Perhaps you are just starting on your solar journey, or you already have a solar panel system on your roof. Solar panels are a great first step, but are you making the kind of cost savings you envisaged from having solar? If you already have solar, looking at a battery now is a good idea.
If you are pondering putting in solar, these days it might make sense to get battery storage as well as panels. This can look two different ways; either you get rooftop panels, an inverter, and a separate battery, or you can get a hybrid battery system connected to the panels, which includes a solar inverter and battery storage in one cabinet.
Read on to find out why it makes sense for those with and without existing panels to go the extra mile and get battery storage in 2023.
I already have solar, why do I need a battery?
There are myriad reasons, and these reasons keep growing as the months and years go by.
If you have existing rooftop solar, you are probably aware that your panels generate a lot of energy in the morning and middle of the day – just at the time when most people are not at home using appliances.
Add to that the fact there has been a huge uptake of household solar in Australia which has caused a fall in the feed-in tariff. In the early days of solar, the feed-in tariffs (the money you make from feeding your excess solar-generated power back to the grid) were very attractive to encourage early adoption of solar.
Australia now has the highest uptake of solar in the world, with around 30% of households having rooftop solar. As such, these days you aren’t going to make much money if at all from feed-in tariffs, so it makes a heap of economic sense to invest in battery storage to harness and store that valuable energy for when you need it. This is when the sun goes down and everyone is back at home.
But why now?
Having a solar battery system means you are not reliant on an aging energy grid and ever-increasing power prices. In Australia, electricity costs are forecast to increase by up to 56% in the next two years. With the cost of living putting households under greater pressure, there’s no time like the present to install a battery – the sooner you install one the sooner you can beat the price rises and make the most of your home solar.
When using power from the grid during the late afternoon and evening, depending on the billing rate and contract you have, you could be spending more money when the power is used the most. Even if you have a fixed rate, you may be able to avoid being charged by using electricity stored in your battery.
Many of our customers report small to zero power bills by installing a battery and have become completely self-sufficient. In summer and on sunny days, their batteries can be fully charged by 9 am!
Is it worth the investment?
In general, yes. It depends on where you are in your life stage and your values and drivers. If you are living in your ‘forever home’ or a home you intend to be in for a long time, talk to a trusted installer and do the math. You might find that a battery pays for itself more quickly than you think. With power prices ever changing, installing a battery is akin to locking in a lower price and paying upfront, thereby avoiding rising costs.
Will it make a difference to my carbon footprint?
Yes, it is entirely possible to reduce your carbon footprint by installing a battery and making some other changes to your home and lifestyle.
Having a battery to power your home when the sun goes down – from the clean energy generated by the sun during the day – greatly reduces the need to purchase fossil fuel generated electricity from the grid.
Other changes you can make, depending on your budget, are riding a bike to work or swapping to an electric vehicle, changing your stove from gas to convection, installing an electric heat pump water heater, turning off appliances when not used and even something as simple as putting a cover on your pool.
There are a lot of resources to help you research reducing your footprint, but primarily, a solar battery system means that you are storing and using your own clean, green power. How good would that feel?
What other benefits are there in the immediate future?
Good question! As we have all noticed -distressingly- the prevalence of natural disasters is increasing due to climate change, including floods, fires, and cyclones.
Having the correct-sized battery storage to complement the rooftop solar means that you may power selected circuits during a blackout if the grid is down, which is happening more often due to these disasters and aging infrastructure. Think of the terrible floods in QLD and NSW at the start of 2022, the storms in Victoria in 2021, or the Callide power station going offline yet again.
As long as you have battery power available, the battery will kick in automatically and depending on which circuits you’ve chosen to receive backup power, you may not even realise that the grid is down.
Predictions now point to an early end to La Niña but there’s a chance that the climate will make a rapid transition to El Niño next year. Whilst that may mean a relatively stable summer this year, it could be followed by a much worse one next year.
El Niño heralds hotter temperatures and likely bushfires in Australia. The last El Niño was a huge contributor to Australia’s devastating bushfires in 2019/20.
With all this climatic instability, having a battery may give you extra peace of mind, particularly if you work from home and need to rely on using your laptop and the internet.
As you can see, battery storage maximises the use of your solar panels and can be the final piece in the puzzle for saving money, powering through blackouts and helping towards decarbonisation. Wherever you are in your solar journey, battery storage could be the solution you need from 2023 onwards.