Batteries are the hot topic in the world of solar power at the moment, in fact three-quarters of people that we asked say that they’d rather invest in a solar storage battery than improve the energy efficiency of their home (out of 473 respondents). So, let’s talk batteries!
Get more from your solar panels with a solar storage battery
We often think of solar storage as the silver bullet to avoid declining feed-in tariffs, but, as you probably know, batteries can do much more than that. With a battery, you can take control of your household energy, increase your self-sufficiency and decrease your reliance on power companies and the grid.
If your solar power isn’t consumed as soon as it’s created, it’s automatically fed back into the grid. Because of this, most solar households are only ever utilising around 25% of their solar system’s electricity (according to our estimates). With a battery, a typical solar household could boost this to over 80% or even higher.
If you’re on a standard feed-in tariff you can use a battery to utilise your solar power at home. This means buying less electricity from the grid and getting cheaper bills to boot.
If you’re on a premium feed-in tariff (that’s above 60c in Victoria and 44c in Queensland), you’re being paid generously for your solar electricity so a battery isn’t your best option. You’d actually benefit most from exporting your solar electricity.
Keep your lights on in a blackout
Many solar households dream of being the only house on the street with the lights on during a blackout. While solar panels themselves can’t deliver this level of self-sufficiency, with a storage battery they can.
It’s important to note though that not all batteries have this feature, known as blackout protection. This is because as a default, grid-connected solar (and storage systems) are configured not to export electricity during a blackout. This is to protect the people working on the poles and wires from electrocution – makes sense!
You can achieve blackout protection through what’s known as a hybrid system, which essentially isolates the solar-storage system from the grid when it detects the grid’s voltage drop (i.e. the blackout).
Government rebates for solar storage
With typical prices ranging from $10,000 to $17,000, batteries are a little expensive and not quite cost-effective for most households yet. But with some governments offering rebates, they will be more attractive very soon.
In Victoria, from 1 July 2019, the State Government is offering a rebate for up to half the value of the installation of the battery (up to $4838). It’s only for 10,000 households and there will be eligibility requirements applicants will need to meet. We’ll share more on this soon.
The great things about governments subsidising solar storage batteries is that this will drive demand, increase competition and hopefully bring down the price.
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