“Is it really worth it?” – The benefits of an all-in-one battery solution

Published On: May 16th, 2024|7 min read|

Embarking on a solar storage journey often feels like stepping into a world brimming with possibilities — paired with a fair share of complexities. The decision-making process becomes a mixed bag of choices, particularly when it comes to the equipment you install. These days, more and more people are installing an all-in-one solution including an inverter and a battery together, as opposed to a separate inverter and battery system.

But what’s the hype about? Questions about functionality, value, and blackout preparedness will often pop up, and amid the sea of information, you may find yourself wondering which option is right for you. Let’s start with the financial benefits, and take a deep dive into the differences between an all-in-one and separate components. In this two-part series, we’ll aim to answer the question – “Is an all-in-one really worth it?”

Smart Hybrid System Installed in Modern Desk with Monochrome Features

Setting the stage for the all-in-one

First things first, let’s break down the function of all of the solar components.

Imagine your home harnessing the power of the sun with a solar setup that’s like building blocks – solar panels, an inverter, and a battery system. The solar panels on your roof soak up sunlight and convert it into electricity. Then, the inverter steps in, turning that electricity into a form your home can use. Any excess energy gets tucked away in a separate battery, saving it for the evening (with the right sized system). Those with a separate inverter and battery system typically have two pieces of equipment installed in their home alongside their solar panels – the inverter and the battery (plus external isolators, conduits and other pieces of tech).

With an all-in-one solution, the units installed at your home alongside your solar panels changes to one. The inverter and battery cozy up in one unit, streamlining the whole process. Installing it is a breeze, and it won’t take up too much space. It’s a fantastic choice for those who want a straightforward, compact solar and battery solution without breaking the bank.

But there are some more significant differences between a separate inverter and battery system and an all-in-one, above and beyond the fact that it’s just the one unit. So, let’s dive deeper.

Is an all-in-one better for your wallet?

Cost is a (if not the) major consideration for many homeowners adding solar and battery storage to their home. The five main cost differences between an all-in-one vs. a separate setup include:

Single point of call for warranty

If, for some reason, you find yourself needing to look into a warranty claim, an all-in-one can make things a bit easier – mainly because it’s one piece of equipment, by one manufacturer. With separate components, you might need to contact 2 different manufacturers with 2 different warranty policies, or, make separate claims for each piece of equipment. The peace of mind of having everything covered by the one company, while also knowing warranty claims are a bit less painful, can make a huge difference.
Man installing a solar battery

1 installation fee

If you’re opting to go separate and install an inverter now (with your solar panels) with the option to add a battery later, you’ll have 2 separate installations that will take place. Your inverter and battery storage systems will be installed separately, meaning two separate installation fees for you. When installing an all-in-one solution, your install is one-and-done – both in terms of workload and cost. Plus, with an all-in-one solution, there is no need for extra conduits or isolators which makes the installation process quicker – saving you on labour costs as well.

According to Canstar Blue, the average solar installation cost is roughly $1,400. This is inclusive of installation labour only, with you also needing to consider the outlaid cost for the hardware – i.e. your panels and inverter. SolarQuotes also says that you can expect to pay between $1,500 and $3,000 for a battery installation (on top of the hardware cost). Of course, these costs differ from state-to-state, and widely depend on the complexity of the installation. Each installer will have their own pricing structure.

But, if you think about installing solar and a battery separately, it’s important to understand that you’d need to outlay these two approximate fees.

1 outlaid equipment cost

There is an exorbitant number of inverters, home battery systems and hybrid systems on the market, and they all have their own pricing structure. In the solar industry, there are budget, mid-level, and high-end brands – all with differing features and price tags. With that said, it’s hard to say what the average equipment cost would be. But think of it this way: why pay two times for two separate pieces of technology, when you could just pay for one piece of equipment that has it all?

Start saving quicker

Battery systems offer a great way for you to reduce your electricity bill. Having solar without a battery (i.e. your panels and an inverter) is a great way to get a taste of the savings that are possible with solar. Through your region’s feed-in tariff, you may be able to sell excess produced solar power back to the electricity grid for a small financial benefit, which will accumulate as a credit on your electricity bill. But, feed-in tariffs are falling in many Australian cities, with some energy retailers moving to time-of-use tariffs. With a time-of-use tariff, charges are based on when electricity is used, with peak times having higher rates, and off-peak times having lower rates.

By adding a battery to the mix, or by opting for an all-in-one solution from the get-go, you’re opening yourself up to higher savings. When it comes to navigating time-of-use tariffs, for example, you could utilise your battery system’s power in the evening when time-of-use tariffs are high, to avoid adding significantly to your power bill. Not only can this really reflect on your power bills, but it can also speed up your return on investment.

Take Redback customer Gareth Oakes, for example. Before installing his Redback Smart 3-Phase Hybrid, he was copping a $600 quarterly power bill. Four months after installing his Redback all-in-one, Gareth’s bill was only $22 a quarter. Fifteen months following installation, he was $500 in credit on his power bill.

One of the Redback Technologies team with a Channel 10 News presenter standing by a Redback Technologies solar unit

Gareth (left) with Redback’s CEO Adrian Knack

Government incentives

Additionally, government incentives and rebates further contribute to making solar battery installations financially attractive. As an example, the Northern Territory has the Home and Business Battery Scheme, under which homeowners could claim a full $6,000 rebate with a Redback Smart Hybrid or Smart 3-Phase Hybrid. That said, there are different incentives offered in each Aussie state encouraging homeowners to adopt battery storage – so keep an eye on your state government’s rebate announcements!

So, is an all-in-one worth it financially?

In one neat package, an all-in-one inverter and battery system is proving to give homeowners a unique opportunity – the opportunity to save. The consolidated warranty support, a singular installation fee, and a unified equipment cost contribute to a more straightforward and cost-effective approach compared to separately purchased and installed inverter and battery systems.

The potential for quicker savings, accelerated return on investment, and government incentives further solidify the financial appeal of opting for an all-in-one solution. As we weigh the benefits and complexities of solar installations, the all-in-one solution not only simplifies the process but also proves to be a worthwhile investment in both practicality and financial gain.

But wait, I want to know more

We know! We’ve got a ‘Part 2’ on all-in-one systems, where we dive even deeper into installation intricacies, technology, AC-coupled vs. DC-coupled hybrid systems, safety, and aesthetics. If you’re keen on learning all there is to know about all-in-one systems, hang tight and join us in Part 2!

This is part one of a two-part blog series. Read the second part here.