There are many reasons why going solar is an excellent investment for Australian homes and businesses. Local electricity providers charge some of the highest tariffs in the world, and solar panels can greatly reduce your power bills. Australia is also a very sunny country, which makes solar power systems very productive.
However, you can achieve even better results by installing solar batteries along with your panels, since you can store energy for nighttime or for cloudy days. You can also use a solar battery as a backup power source when there is a blackout. Solar panels are great on their own, but they cannot deliver electricity when there is no sunlight – you need a solar battery for this.
How Does a Solar Battery Work?
The basic principle of a solar battery is very simple. When your solar panels are producing more electricity than what your home or business is consuming, the difference is stored in the battery system. You can then use that electricity when your solar power system is not generating, instead of consuming expensive energy from the power network.
For example, you can use the energy stored in a solar battery to power your lights and home appliances at night, even when there is no sunlight. Without batteries, you would depend on your electricity provider to keep these devices running at night. Solar panels alone can greatly reduce your power bill, but a battery system makes you even more independent from the grid.
The Benefits of a Combined Solar and Battery Solution
Solar panels from quality brands can generate electricity for more than 25 years, while their payback period is often less than 5 years. During that time, they can help you save thousands of dollars in power bills. The only limitation of solar panels is not being able to provide electricity all the time, since they depend on sunlight. However, this issue disappears when you install a combined solar and battery solution.
With a combined system, your solar panels will continue to generate electricity like they normally do, but you can store part of that energy for any time of the day. You can also use more solar panels to increase your surplus production, ensuring that the batteries are always charged fully.
- Normally, the surplus electricity produced by solar panels is sent to the grid, and you get a credit in your next power bill. However, the amount that electricity providers pay for each kilowatt-hour is much smaller than what they charge you!
- On the other hand, when electricity is stored in solar batteries, you get to save the full value of that electricity.
There are some electricity tariffs with a higher kilowatt-hour price during peak hours, which are the times of the day when the grid has the highest consumption. If you have a combined solar and battery solution, you can use the stored electricity precisely when the highest tariffs are being applied – this maximises your savings.
Types of Solar Batteries in Australia
Most batteries that are used with solar panels can be classified into two main types: lead-acid and lithium-ion. However, most leading brands are now focusing on lithium-ion batteries, since they can store energy more efficiently, while lasting much longer. While lead-acid batteries may need a replacement in less than two years, there are now lithium batteries that can last for more than a decade. The Tesla Powerwall is a well-known example of a lithium-ion battery.
At Arkana, we only work with leading battery providers like Tesla, LG and Alpha ESS.
Things to Consider When Buying a Battery
Ideally, you should have a solar battery of the right size. A battery that is too small will only be able to power your home for a short time, before you are forced to use electricity from the grid again. However, a battery that is too large represents an unnecessary cost. If you have a battery with enough storage capacity for your nighttime needs, you can use solar electricity 24/7 – even when the sun is not shining.
Another important consideration before buying a battery is the size of your solar panel system. When you use solar panels by themselves, the system size is limited by surplus production. Once you start sending a lot of electricity to the grid, increasing the size of the solar array doesn’t make much sense – you are paid low for surplus production.
On the other hand, when there is a battery to store all the surplus production, you can use a larger solar array because all the electricity stays at home. There is no need to sell your extra kilowatt-hours to the grid for a low tariff.
How to Make the Most Of Your Battery Investment
Going solar is an excellent investment in Australia, unless you happen to live in a property that is covered by shadows all day long. However, with the abundance of sunshine and the high electricity prices, your return on investment is assured. When using solar batteries, the following are some recommendations that can help you save more:
- Make sure you have a properly-sized battery: As mentioned above, a small one will not be able to power your home appliances for much time, while an oversized one will be more expensive than necessary.
- Use the battery to avoid peak electricity tariffs: Since the energy in a battery can be used at any time, it makes sense to consume it when the electricity provider is charging the highest kWh prices or peak tariffs. This will maximise your savings, since you are avoiding the most expensive electricity from the grid.
- Make sure you make the most of any battery incentives available. In some parts of Australia, there are incentive programs for solar batteries. These can help you with either cash payments or financing options, which help you pay for batteries, improving your return on investment.
Choosing a Battery Supplier – How to Buy Well
When purchasing a solar battery, you must make sure you get a product from a high-quality brand with a solid warranty. This will ensure high performance, and you will also get a free replacement if something goes wrong. You should definitely avoid low-quality batteries: you will get low performance, they will only last a short time, and they can even start a fire.
Other than having a good product, you must also make sure you work with a trusted installer like Arkana Energy. This way you will get a professional installation, combined with good customer service and technical support. When you purchase a high-quality solar battery, and the installation is completed by professionals, you can expect the best possible results.