Energy storage is making its way into the mainstream media, with Sydney Morning Herald energy reporter Angela Macdonald-Smith writing about the growing level of interest in energy storage amongst Australian households. The article, How battery-powered homes are unplugging Australia, highlights the challenges and opportunities that the country’s energy storage market currently faces.
The article begins with the case of a woman named Jane Whiltsher who was so determined to be free of her electric utility that she opted to spend $40,000 on a solar-plus-storage system in order to become almost completely energy self-sufficient. For her, cost was not an issue. “As far as I am concerned if it takes me off the grid then it’s paid for itself already,” she is quoted as saying.
The author notes that the still-prohibitive cost of energy storage means that Ms Whiltsher’s approach is not yet a realistic one for everyone – especially the cost-conscious households who characterise the bulk of the Australian solar market.
But the economics of batteries are changing fast, and Ms Whiltsher represents the breed of early adopters who are now finding storage worth the money, if only to have the satisfaction of getting ‘off the grid‘ and spiting their electricity retailer. It is people like this who will pave the way for an energy storage mass market in Australia – a reality that many analysts believe is not far in the future.
Importantly – and as the author points out – not everyone who has an energy storage system installed will be doing so for total energy independence. Cost will be the driver in 90% of cases, as is currently true of rooftop solar PV. Furthermore, there are degrees of energy self-sufficiency.
Although the SMH article brings all of these points to the fore in a major national media outlet (with obligatory nods to Tesla’s Powerwall), Solar Choice has long been tracking this important aspect of the ‘energy revolution’. Today, about 1/3 of all the customer enquiries we receive are about batteries for solar.
The number of energy storage options in Australia is expanding rapidly, and with this expansion competition will increase, driving down prices further. For those who are considering getting batteries, the object right now should be to get educated about these options and the potential benefits.
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