This month’s data saw changes only in the larger two size categories that we track (i.e. 11-15kWh and 16-20kWh), where average prices actually increased slightly, due partially to the addition of high-end products from sonnen. For the time being our ‘Are We There Yet?’ Meter continues to track only battery prices in the best case scenarios (i.e. lowest prices on time of use billing), where payback periods continue to hover around 11-13 years for full/retrofit battery systems, or about 8-9 years for ‘battery only’ systems (see notes below for more details on each).

We anticipate more significant pricing changes to the two smaller size categories in May, as installer in our network add and update their offers.

Important note: None of the prices & costs detailed below include the installation of a solar system. For current solar system prices, please visit our Current Solar System Prices page.

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Average out-of-pocket battery installation prices – April 2018

The table below displays average, indicative battery installation prices from a range of installers around Australia, most of whom are active in the Solar Choice network. Prices include installation and GST.

Click to enlarge.

Not sure what battery size is right for your home? Check out our Quick Guide to Sizing Residential Solar & Battery Systems

Average, high & low battery installation prices – April 2018

The table below is pretty information-dense, so make sure that you read the footnotes and the text below.

Click to enlarge.

In this table we try to take a holistic approach to representing battery value. When comparing battery systems, people in the industry typically speak in terms of ‘dollars per kilowatt-hour’ ($/kWh) of storage capacity. This is an easy shortcut for discussing battery value (which is why we’ve included it), but doesn’t tell the full story as different batteries can tolerate different levels of use. For example, some batteries may only be charged/discharged (‘cycled’) once daily, while others can by cycled up to 2.7x per day (see: sonnen) without voiding the warranty.

To this end, we’ve also included figures on ‘energy throughput‘. The energy throughput metric gives you an idea of how much you’ll pay for each kWh of energy that you pass through the battery over its lifespan.

We’ve looked at two scenarios:

  1. If you cycle the battery as many times as its cycle life will allow per day (total cycle life), or
  2. If you cycle it only once per day (which is the more realistic scenario since most homes will charge their batteries only with the sun and not with the grid – c.f. tariff arbitrage).

As noted in the footnotes of the image above, these figures are highly indicative and are intended to serve as a means of comparison between battery products – they do not take into account battery degradation or efficiency.

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The ‘Are we there yet?’ Meter(s)

Despite their growing popularity, the vast majority of the almost 2 million households with solar panels in Australia do not have batteries. As battery technology costs fall, battery storage will become more financially attractive and the number of battery installations will increase.

The ‘Are we there yet?’ Meter (the charts below) gauge the overall attractiveness of home battery storage in Australia – for both households considering a brand new solar-plus-storage system as well as those looking at a possible battery retrofit.

We look at the national ‘low end’ battery prices for moderately-sized (5kWh & 10kWh) battery systems (not a specific product, but more an amalgamation of various products that we’ve seen) and see how the estimated payback periods stack up against a theoretical ‘ideal’ payback period of 7 years; we see this 7 year mark as being a reasonable marker of the battery market being where it needs to be to make sense for most households (the ‘there’ in ‘are we there yet?’).

So is battery storage there yet?

1. Battery plus inverter – (Relevant for homes undertaking a full battery retrofit or a new solar & storage system with two inverters)

At just under $1,000/kWh for systems on the ‘low’ end of the price spectrum, and with payback periods coming in at just over 10 years in the right combinations of circumstances, we’re close enough for lots of Australians to justify making an investment in a battery retrofit, but not yet in the territory of ‘mass appeal’.

Note that this month we updated the electricity price details we use in our modelling (see here), which has changed the results beyond just the battery price movements.

Also remember that this chart is meant to reflect the national situation as an amalgamated whole – your individual situation (including the state you live in, the amount you pay for electricity & the deal you get on a battery system) may be conducive to a shorter payback period, so we encourage you to look into it for yourself.

(You can get battery system pricing by requesting a Quote Comparison through our system. You can evaluate battery viability for your situation using our  Solar & Battery Storage Sizing & Payback Estimator Tool.)

‘Full’ battery-plus-inverter system installation prices vs average payback periods across two battery size categories (5kWh and 10kWh). Note that the lowest price on a 5kWh battery size category offering is already below the $7,000 affordability threshold. Click to enlarge.

2. Batteries only – (Relevant for homes purchasing a brand new solar+storage system with hybrid/battery-ready inverter, or retrofitting batteries to a battery with a hybrid/battery-ready inverter)

For anyone in the market for a brand new solar system, it may be worthwhile to tack on a small or medium-sized battery bank while you’re at it, judging by this month’s data. A 5kW solar system plus (roughly) 5kWh battery bank could cost as little as $10,000, depending on where you live and which products you go with. A system of this size at this price would enable most households to dramatically reduce their electricity bills, would deliver a reasonable return and would allow for a respectable degree of energy independence (possibly including some emergency blackout protection).

‘Battery only’ pricing vs payback periods across two battery size categories (5kWh and 10kWh). Note that payback periods are already below 10 years for two situations, while indicative installation prices are around or under the $7,000 mark for ‘low’ price 5kWh battery banks. Click to enlarge.

About this data

Solar Choice’s Battery Storage Price Index is the companion to our Solar PV Price Index, which covers solar system installation prices around Australia. The aim of the Battery Storage Price Index is to assist shoppers in getting a grip on this relatively new market and assess whether batteries are worth their while.

Tables and charts included in this article were compiled using data from Solar Choice’s installer network database (as well as a couple of outside sources), which contains regularly-updated pricing and product details from over 100 solar & battery installation companies across Australia. Prices do not ordinarily incorporate meter installation fees or additional costs for difficult installations.

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© 2018 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

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