There is a phenomenal amount of buzz about home battery storage in Australia – it’s a hot topic because of the potential value proposition and the allure of energy independence. But does battery storage yet make sense for Australian homes? Yes, in some circumstances – which we discuss in this article.

Some background: Going solar in Australia in 2016

Rooftop-solar-small-scale-windRooftop solar by itself (without batteries) is a good investment almost everywhere in Australia. Thanks to low solar system prices (which we keep monthly track of) and high retail electricity prices, a system can have a payback time as short as 2-3 years (e.g. 3kW solar system in Brisbane for home that uses about 25kWh of energy per day – assumes the home manages to use nearly all (80%) of the energy produced). Check out our simple ‘solar only’ payback estimator here.

The key to getting the most out of a solar system in Australia these days is to ‘self-consume’ as much of the energy as possible – i.e. use the solar energy directly to reduce the amount of energy that needs to be purchased from their electricity retailer. Any solar energy sent into the grid is worth almost nothing for new system owners (although the opposite is true for homes on legacy feed-in tariffs, which are closed to new applicants). This means solar homes should try to run as many appliances as possible during the daylight hours (e.g. on timers) to maximise their solar usage.

It also means that solar system owners need to choose a system that fits their electricity demand level and consumption pattern – generally speaking, a system that is too large will offer less value than a system that is too small. (Read more: How to get the most out of your solar system – Select the right system size and Know your electricity consumption habits.) We have a simple solar system sizing estimator tool here. Read the full article →

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Solar homes exceed 50% penetration mark in 14 suburbs

May 26, 2016
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Rooftop solar uptake is continuing to grow in Australia, with a new report showing 14 suburbs with PV penetration above 50 per cent, and many others with uptake far above their state’s average, sometimes as high as 65 per cent. According to the Climate Council’s latest data on the performance of renewable energy in Australia’s […]

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Who needs batteries? How SolarImmersion puts your excess solar energy to work

May 25, 2016
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Every day, thousands of Australia’s solar homes send excess solar power into the grid for little or no financial reward. SolarImmersion is a simple gadget that puts surplus solar energy to better use – by diverting it into your hot water tank. Is your solar system living up to its full potential? These days, getting […]

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First Renewable Cities Australia Forum to be held 1-2 June in Sydney

May 25, 2016
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Australia will host its first ever Renewable Cities Australia Forum next week at the Australian Technology Park in Sydney. The forum will be held alongside the Energy Storage Conference & Exhibition and shares access to the energy storage exhibition and workshops. The purpose of the forum itself is to bring together decision makers, policy influencers […]

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Another 3GW of capacity required for Aus to meet 2020 renewables target

May 25, 2016

As much as 3000MW of new-build renewable energy capacity – or another 30 Clare Solar Farms – will need to be committed in 2016 alone if Australia is meet its 2020 renewable energy target, a new report has warned. The report, prepared by the Clean Energy Regulator, checks the progress of the RET scheme in […]

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Aquion’s saltwater batteries: Affordable, safe, clean – and available in Australia

May 24, 2016
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Aquion is a US-based battery manufacturer bringing a fresh approach to battery manufacturing. The company’s saltwater-based batteries are some of the most affordable, safest, and environmentally-friendly batteries on the planet, making them a great option for residential and commercial energy storage applications. The number of energy storage options in Australia are growing rapidly as more […]

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Westpac launches CEFC-backed financing for clean energy technologies

May 24, 2016
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A new loan facility launched by Westpac Bank in conjunction with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation aims to help Australian businesses invest in solar, battery storage, energy efficient technologies and electric vehicles. Using $200 million from the CEFC, the Westpac Energy Efficient Financing Program will offer finance leases, commercial loans and commercial hire purchase finance […]

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When do the solar feed-in tariffs end? A state-by-state look

May 24, 2016
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Solar feed-in tariffs were once the most influential factor in a given state’s rooftop solar market, but all of the generous rates once available have been closed to new applicants. Households and businesses who are receiving these incentives applied for them before a deadline (different in each state) and will continue to reap the benefits until […]

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Is it okay to put my solar panels flat on my roof, or should they be tilted?

May 23, 2016
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Solar panel tilt angle and orientation are two of the most important factors in determining how much electricity your solar panel array will generate. If you live in Australia and have a grid-connected solar system, your solar panels will be installed at the angle and aspect of your roof. In most cases – provided you have […]

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More rooftop solar could bolster energy security for Tasmania: Report

May 23, 2016
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A new report has emerged suggesting that the solar power generated on Tasmania’s rooftops is being seriously undervalued, a factor that is holding back growth in an industry that could bolster energy security and reduce reliance on back-up gas and diesel generators. The research, released on Friday by the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance (TREA) and […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index: May 2016

May 23, 2016
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Average commercial solar system prices continued to hug $1.32-$1.33 for the 5th month running (since the beginning of the year), according to data from Solar Choice’s installer network. Larger systems (50kW, 100kW) saw a slight price increase of about 2-3c per watt, while smaller systems (10kW, 30kW) saw a similarly minor decrease. Commercial solar system […]

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UNSW team achieves new solar PV efficiency record of 34.5%

May 21, 2016
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A University of NSW team led by Professor Martin Green and Dr Mark Keevers has reported a new world efficiency record for solar cells using unfocused sunlight – the sort that falls on the rooftop solar modules on homes and businesses. The new record is more than 10 per cent ahead of previous achievements – […]

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Greens policy would put 31,000 EVs on Australian roads by 2021

May 20, 2016
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The Greens have released a policy plan that aims to get 31,000 more electric vehicles on Australian roads by 2021 – up from little more than 1,000 now – and add 330 more charging stations. The plan involves subsidising EV buyers to the tune of free registration for the first five years after purchase of […]

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Melbourne solar panels: Compare system prices and installers

May 20, 2016
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Are solar panels still worth the investment in Melbourne? It would seem so: Tens of thousands of Victorian households have installed solar PV systems in the last few years alone, with 10-15% of homes in the Melbourne area now meeting at least part of their energy needs with the sun. This article takes a look at […]

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How much does a 5kW solar system cost in Melbourne, Victoria?

May 19, 2016
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Solar power is still a great investment option for Melbourne homes & businesses, even after a number of changes to state and federal government incentives. 5kW solar systems have proven to be one of the most popular system sizes in not only Melbourne, but also the rest of Victoria and Australia as a whole. But how […]

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Solar Choice visits one of the first Tesla Powerwall installations in Sydney’s Northern Beaches

May 19, 2016
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Tesla’s Powerwall is the most well-known of the rapidly growing list of home battery storage devices in Australia which includes the likes of LG, Enphase, Aquion and a host of other cool technologies. The nominal 7 kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery bank – designed and manufactured by the USA’s Tesla Motors – made a huge splash in the […]

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Seven habits of smart solar shoppers

May 19, 2016
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Going solar is still a no-nonsense investment options for homes across Australia, with payback periods as short as 2-3 years in the right circumstances. This is due in great part to the fact that Australia is home to some of the lowest residential solar system installation prices in the world – making solar panels relatively low-risk […]

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Australian Energy Storage Database to become ‘one stop shop’ for Aus storage project info

May 18, 2016
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Yesterday the Australian Energy Storage Alliance (AESA) officially announced the launch of the Australian Energy Storage Database (AESDB), which will serve as the authoritative resource for existing and upcoming energy storage projects in Australia and New Zealand. The Australian arm of the database is a portal to the Global Energy Storage Database created under the US […]

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Time of use vs flat rate tariffs for solar energy storage: Which makes more sense?

May 18, 2016
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There are many important considerations when it comes to installing a battery storage system for your home. One of the most important ones is whether or not to switch electricity tariffs from a flat rate to a time-of-use rate. Which one will provide the most benefit once you have batteries installed? When talking about retail […]

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A brain for your battery storage system: Q&A with Reposit Power

May 17, 2016
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Reposit Power is a Canberra-based start-up that promises to be one of the key facilitators of Australia’s battery storage revolution. Their product is an $800 battery storage system control system (a ‘Reposit Box’) that could spell the difference between a home’s saving a little and saving a lot on an energy bill – all through intelligent […]

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Renewables supply record 90% of German power demand, sending prices into the negative

May 17, 2016
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Solar, wind, biomass and hydro energy combined to supply a record 90 per cent of Germany’s total power demand at times on Sunday 8 May, and sent power prices into the negative for several hours. The spike at around midday on Sunday resulted from a combination of reduced demand and robust solar and wind energy […]

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