Summer is a favourite time of year for many Australians. For solar owners, this is especially true.
If you’ve got solar panels, you’ll be looking forward to the long, sunny days that push your solar system to peak performance. It’s the time of year when you stand to get the most value from your solar investment, especially if you have a solar battery too.
With a battery, you can store all that excess solar power to use when the sun goes down. This dramatically reduces your need to buy electricity from the grid and could even see you receiving $0 electricity bills like our CFO and co-founder Emma.
In November 2019, Emma installed a 4.8kWh solar battery system alongside her existing 3.6kW solar system at her Melbourne home. That may not sound like a very big system, but she experienced first hand what it’s like to receive multiple $0 electricity bills.
Getting $0 electricity bills in summer
In summer, Emma’s solar system was generating enough solar energy to power her home and charge her battery. Her battery was usually fully charged by the early afternoon and so the excess solar power she wasn’t using was exported to the grid to earn her a feed-in credit.
With a fully charged solar battery, she was able to power her home well into the evening and usually right through to the next morning. This meant she was able to go weeks without drawing much electricity from the grid at all and, with her feed-in credits on top of this, was receiving $0 electricity bills!
Check out Emma’s summer battery update below.
What about the rest of the year?
Emma lives in Melbourne where the days are much shorter in winter. With less sun around, Emma’s solar panels generate less electricity which means there’s less excess solar power available to charge her battery.
As a result, her battery will get her through the early evening peak and then her home switches to grid energy. When the sun rises again the next day, her panels begin generating electricity again.
Here’s Emma’s battery update 10 months later, having experienced what it’s like in both summer and winter:
Is it worth getting a solar battery?
While Emma wasn’t getting $0 electricity bills in winter, they were still much less than the bills she was getting before. This is because, with her battery, Emma was able to store her excess solar energy (however much is available) and therefore get more value from it than if she were to export it.
It’s Spring now and Emma’s battery is already lasting longer into the night. If you live further up north, the difference you’ll experience between summer and winter will be less pronounced than Emma’s experience in Melbourne.
But regardless of where you live, it’s normal to see fluctuations between the seasons with both your solar panels and battery. The key is to get a battery that’s the right size for you.
The risk you run getting a battery that’s too big is that you may not be able to fill it up in winter and that means you’re paying for capacity you’re not actually using. In fact only around 20% of Australian solar households could actually fill a big battery like a Tesla Powerwall 2 all year round.
A modular battery package designed to fit your needs
At DC Power Co, we designed a modular battery package that’s suitable for the majority of Australian households.
Our package’s 4.8kWh battery is a good size for around 40% of solar households (like Emma’s) while our 9.6kWh battery package will be suitable for another 40% of solar households.
To help you work out the right size for you, we’ve built the DC Sizing Calculator. All you’ll need is a copy of your winter power bill.
Don’t have solar panels yet? Our solar and battery package is designed for people adding solar and a battery at the same time. It combines world leading solar panels, an Australian-designed battery system and local, experienced installers. Find out more here.