Residential battery storage installations ‘surge’ in 2017: Sunwiz

Home battery storage uptake in Australia is surging in 2017, as homes and small businesses seek to minimise their grid electricity usage, and maximise consumption of rooftop solar, to beat power price hikes.

New data from industry analysts SunWiz shows more than 7000 battery storage systems were installed across Australia in the first six months of the year, surpassing the 6500 recorded for all of 2016.

And while the market predicts the second half of 2017 to grow by 50 per cent on 2017-H1 figures, leading to total 2017 installations of 17,500, SunWiz believes the figure could exceed 20,000, effectively trebling year-on-year uptake.

According to The SunWiz 2017 Mid-Year Battery Report, this home battery boom – most are being sold in combination with a rooftop solar system, it says, rather than to existing solar households – is being driven mainly by rising electricity prices.

It is also happening despite the costs of battery storage barely shifting – according to the report, they have dropped by just around 5 per cent since January, primarily due to increased competition among wholesalers.

But as solar costs continues to fall, the payback time for customers buying PV and battery storage system is narrowing in most parts of the country due to much bigger savings on bloated power bills, the report said.

This is particularly the case in the major cities of Adelaide and Brisbane, says SunWiz founder and report author Warwick Johnston, where pay-back time for a small 5kWh battery can be as low as six years. And for the rest of Australia, households are looking at a pay-back period of within a decade.

“We are already seeing extraordinary growth in the Australian battery market despite little change in the price point, with a doubling of the market already appearing locked in this year on top of a 13-fold increase in 2016,” Johnston said in comments on Wednesday.

“Solar and battery installers say they are being inundated with inquiries, but many people are delaying purchase until the price point drops. Once we hit a tipping point in payback time, the sales of household batteries will skyrocket – becoming as common as the backyard swimming pool is today in the years ahead.”

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