Adding a solar battery to your new solar installation (or not)

Adding a solar battery to your new solar installation (or not)

The adoption of solar energy in Australia is on a rapid rise, with more homeowners looking to harness the power of the sun. As you consider making the transition to solar, one crucial question might be on your mind: “Should I add a battery to my solar installation?”.

This article aims to guide you through this important decision, outlining the benefits, financial aspects, and various scenarios where a battery may or may not be a good fit for your home.

The Role of Solar Batteries

Solar batteries act as the backbone of an efficient solar energy system, taking its utility to the next level. They store excess electricity generated by your solar panels, enabling you to utilise this stored energy when the sun isn’t shining. In essence, they offer a way to extend the functionality of your solar system beyond daylight hours.

In a standard, grid-tied system, a solar battery can reduce your reliance on the grid, thereby enhancing your energy independence. For example, you can draw from your stored energy during peak hours when electricity rates are higher, saving money on your bills.

For off-grid or hybrid systems, a solar battery is even more crucial. It acts as your primary power source when the sun is down, ensuring that your home remains powered around the clock. This is especially valuable in regions where grid electricity is unreliable or unavailable.

The essence of adding a battery to your solar setup is to maximise the return on your investment, whether that’s through increased energy independence, cost savings, or even the ability to sell stored electricity back to the grid in some cases.

Benefits of Adding a Battery

When considering whether to add a solar battery to your solar panel system, understanding the full range of benefits can help you make an informed decision. Here’s a more detailed look:

  • Cost Savings: By using your stored solar energy during peak pricing periods, you can significantly reduce your electricity bills. Some batteries also offer ‘smart’ features that manage energy consumption, storing power when rates are low and deploying it when rates are high, optimising your savings.
  • Maximising Solar Investment: A battery ensures that none of the solar energy you generate is wasted. By storing excess energy, you maximise the utility and financial returns from your solar panel system, making it an even more worthwhile investment. You are also eligible to join a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) to maximise returns even more.
  • Energy Independence: Having a solar battery allows you to store excess solar power generated during the day. This energy can be used at night or on cloudy days, reducing your need to draw electricity from the grid. This increased independence can be especially valuable during peak usage times when grid electricity is most expensive.
  • Backup Power: In case of blackouts or grid failures, a solar battery can act as a reliable backup, keeping essential appliances like refrigerators, lights, and medical equipment operational. This can provide peace of mind and security, particularly in regions where power outages are common.
  • Sustainability: Using a battery to store excess solar energy means you’re relying less on fossil-fuel generated electricity from the grid. This contributes to a lower carbon footprint and supports broader sustainability and climate goals.
  • Grid Support: Advanced battery systems allow you to feed excess energy back into the grid. This not only has the potential to earn you credits on your electricity bill but also helps to stabilise the local energy supply, particularly during peak demand periods.

Each of these benefits plays a role in enhancing your solar energy system, making it a more robust solution for your household’s energy needs.

Financial Considerations

When weighing the decision to add a solar battery to your solar installation, the financial considerations are paramount. The initial outlay for a solar battery varies, influenced by factors such as brand, capacity, and additional features. While this upfront cost is significant, it’s crucial to consider how it fits into your broader financial and energy-saving goals.

On the flip side, the long-term savings potential is one of the most persuasive arguments for taking the plunge. By storing excess solar energy, you can use it during peak times when electricity from the grid is most expensive (or take advantage of wholesale price trading). To work out your Return on Investment (ROI), you’ll need to calculate your current electricity costs during peak hours and contrast this with the estimated savings provided by your solar battery over a given period, usually years. Often, these savings can be substantial enough to not only offset the initial investment but also generate real monetary gains.

In some cases, financing options can be structured so that your energy savings cover your finance payments, allowing you to start realising these savings immediately.

Deciding on a Battery: Add Now or Later?

When you’re planning your solar installation, one question that may arise is whether to add a battery immediately or wait and install it later. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. System Compatibility: Not all solar panel systems are “battery-ready.” Installing a compatible system from the start can make it easier and more cost-effective to add a battery.
  2. Improved Solar Investment: If you’re installing a new solar panel system, incorporating a battery at the outset ensures you’re maximising your system’s capabilities from day one. It also eliminates the need for future retrofitting, which could incur additional costs.
  3. Immediate Savings: The sooner you install a battery, the quicker you can start benefiting from reduced electricity bills. With electricity prices on the rise, the value of these savings should not be underestimated.
  4. Immediate Needs: If you already experience frequent power outages, high electricity bills during peak hours, or have a specific need for energy independence, adding a battery right away could be beneficial.

Understanding these aspects can help you decide whether adding a battery immediately makes the most sense for you, or whether it might be a project for the future.

Common Australian Household Scenarios

To provide more context, let’s examine some common household scenarios where adding a solar battery can be particularly beneficial:

  1. High Energy Use in the Evening: If your household consumes a lot of energy during the evening when solar panels aren’t generating power, a battery can store excess energy for use during these peak times.
  2. Frequent Power Outages: If you live in an area prone to blackouts or extreme weather events, a solar battery serves as a reliable backup, ensuring you’re not left in the dark.
  3. Remote or Rural Locations: For properties situated in remote areas where grid access is limited or costly, a solar battery can be a crucial component of a self-sufficient energy system.
  4. Peak/Off-Peak Tariffs: If your electricity pricing varies throughout the day (time-of-use tariffs), a battery allows you to store energy when prices are low and use it when prices are high, optimizing your energy costs.
  5. Self-Consumption Goals: If your aim is to consume a higher proportion of the energy you produce, rather than feeding it back into the grid, a battery allows you to achieve a higher self-consumption rate.

By assessing your household’s specific needs against these common scenarios, you can better determine how a solar battery could fit into your energy strategy.


Deciding whether to add a solar battery to your solar panel system is a significant choice that involves various considerations. From immediate financial savings and increased energy independence to the flexibility of managing your household’s specific needs, the benefits are numerous. Coupled with financing options that make it easier to manage upfront costs, there’s a compelling argument for making the investment now.

As one of Australia’s leading solar installers, Arkana Energy offers tailored solutions that consider your energy usage, roof positioning, and financial objectives. We work with top brands to ensure you get the best quality and performance out of your solar battery.

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