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Solar Batteries Australia

Written by

Shaun McGowan

Storage batteries are increasingly popular with new solar installations.

Fuelled by the continued success of brands like Tesla and Sonnen, the further adoption of electric vehicles around the world, and an increased awareness of green energy benefits, it’s likely that every installation will have a solar battery within the next 10 years.

How do home solar batteries work?

Without a battery, any excess solar energy your panels produce is diverted back to the grid. A battery captures any unused solar power generated during the day for later use at night and on low-sunlight days.

A well-planned and constructed solar panel array and battery can run your home substantially on solar power while reducing the payback period of the components considerably.

Using electricity from your battery can also be cheaper than using electricity from the grid, depending on the time of day and electricity tariffs in your area.

A solar battery stores excess solar energy to use at times when your panels cannot generate electricity (i.e. night).

Types of solar battery

Through our partners, we offer two leading solar energy storage solution for Australian homes:

You can read more about each of these products, including our comparison overview and their specifications, on the individual product pages.

Comparing Solar Batteries

Capacity

How much energy the battery can store, usually measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The nominal capacity is the total amount of energy the battery can hold; the usable capacity is how much of that can actually be used, after the depth of discharge is factored in.

Depth of discharge (DoD)

Expressed as a percentage, this is the amount of energy that can be safely used without accelerating battery degradation. 

Most battery types need to hold some charge at all times to avoid damage. Lithium batteries can be safely discharged to about 80–90% of their nominal capacity. 

Power

How much power (in kilowatts) the battery can deliver. The maximum/peak power is the most that the battery can deliver at any given moment, but this burst of power can usually only be sustained for short periods.

Efficiency

For every kWh of charge put in, how much the battery will actually store and put out again. There's always some loss, but a lithium battery should usually be more than 90% efficient.

The total number of charge/discharge cycles

Also called the cycle life, this is how many cycles of charge and discharge the battery can perform before it's considered to reach the end of its life. 

Lifespan (years or cycles)

The expected life of the battery (and its warranty) can be rated in cycles or years. The lifespan should also state the expected level of capacity at the end of life; for lithium batteries, this will usually be about 60–80% of the original capacity.

Ambient temperature range

Batteries are sensitive to temperature and need to operate within a certain range. They can degrade or shut down in very hot or cold environments.

Choosing a Solar Battery

The amount of storage you need to buy, in kWh, depends on your nighttime energy use. 

Here’s an example of your average Aussie home. 

  • The typical Australian home uses 16-20 kWh over 24 hours. 
  • For a 9-to-5 household, 60%+ of this electricity usage is between sunset and sunrise.
  • To run your home off a battery system, the minimum recommended size would be 10 kWh. 
  • You’d also want at least 8 kW of solar panels to charge it reliably through the year.
Understanding your solar energy system thanks to Money Matchmaker

How much does a home solar battery cost?

Costs vary significantly for solar batteries, but generally, the higher the battery capacity, the more you can expect to pay:

  • 6kWh: $4500–9600
  • 10kWh: $9800–14,000
  • 13kWh: $8000–18,000

The lower-end prices tend to be for a battery pack only, while higher-end prices include battery systems with a built-in battery inverter and other integrated components as well.

Compare the prices of different solar components such as batteries and panels

Is a Solar Battery Worth The Money?

A highly efficient system with a correctly installed and configured solar battery can reduce your grid use by up to 95%, eliminating electricity and feed-in tariff changes. 

If you’re considering a solar battery, then your main consideration will be the cost and payback period of the battery - something you may not experience if you’re not maximising your use of feed-in tariffs. 

  • Feed-in Tariffs are the amount you’re paid for any excess power generated by your solar panels and fed back into the grid. 

If you choose to install a battery, every kWh diverted to charging your battery will be a potential saving you’ve missed from forgoing the feed-in tariff. 

A solar battery provides energy security above all else, and some households may find the right balance between energy storage and sending energy back to the grid. 

  • Households with high power consumption and stored power could reduce the battery payback period to less than 10 years. 

Batteries also provide a form of insurance against the risk of electricity prices going up and feed-in-tariffs going down.

See how much you could save with solar power thanks to Money Matchmaker

Rebates, subsidies and Virtual Power Plants

Want to save on solar? These are current rebate or special loan schemes available in some states and territories of Australia:

  • NSW: Empowering Homes solar battery loan offer
  • VIC: Solar Homes Program
  • SA: Home Battery Scheme
  • ACT: Next-Gen Battery Storage Program
  • NT: Home and Business Battery Scheme

Rebate schemes change from time to time, so it's worth checking the Federal Government energy website to see what's available in your area.

Australian Solar Rebates (state-by-state latest)

There are also various Virtual Power Plant (VPP) programs in most states which can help reduce the cost of a battery. 

By joining a VPP program:

  • You agree to make the stored energy in your home battery available to the VPP operator 
  • The VPP operator will then use it to supply the grid in times of high demand.
  • You're paid a subsidy, which might be in the form of reduced energy bills, a rebate or free installation. 

How long do solar batteries last?

Most solar batteries are designed to operate at high efficiency for a number of decades, provided they’re taken care of and not subjected to severe conditions.

However, Australia is home to a harsh and unforgiving climate in some areas, and there simply isn’t enough data to fully understand the lifespan of batteries in the Australian climate.

Reputable brands are always the more secure option when choosing a battery; cheaper brands have sometimes gone out of business and been unable to fulfil requests for replacements under warranty.

Solar panels are all about renewable energy

Learn More about Solar Energy in Australia

You can learn more about each of the components of a complete residential solar energy system in the guides below.

  • Solar Panels capture sunlight and convert it to electricity.
  • Solar Inverters manage the converted electricity to your home or the grid

Before you go ahead with installing solar to reduce your energy bills, it’s worth taking a look at the available solar rebates in your state.

Australian Solar Rebates (state-by-state latest)

Completely new to solar energy? Read our Residential Solar Starter Guide.

Residential Solar Starter Guide

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About the Author

Shaun McGowan from money.com.au

Shaun

McGowan

Shaun McGowan

Shaun is the founder of Money.com.au and is determined to help people pay as little as possible for financial products. Through education and building world class technology. Previously Shaun co-founded CarLoans.com.au and Lend.

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