7 Solar battery myths

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Technology like solar battery storage can lower energy bills and promote the usage of renewable energy sources. However, a few loud negative opinion makers may deter consumers from utilising the solar and battery home innovation.

Battery storage being too expensive is one of the most prevalent arguments against a purchase. However, the price of battery storage technology, when combined with solar and EV charging, is financially very advantageous. 

The idea that batteries are unreliable is another misconception. On the contrary, modern battery storage technologies are extremely dependable and made to last for many years.

The idea that batteries are bad for the environment is another urban legend. While specific environmental effects are associated with battery production, battery storage systems can assist in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

What are some of the biggest solar battery myths?

There are several different myths regarding solar batteries, which we cover below.

To reduce their reliance on the grid and their electricity costs, a homeowner with a solar panel system may include a battery storage system to store any extra energy generated during the day and use it at night. Solar power is a fantastic concept that almost anyone in Australia can take advantage of for significant savings on their energy bills.

The addition of a battery allows the home to use a more significant portion of the solar power generated by the solar system. As a result, it increases the homeowners’ ability to be self-sufficient for electricity.

A home storage battery will also deliver increased energy security by powering the house or some parts of the house during a blackout.

Myth 1: Modern home storage batteries are not very useful and reliable

Modern battery storage technologies are highly dependable and made to last for many years. Most battery storage systems have ten years or more extended warranties, giving users peace of mind.

With a life expectancy past their warranty period, they should give reliable long-term service and value to the home for many.

The increased use of modern battery technology within solar and electric cars has advanced lifespan, energy density and long-term reliability.

Myth 2: Home storage battery technology is not mature 

Battery technology has improved significantly over the last 10 years and is quite mature, stable and reliable in its present form.

Furthermore, an increasing number of brands currently provide warranties for up to 15 years, ensuring consistent performance throughout that duration, contingent upon meeting specific installation and usage conditions. This inclusion of extended warranties has become a standard practice for batteries.

Although there’s an ongoing development in energy density (kWh of storage per kg of weight), the fundamental technical aspects of modern batteries have currently stabilized.

Additionally, while software management, monitoring details, and other features are continually improving, this mirrors the evolution seen in other modern technologies like cars, computers, and mobile phones.

A new, slightly improved model will always be available around the corner. However, waiting for the next level of improvement will mean delays in experiencing the benefit of the battery in savings, self-sufficiency and energy security.

As the demand for electric cars and storage batteries increases, it’s projected that the pricing of batteries will not significantly decrease for several years, despite the expectation of dropping prices over time.

Don’t delay a purchase on this basis; waiting for the next best thing might result in missing out on the immediate benefits of the battery and potential savings.

Tesla powerwall on garage wall
Purchasing high-quality battery systems is exponentially more reliable and safe

Myth 3: Lithium-ion batteries are not safe, says the fire brigade

While it is true that Lithium-ion batteries have caused fires, often, the battery with an issue was of the low-cost variety in scooters and other small devices. The problem usually occurs when the wrong non-original charger is used to charge the batteries and the charger does not communicate with the battery management system.

With poor-quality batteries and wrong chargers, there is an increased risk of thermal runaway, where a fault within the battery cell generates excessive heat and can cause the battery to catch fire in one pouch. The fire then ruptures the next pouch, and more energy is released. However, quality batteries are very safe and reliable, with extremely rare issues and risk very low.

In addition, safety mechanisms are built into battery storage systems to guard against threats like fires. As an illustration, most systems have sensors to track the temperature and avoid overheating and safety shutdown procedures to protect against battery damage.

Australian regulations mandate installing batteries in locations that ensure protection and isolation from home living areas. This is aimed at reducing the risk of a fire engulfing the property in the rare event of product failure.

Myth 4: Home storage batteries are bad for our environment

While the production of batteries does have some environmental impact from the perspective that it is CO2 intensive in its manufacture, the use of battery storage systems can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions long term.

If you currently have a grid-connected solar system and decide to use a solar battery storage unit, you are technically increasing your home’s carbon footprint in the short term.

When you lack a battery, any excess energy produced is exported to the grid, offsetting the use of fossil fuels and directly contributing to reducing CO2. Unfortunately, some solar systems nowadays face limitations in exporting their renewable energy due to grid constraints.

By storing renewable energy in a home storage battery and using it when needed, battery storage systems can help to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels further.

Battery storage can help smooth out fluctuations in renewable energy production, including solar, making solar more reliable and allowing for greater penetration of solar energy on the grid.

From this perspective, using batteries will further reduce the burning of fossil fuels for electricity than using solar on its own will.

With correct sizing of the battery for daily use within a home, the energy payback period, whereby the amount of energy used offsets the CO2 from the production of the battery, is often less than two years.

solar battery installed on home
The long-term environmental benefits of solar batteries outweigh the immediate detriment

Myth 5: New home batteries are incompatible with your existing solar system

Every grid-connected solar system can have a battery added to it in the future using an AC-coupled battery, such as Tesla’s Powerwall. Enphase and Sonnen also manufacture AC battery technology for the Australian and New Zealand markets.

You can separately install an AC-coupled battery next to the meter board without affecting the solar generation process.

The AC battery inverter controller can monitor power from the inverter and the house, directing any excess solar-generated power to charge the battery instead of exporting it back to the grid.

The key factor determining the addition of batteries to an existing solar system is the amount of electricity the current system exports, which could otherwise charge the battery.

In certain scenarios, additional solar system capacity might be necessary to consistently provide more power for charging the battery.

Myth 6: Storage batteries are not helpful for most homes

While battery storage systems may not be suitable for everyone, they can be a valuable tool for many homeowners, businesses, and utilities looking to increase their use of solar energy and reduce their reliance on the grid.

In addition, battery storage systems can provide backup power during blackouts /outages and help improve the electricity grid’s stability and reliability. They also will become increasingly used to having solar energy available for EV charging at night.

Of course, in certain situations like off-grid batteries make even more sense,

With the current battery and solar pricing, solar battery storage makes sense if purchased in a solar & battery combo. In many cases, the payback period amounts to around 6 – 7 years, and it’s even shorter if the generated electricity powers an electric vehicle.

With the popularity of EVs improving, there is no doubt we will soon see massive improvements in technical battery solutions and pricing.

Therefore as long as the roof can support a decent size solar system, a battery solution is something one should consider.

LG Chem battery storage on wall
Although initially expensive, solar batteries provide a significant long-term return on investment

Myth 7: I cannot afford battery storage because it is expensive

While solar batteries are not cheap, they cost around $1200 to $2000 per kWh of capacity; a correctly sized battery for many homes can still provide a strong return on investment plus additional value from blackout protection (Note: not all batteries come with it).

Electricity prices continue to surge, having increased by over 20% since June 2023, and further hikes are anticipated in the coming years. Consequently, the potential savings from batteries are growing.

Battery owners appreciate the capability to charge a battery from solar panels and utilise it in the house during the expensive evening peak, where charges can reach an eye-watering 50 to 60 cents per kWh.

In such scenarios, it’s more sensible to store excess solar power in a battery to save 50-60 cents per kWh for evening use rather than selling the solar energy back to the grid at around 5 to 9 cents per kWh during daytime generation.

There’s an opportunity to generate additional income from solar batteries via Virtual Power Plants. Through these, you can subscribe to an energy plan where a VPP operator can draw power from your battery to sell on the electricity market during peak periods, offering you a premium rate in return.

This is still an emerging technology in some regions that will be increasingly available over the coming years.

Should I get a solar battery?

It depends on several factors, such as your energy needs, the size of your solar panel system, and your location. Generally, a solar battery can be a good investment if you are thinking of going solar or having a decent-sized solar panel system (6kW and over).

The battery will allow you to store the excess energy that your panels generate for use when your panels are not producing enough energy (e.g. at night or on cloudy days).

However, you should carefully consider the costs and potential benefits before deciding. We recommend speaking with a solar energy professional or further researching whether a solar & battery combo is right for you.

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