Everything to know about solar batteries

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For homeowners who want to boost their energy independence and reduce their electricity expenses, solar storage batteries are a popular choice. Extra solar power can be captured and used when needed, such as at night or during power outages, thanks to a house battery system. Electric vehicles can also be charged with batteries, lessening their environmental impact and dependence on coal-fired electricity.

Even though batteries may not yield a return on investment as quickly as solar panels alone, they can offer long-term advantages, including backup power, lower electricity bills, and the option to charge an electric car with renewable energy. Moreover, with a ten-year lifespan, batteries are a viable alternative for people who want to personalise their home energy system and increase their energy independence.

Solar Storage Battery info for beginners

With quality solar systems gaining more and more popularity due to the many benefits and savings it provides, there are always some questions and even confusion about some aspects of this relatively new renewable technology.

One of the products that attract a lot of questions is the residential solar storage battery. This AEA FAQ gives you an overview of home batteries, which can be helpful in case you are looking into purchasing this product. 

Home Batteries and Electric Vehicles 

The next step a homeowner can take to reduce their carbon footprint, after solar and batteries, is purchasing an electric vehicle. If you are looking into a home battery, consider how likely you will purchase an electric vehicle in the next 2 to 5 years.

While the uptake of electric vehicle sales in Australia has been slow under the previous Coalition Governments, global EV sales have more than doubled in the past years. 

Sales of internal combustion vehicles are falling steadily, with some countries setting deadlines as soon as 2030 for phasing out combustion engine cars.

Nevertheless, as the number of EVs increases steadily, the increased electricity consumption of EVs can be a significant environmental concern if the electricity used still comes from coal-fired generation. So introducing a bigger EV fleet into society has to go hand in hand with increasing renewable energy in the available grid power.

Additionally, we need to create a sustainable life cycle for EVs, including their battery components.  

How does it work?

A solar system and home battery storage unit in a home will let the residents charge their EV overnight via the battery using solar energy generated during the day. 

This electric vehicle charging method will minimise the load pressure on the grid and allow for a more environmentally friendly use of EVs. So if you are considering an EV in the near future, a home battery can make sense.

Long term investment

Batteries have an ROI that is not as fast as a solar system alone, but they are now coming into the acceptable range. When we purchase a kitchen, swimming pool, or sauna, we never seem to question the ROI and just buy it to enhance our lives, so why does this question seem to be such a big issue when it comes to batteries? 

In most scenarios, a battery will pay itself back over the life of the battery, meaning there is a limited cash income gain but several other tangible benefits. 

So while you get your money back for over a decade, you will also enjoy backup power during blackouts, bragging rights to your neighbours when they start lighting the candles, and the ability to power your EV with renewable energy. 

Batteries can be an excellent option for those who want to customise their home energy solution to fit their lifestyle, become energy independent, and save money.

With most battery manufacturers offering product warranties of around ten years, the overall returns are locked in for the system’s life.

Therefore if you pick a reputable brand with solid financial backing and a quality-focused local installer, you will get a peace of mind solution. 

two Tesla solar batteries mounted exterior to the house
Reputable solar batteries provide reliability and peace of mind in their longevity

Energy independence

Many people are concerned about the dependence on the electrical grid and regularly increasing electricity prices. Australians who have experienced more than a decade of price increases and inaction regarding climate change generally dislike and mistrust their energy retailer.

A grid-connected solar system with a battery backup called a hybrid system offers a way out of this dependency.

You can supply your own energy needs but still have a backup from the grid in case of an emergency or if the weather changes and solar production is low.

Investing in solar energy is your first step toward energy security, followed by adding a battery– or go for a combo pack and get both simultaneously.

Investing in a battery can give you close to complete energy independence, with the grid backup required only a few days of the year if the solar system and battery are sized appropriately by your chosen installer. 

Blackout protection

Battery backup is an excellent option if you live in an area susceptible to blackouts. In addition, having sufficient energy backup can be an excellent long-term investment if you need to store perishable food and keep the lights on at night. A fridge and freezer of wasted food can easily set you back a few hundred dollars, and a battery setup will protect you from such losses. 

Some people also run lifesaving equipment that requires a reliable electricity supply, and again in such cases, a blackout is a no-no.

With the right battery system, potentially with a generator to handle long high cloud days, and an extensive rooftop solar power system, you theoretically never need to rely on mains grid power again.

Virtual Power Plants (VPP)

VPPs are a linked system of solar power and battery storage systems that let neighbours and those tied into the network share excess energy between themselves and sell it back to the grid, usually at an excellent price.

A central VPP operator uses a software program to coordinate peaks and troughs in demand and judges when to sell energy at the highest price in the energy price auction system.

The biggest advantage of joining a VPP is most offer discounts on the cost of buying and installing your solar battery. In addition, a V P usually also offers higher feed-in tariffs for the solar energy you export than many energy retailers.

One issue nevertheless to consider is that the VPP operator gains control of your battery, so there could be times you wish to use your battery. Still, the capacity has already been drained by the VPP operator. On the plus side, they would have earned you potentially more than the price per kWh you will now pay to source this electricity from the grid. 

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