Solar battery storage

9 things you should know if you’re considering home battery-storage

by James Martin II on 8 February, 2018

in Useful solar tools and resources,Batteries & Energy Storage

For several years now, home solar battery storage has been a hot topic in Australia, and 2018 looks set to be the best year yet for batteries. If you’re actively considering battery storage for your own house, we’ve compiled a list of 8 things that will put you well on your way towards making the right decision.

1. Now is a good time to start looking into battery storage

Rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV – aka solar electric) technology has been mainstream for about a decade now, but grid-connected battery storage is still a relatively new idea. This means that battery products are not at the same stage of commercialisation or mass adoption that solar panels & inverters are, and we’re still more or less in the ‘early adopter‘ stage.

The biggest hurdle that most people run into as they consider battery storage options is capital cost. The retail price for many battery products is larger than the cost of going solar (only) with the most popular system sizes (4kW, 5kW, 6kW), and adding batteries to a solar system can easily double the price. Read the full article →

James Martin II

James Martin II

Communications Manager at Solar Choice
James has been Solar Choice's primary writer & researcher since 2010. He lives in Newcastle in a house with a weird solar system.
James Martin II

{ 4 comments }

Yahya Abdal-Aziz 14 February, 2018 at 8:28 pm

Thanks for your informative articles! They do give us a sense of how things are changing.

Still … Despite us being one of the most urbanised nations on the planet, believe it or not, there’s still a few (thousand) of us who _don’t_ live in the capital cities.

So it would be nice to occasionally get a clue as to what the changing markets will mean for us, who live in regional centres or even (heaven forbid!) the actual country. ;-)

Solar Choice Staff 15 February, 2018 at 8:23 pm

Hi Yahya – thank you for your very relevant comment! We’ve thought about doing our numbers & analysis on a state-by-state basis as opposed to focusing on the capital cities, but there are just too many variations within most Australian states (which are all pretty large, area-wise) for us to draw conclusions that are as meaningful when we paint with that wide a brush. Furthermore, our installer network (and therefore the data we have access to) is most heavily concentrated in the capital cities – not to mention the vast majority of our customers!

Another way to think of our city-by-city analysis is that you’re looking at a sort of bellwether for the state as a whole – while the details may not be exactly relevant, they give you an idea of where things stand.

That being said, I have taken your feedback on board and will see what we do about publishing some information for folks further afield from Australia’s population centres who are thinking about solar (and/or batteries!)

chris 9 February, 2018 at 12:36 pm

Matching a hybrid inverters seems to be the cheapest option – only except that all sellers have up’ed the prices for a hybrid, and cheapest one is at least $1000 more than a standard inverter.

Unless we can have a generous rebate program from the local Govt, these prices are not going to drop, particularly when the installers are charging $4-$5k on top of the capital outlay.

Solar Choice Staff 12 February, 2018 at 10:41 am

Hi Chris,

Thanks for commenting.

We do anticipate that the premium on a hybrid inverter will be about $1,000 over a standard string inverter. The best pricing we’re seeing for (lithium) battery storage (with a 10 year warranty) at the moment is about $700-$800/kWh, which is lower than ever but still a bit more than what we’d like to see (although it is workable for some people, as we’ve noted above). City of Adelaide and the ACT have both stepped up with local incentive programs for batteries, but we’d certainly like to see more follow suit!

As for $4-$5k profit margin on battery systems by installers, the fact is that they’re businesses who exist to make a profit. As competition increases and battery prices reach the requisite tipping point, competition will ‘naturally’ result in lower overall battery system prices (as it has done for solar – which is why solar is so affordable in Australia in the first place – which is why we’re even having this conversation about batteries!)

We’re tracking battery prices with our monthly Battery Storage Price Index here; it includes an ‘Are we there yet?’ to gauge both battery affordability & attractiveness as an investment.

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