Tips for Purchasing the Top Solar Battery Storage

Discover the essentials of incorporating battery storage, like the Tesla Powerwall, into your residential solar energy system. Homeowners who prioritize energy efficiency are showing a keen interest in home battery storage. For those who have solar panels installed, a battery system is an efficient way to store excess electricity for later use, especially during low-sunlight periods or nighttime. However, it's important to understand the workings of these batteries and to gather information prior to setting up a battery storage system.

1. Exploring the Functionality of Solar Batteries for Home Use

The utilization of storage batteries for residential purposes is not a new concept. Remote properties utilizing off-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind electricity generation have employed battery storage for quite some time now to store surplus electricity for later use. Nowadays, storage batteries have become increasingly prevalent in newly installed solar panel systems, and it’s possible that in the coming 5 to 10 years, the majority of homes with solar panels will feature a battery system.

A battery system saves any surplus solar energy produced during the day, for later use during low-sunlight periods and nighttime. Battery-inclusive installations are gaining popularity, owing to the desire of many to become self-sufficient and independent of grid-tied energy. For most people, this decision is not only economical but also environmentally friendly, while for some, it is a way to express their independence from energy companies.

If the size of your solar panel array and battery is adequate, you can power your home entirely using solar energy. Depending on the time of day and electricity tariffs in your region, utilizing electricity from your battery could be more economical per kilowatt-hour (see Terminology) than obtaining electricity from the grid.

As per solar analytics company Sunwiz’s data from 2020, there were approximately 110,000 residential storage batteries installed in Australia, with about 9% of new solar installations that year featuring a battery.

2. The Cost of Residential Solar Batteries: How Much Should You Expect to Pay?

The cost of solar batteries can differ significantly, with higher battery capacity generally resulting in a higher price tag. Below are the typical costs for various nominal capacity sizes (note that these figures may only cover the battery, with installation costing extra):
5kWh: starting from $7,000
10kWh: starting from $11,000
15kWh: starting from $15,000
For instance, the Tesla Powerwall 2 with a 14kWh capacity is among the most popular batteries, costing around $16,500. However, the total cost after installation amounts to about $19,000 or more (based on information from SolarQuotes).
Lower-end prices are usually for battery packs only, consisting of cells and a battery management system. In contrast, higher-end prices typically indicate that the battery system comprises integrated components like a built-in battery inverter. When receiving quotes, make sure to clarify whether the price includes additional electrical work or the cost of a new inverter.
It can be more cost-effective to purchase a battery as part of an all-inclusive solar panel system package than to retrofit it into an existing system, especially if the current system is several years old and requires substantial upgrades to accommodate the battery.

3. Is Investing in Home Solar Batteries Worth It?

At present, installing a battery system in most homes may not be the most cost-effective option. Despite the growing popularity of batteries, they remain relatively expensive, with a payback period that often exceeds the battery’s warranty period of about 10 years.
Typically, the installation cost for a lithium-ion battery and hybrid inverter can range from $8,000 to $15,000, depending on the battery’s capacity and brand. However, as the electricity market continues to evolve in the next few years, and with the hope of decreasing battery prices, it is possible that it will become more economically viable for an average home to have a storage battery integrated into their solar PV system.

Despite the high cost of home batteries, some households with high power consumption can make economic sense of them, provided they are mindful of their solar-generated and stored power. Many people are investing in home battery storage or making sure their solar PV systems are battery-ready. While batteries are often viewed as less about pure economics and more about independence from the grid, they may be particularly useful for homes in areas with frequent power outages or other supply issues. We suggest getting multiple quotes from reputable installers before installing a battery, as having a strong warranty and support from the supplier and manufacturer in case of problems is critical, as demonstrated by the above-mentioned trial results.

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