Should I get a battery?

This is part 6 of the FREE solar for beginners email course. If you’ve stumbled across this page and would like to sign up from the beginning, click here.

Perhaps you’re wondering if it’s worth adding a battery to the mix as well?

But how does it work and do you really need one?

Let’s find out.

First, let’s start with the basics.

How do batteries work with solar?

Remember our how solar works video?

Lucy talked about how any excess electricity you don’t use, gets sent out the grid and in return you get paid a feed-in tariff.

So what happens when you add a battery?

Well, instead of sending out that excess electricity to the grid, it will go direct to your battery. At night, you then use this energy from the battery to power your home from the sun. This handy diagram below illustrates the process.

Source: NSW Government Home Solar Battery Guide

And now comes the best part.

Because you’ll be buying much less electricity from the grid – you’ll be able to save anywhere between 60-90% off your electricity bills.

Imagine that.

But batteries are still expensive right?

Well, yes.  But the good news is – they’ve actually dropped in price over recent years.

At the moment, they still cost anywhere between $8,000 to $16,000 depending on the size and model of the battery.

So is it worth the cost?

Well, the short answer is – it depends.

Even though a battery can save you 60-90% off your energy bills, at the moment the payback time is approx. 10 years and batteries typically have a warrantied life of 10 years as well. Compare this with solar, which has a 3-7 year payback period and a warrantied life of 25 years.

Yet batteries, have still grown around the country – believe it or not? 21,00 batteries were installed in 2017, and this has continued to grow.

So, why are people installing batteries?

Here are three common reasons.

  1. Want to buy less power from your electricity retailer? Well turns out a lot of people do too. But if you think adding a battery will allow you to go off-grid, think again. Going off-grid is a tad more complicated and expensive, as you’ll need not one battery, but several.
  2. Want power in a black-out? Well batteries allow you to still keep the lights on in a power outage. But please note, this is not a standard feature. You’ll need to let your installer know, if this is something you want.
  3. Want to support a growing industry that will be an essential part of Australia’s sustainable future? As we transition to renewable energy, batteries will have an increasingly important role to play in helping stabilise and support the grid during high pressure periods. By purchasing a battery, you’ll know, you’re playing your part.

So should I get one?

Well, it’s up to you really, if you think it’s worth it.

As we mentioned, at the moment batteries have around a 10 year payback period. This might seem long, but if you really want to have power in a black-out, be more energy independent or support a growing industry – then it might make sense in your case.

But if not? You can always install solar now and add a battery later when prices drop.

And want to hear the best part?

You can add a battery to any existing system later. There’s no need to buy any special system. So if you’re not quite ready for batteries yet, you don’t have to miss out the benefits of solar.

But you might be lucky…

Do you live in one of these postcodes?

You might be eligible for a new battery rebate from the State Government, saving you to $4,838!

Pretty good, right?

You can read more about the battery rebates here.

So, that’s it for batteries, tomorrow we get back to solar.

If you decide to get a system, is maintaining it going to be another thing to add to your never-ending to-do list?

Let’s see. Stay tuned.