information about the estimated performance and potential savings. We can then send this information to 3 trusted local installers in your area for free, no-obligation quotes.