Solar Batteries - Do I Need Them?

There’s no doubt about it. The future of renewable energy – even energy in general – lies in solar power. Using solar energy to generate electricity for your home allows you to take charge of your energy consumption in a manner that’s friendlier on the planet and certainly very kind on your wallet! If you’ve decided to choose this energy-efficient, cost-effective alternative to coal generated power, you’ve likely heard about solar batteries. There’s currently a lot of conjecture about whether they are or aren’t a worthwhile investment in 2019, so we decided we’d weigh in on the matter to help you make a more informed decision.

So here’s how to determine whether or not investing in a solar battery is right for you.

What Do Solar Batteries Do?

A standard solar power system doesn’t require a solar battery. By installing solar panels and an inverter only, your household or organisation can generate enough power to consume itself. Alternatively, any excess power that isn’t used can be sent to the shared grid for public use. As a result, you’ll receive a credit on your next electricity bill. It is always preferable to self consume over sending your energy back to the grid, as it is only credited to you at a reduced rate to what you would have saved if you’d actually used it yourself. This reduced rate that is added to your bill as a credit is called the Feed-In Tariff (FIT).

You can read more on this at our recent article on feed-in tariffs.

Adding a solar battery to your solar energy system creates what is called a hybrid system. This means that you are generating your own electricity to use in your home or store in your battery to use at night, as well as still being connected to the main grid for any excess energy that is needed to be used or exported.

All Batteries Aren’t Created Equal

There are many different solar battery brands available, such as Fronius, LG and Tesla – each with their pros and cons regarding capacity, size and lifespan. No matter which one you invest in, you can expect to pay at least $10,000 – and you’ll also need to pay for installation and an inverter that is able to integrate with a solar battery (not all batteries do this – particularly older and cheaper models). The lifespan of your battery will depend on how often you use it, which is measured in cycles. One cycle is how long it takes for a full battery to empty.

Should I Invest In One?

There are a few questions you need to ask yourself before getting a solar battery.

Firstly, you need to take note of how much energy you use. If you’re consuming a lot, a solar battery may not allow you to recoup your investment very quickly – if at all. This is because you negated the impact of a battery by using it all during the day – leaving you with a very expensive piece of wall decoration.

Knowing when you use your electricity the most is another factor, as a battery is ideally suited to those who use more energy at night than during the day. Location is another important aspect you need consider, as different regions and suburbs will offer different FIT rates – with some offering none at all. A standard feed in tariff rate will often see your bill credited a few hundred dollars per quarter, leaving you with a greatly reduced bill to pay. While a battery may have meant you had even less of a bill to pay, it still cost you $10,000+ to install it. So you are still well behind the starting line.

In short – if you are living in an area offering no or an extemely low rebate, then you have nothing to lose!

If your area does have a good FIT – then a solar battery may not yet be the best way to spend your hard earned cash!

Work It Out

For your solar battery to be a worthwhile investment, it will need to pay for itself before your battery warranty expires. This means that your payback time (based on your average estimated usage) needs to be less than the battery’s lifespan. For the average household, this doesn’t work out as being financially savvy.

But Wait…

There is one option you could explore that would see you investing in a solar battery without spending more than it’s worth. As at the 11th of February, 2019, the Queensland Government is currently offering residents who own their home a $3,000 rebate and $10,000 interest free loan as part of the QLD Government Solar Loan and Rebate Scheme. As an approved solar retailer and installer, we can offer this great package to you.

However, there are less than 300 Loan and Grant spots available, so you need to get in quick!

All of our solar energy consultants are professionals who can assist you to ensure a solar battery makes financial sense for you. Give us a call on 1300 969 471 today or use our Get a Quote page to discuss your energy needs!