Five things you need to know before you buy a solar battery

Australia is leading the world when it comes to solar panel installation.

Around 15 per cent of Aussie homes now have solar panels and more households are making the decision to cut their energy bills every day.

While solar panels are perfect for people who are at home during the day and can use the energy while it’s being generated, in reality most families use the bulk of their energy at night. If your household falls into this category, you may be considering the enormous benefits achievable via a solar battery.

Solar batteries store your solar energy so you can use it whenever you want, and they’re key to reducing your overall energy bills and making the most of your solar panel investment.

So what do you need to know before you buy a solar battery?

  1. What is a solar battery?

Solar batteries are simple in theory; they’re a battery that stores the energy generated by your PV (photovoltaic) solar panels.

Your solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, which is then converted from DC to AC electricity by your solar inverter. Electricity can then be stored in your solar battery, ready for household use whenever you need it most – not just when the sun is out.

Without a solar battery, the energy your solar system generates is lost once the sun is gone and power will be sourced from your energy provider at retail prices.

Solar batteries play a key role in your solar set-up and are fast becoming the most popular way to store electricity during the day for use at peak times such as the evening, rather than releasing it back into the grid.

Even households who are home during the day use energy at night. From watching TV or Netflix to cooking, switching lights on, charging up the iPad and gaming, night-time is when it all happens.

And because a solar battery’s average lifespan is about 10 years (depending on size and make) it’s a savvy investment that will save you money well into the future.

  1. Understand your usage

Professional advice will help you understand which battery is right for your circumstances. Analysis of your current power usage, the size of your PV solar system and your household needs are all taken into consideration when recommending the right installation.

Once your system is installed, you can track your power usage and even control appliances remotely with intelligent energy management systems such as carbonTRACK.

  1. Know your system

When it comes to solar batteries, size matters. Which is why they come in a range of sizes and storage capacities to suit any households needs.

Your current PV solar system is already generating electricity and powering your household during the day, saving you money on daytime electricity usage. The next step to maximising the power you are generating is to store the energy in a solar battery system that extends the usable period to 24/7, including peak evening times, rather than just through the day. This reduces the amount of energy you will need to draw from the power grid.

Solar battery systems come in a range of sizes, brands and price points to suit both your current PV system and the rate of your household energy consumption, as well as your budget. Analysing all these factors before installation will help determine the battery size that best fits your needs. In some instances, you may need to increase the number of solar panels on your roof to generate enough electricity for effective battery storage and usage.

A careful assessment of your budget, energy consumption, solar panel system and house layout will enable you to find you the perfect battery for your needs.

  1. Return on investment

Astute Australians who have installed solar batteries are already seeing a strong return on their investment. Average daily savings* can be from $0.016 to $3.20. Depending on the size and type of battery, you can expect to see full payback in 5-7 years*, while also enjoying significantly reduced power bills.

Thousands of Australians, such as Denise Kerry, have turned to solar batteries as a result of their energy retailer slashing the amount being paid for the energy their solar systems are generating and returning to the grid. In Denise’s case, it was cut to just 5 cents per kilowatt hour. She was then buying it back from the retailer at 23 cents per kilowatt hour.

Today, after solar battery installation, Denise has already seen big savings from the first bill, and she can see each day, via a simple online tool, exactly what solar energy has been generated, stored and consumed.

  1. Installation is simple

Solar batteries are installed near the inverter and switchboard, which is usually on the outside of your house or in the garage. For batteries installed outside, waterproofing and protection may be required. Always use the services of professional experts to help you choose the right battery for your home layout and energy needs.

It usually takes less than half a day to install your solar battery system and start storing energy, so there’s no lengthy down time.

*Source: Solar Service Group customer analysis

Solar Service Group is the one-stop-shop to advise, install and maintain your solar investment – here to help you find out the best solution for your home.