Should I Buy a Solar Battery?

If you’re looking to save more on your energy bill, then a solar battery probably seems like the next most logical decision. While solar batteries are great for maximising your solar system and becoming more self-sufficient, there are a few important things to consider before taking the leap.

How much energy am I exporting?

Most people think that now they have solar they should get a battery, but the first thing you need to look at is how much energy you are exporting to the grid. A solar battery is charged by the excess energy that your solar system produces, and you don’t use. If you’re someone that uses very little power during the day, then you’re likely exporting a lot of your solar and a battery storage system might be a great solution for you.

However, if you’re home all day and you export very little of your solar energy back to the grid, then a battery will be of very little use to you. Look on the second page of your electricity bill and look at how many kWhs of solar you are exporting every month. You should be exporting enough energy to the grid to power the battery. For example, if you’re thinking about purchasing a 7kWh battery, you should be exporting a minimum of 7kWhs a day to the grid. It is possible to charge your battery with power from the grid however you’ll see more savings if you avoid this.

How much is your Feed-in Tariff?

If you’re on a high feed-in tariff (FiT) and you’re exporting a lot of your solar energy, then a battery likely won’t be a good choice for you. Depending on how high your FiT is, you will likely save more exporting the energy to the grid than storing it to use at night. A good rule of thumb is that if your FiT is higher than what you are paying for grid power, you should export it back to the grid to get the FiT. If it is under, which it is in most cases today, a battery could be a good option.

How does the return on investment look?

Like any investment, it’s important to analyse your return. Sit down and work out much you’ll save against how much you’ll spend and determine how long it will take you to recoup your money. It’s also important to take into consideration how you’re going to pay for it. If you’ve got the money sitting in the bank, then it might be more viable than taking out a loan and paying interest.

Can I get a battery rebate?

Another important factor to consider is if you’re eligible for any rebates or incentives. There are currently four battery rebates available in Australia.

Victoria

VIC Solar Rebate

The VIC Solar rebate enables eligible homeowners to receive a rebate of up to $4,838 to add a new battery onto an existing solar system. This rebate is currently in the trial phase and there are only 1000 rebates available. It is also means tested and there are a number of eligibility requirements. You can read them and apply here.

Origin Virtual Power Plant

The Origin Energy Virtual Power Plant (VPP) enables homeowners to purchase a heavily discounted battery. Origin Energy was awarded a $4.5 million grant by the Victorian Government to create a Virtual Power Plant. This is not means tested and can be purchased in a solar and battery package or battery alone. You could get a 7kWh battery for as little as $3,945. You can read more about it and apply here.

South Australia

South Australia’s Home Battery Scheme

The South Australia Home Battery Scheme enables eligible homeowners to receive battery rebates of up to $4,000 for the installation of a new battery storage system. All South Australian homeowners are eligible for this subsidy however, concession card holders are entitled to a larger subsidy. The scheme offers a grant of $300 per kWh and $400 per kWh for concession card holders and interest free loans to pay the remainder of the costs. You can read more and apply here.

New South Wales

Empowering Homes Program

The Empowering Homes Program is an initiative by the NSW Government that enables eligible homeowners to receive interest free loans for solar and battery packages and battery installation. Eligible homeowners can receive an interest free loan of up to $14,000 for solar and battery packages or $9,000 to add a battery storage system onto an existing solar system. You can read more and apply here.

Does it have back-up functionality?

While it’s most common for people to install batteries for the extra savings, a lot of people purchase them because they live in an area with grid instability. It’s important to do your research and ensure your battery has back up functionality. Some battery storage systems only work while connected to power so it’s important to be aware of this when making the switch.

Just like going solar, purchasing a battery storage system should be well thought out. It’s important to do your research and make sure that it’s the right choice and the right time for you to make the switch. Battery storage systems are still out of reach for a lot of people but just like we saw with solar panels, the price will eventually drop making it more accessible to the greater population.