Why your solar panel system needs a home battery

Why your solar panel system needs a home battery

If you’ve been following this blog, then you may recall a post a little while back about the Tesla Powerwall. The Tesla Powerwall is a home battery that allows you to store energy generated by your solar panel system so you can use it later.

While the Powerwall isn’t available in Australia yet, and probably won’t be for awhile, another form of home battery, the lithium-ion battery, has been available for about a year or more.

What’s the big deal about a home battery?

Home batteries have soared in popularity in recent years as the high cost of electricity has seen more households turn to renewable energy sources to power their homes – and solar has become the most popular source of renewable energy, with the rooftops of more than 1.4 million homes in Australia currently occupied by solar panel systems.

The main problem with residential solar systems had long been that households tend to consume the most energy in the early morning and evenings, rather than when the sun is at its brightest and most powerful – during the day – and without somewhere to store that energy until it can be used when it’s needed, it gets sold back to the grid (known as a feed-in tariff).

This would be a pretty good deal if it didn’t leave solar PV system owners at the mercy of their energy companies – still. You see, the average net feed-in tariff rate is about 5.6 cents per kilowatt hour, while the average cost of electricity is about 25 cents per kilowatt hour (unless you’re a Bulk Energy member, of course! Our rates are WAAAAYYY cheaper!), so for the average solar system owner who consumes the most energy at night, a PV system doesn’t yield much ROI.

It’s important to note at this point that there’s no nationalised feed-in tariff program in Australia. Instead, each state and territory has its own feed-in tariff scheme, the rates for which change frequently. For example, the NSW feed-in tariff was originally 60 cents in 2009, but that was reduced to 20 cents in 2010, and was, again, reduced to a rate of 5.2-10.3 cents in 2012. It’s a very similar story in most other states, with the Northern Territory being the only exception, where the feed-in tariff rate is the same as the energy consumption rate.

Don’t use it? Well, don’t lose it

What this means is that, unless they have a home battery installed, most residential PV owners don’t see their energy bills reduce by any terribly significant amount because the feed-in tariff in most states is less than a quarter of the price it costs to buy electricity. But PV systems and home batteries don’t come cheap – The Grattan Institute estimates $37k as a starting off point – and it could take a number of years before households break even on the cost of having a system installed. The upshot is that, once installed, you no longer have to worry about the rising cost of electricity.

Don’t have a cool $37k to drop on a solar PV and home battery system for your home? Join the Bulk Energy Movement instead and start saving right away. We’ve helped thousands of Aussies to reduce the cost of their energy bills and we can help you too. Jump onto our website, pop in your details, and we’ll be in touch within 48 hours.

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