Is installing a battery storage system right for me?

Are your watching your solar feed-in tariff dwindle?

Perhaps you want more control over your electricity costs or want to purchase an electric vehicle in the near future.

Many things are changing in our world, including in the energy sector.  With the reduction in solar feed-in tariffs, extreme price spikes in wholesale electricity prices, and the demand for energy increasing, we need to rethink our energy strategy.

The challenges with battery storage adoption in the past

With some of the highest electricity prices globally, battery storage in Australia is an exciting opportunity to save on power bills and become more energy independent.  However, the high costs and early technology teething issues meant that battery storage was a poor investment for most.

Payback periods for a battery system were typically longer than the 10 year warranty period on the product, and electricity used at night was cheaper to purchase from the power grid.

residential battery system

Is solar battery storage worth it in Australia yet?

The answer depends on many factors and ultimately is a personal decision based on the reason for wanting to install them.

Some people choose to install a battery system because they want to be able to generate their own electricity, not buy it from the grid.  Others value having reliable electricity when the grid goes down.

As electricity prices rise and the cost of battery technology continues to decline, we’ll reach a point when investing in battery storage becomes a more viable option for households and businesses to consider.  However, this depends on how they use power.

For those that use minimal nighttime power or don’t have the roof space for a solar PV system that generates more energy than their daytime needs, investing in a battery storage system isn’t likely to be a viable solution.

What types of solar battery systems are there?

There are two types of battery storage systems.

Off-grid System

A completely off-grid solar system is one where there is no connection to the electricity grid.  It’s used predominately in rural locations where the costs to provide electricity to a property located far from the main power supply would be more expensive than installing a stand-alone solar and battery system.

An off-grid solar system requires a lot of careful design to ensure you always have power and may be combined with a backup diesel generator.

Grid-connected System

A grid-connected battery storage system is the most common type of battery purchase in a suburban residential situation.  Your system remains connected to the electricity grid, and the energy stored in the battery is used for short-term power outages (backup power) and offsetting nighttime energy consumption.

How much battery backup do I need?

Careful planning and having historical electricity usage data to understand your nighttime energy consumption are crucial variables for ensuring your battery storage system is sized adequately for your needs.

Here are some questions to ask yourself.

How long would I like to rely on battery power in a grid outage event?  What appliances do I consider essential and nonessential in a power outage event?  For example, powering your refrigerator is usually regarded as ‘essential,’ whereas using an oven is not.

The more appliances you want to use and the longer you want to use them, the more battery storage you will need.

If you plan to purchase an electric vehicle in the near future, understanding and accommodating its power requirements are also important.

Getting Battery Ready

We recommend you approach your journey to battery storage following these steps.

Step 1 – Know your energy usage

energy monitoringKnowing how much electricity your home or business uses, and when it’s used is an important first step in determining whether investing in a solar battery system makes sense for you.

If you have solar, and your inverter records your energy usage, you can access this information via an associated application.

If you don’t have solar or your current system doesn’t record your energy usage information, we highly recommend installing an energy monitor to get the information you need.

Step 2 – Install solar or upgrade your existing solar panel system

Once you understand your power usage, the next step is to design a battery-ready grid-connected solar PV system that covers your daytime needs and creates enough extra energy to store in your batteries.

We offer Solar Viability Assessments for those who don’t have solar and Solar Performance Assessments for those with solar and are looking to upgrade their systems.

At this step, you can choose to install a ‘battery ready’ inverter so that you don’t have to replace your solar inverter when you are ready to install batteries.

Step 3 – Design Your Battery System

Once you’ve completed steps 1 and 2, you’ll have the proper foundation to proceed to the design of a battery system with sufficient storage capacity.

Where to start

Energy management is a journey and is best approached in small steps so that things can easily be tweaked and adjusted along the way.

Get started on your journey to better energy efficiency and lower electricity bills by booking a Strategy Session with us. We’ll help you figure out which approach will be right for you.

Get independent advice on installing a solar battery system