How adding solar and battery can benefit you and your home
Australia is in the midst of a solar and battery system revolution, with more than 21% of homes now with rooftop solar (equating to approximately 2.66 million homes/businesses as of 31 December 2021*) with roughly 9% (31,264) of new residential solar systems including a battery in 2020. This takes the total number of battery installations since 20161 to 101,482.
It’s well established that solar power is an attractive form of energy as it is readily available and produces zero greenhouse gas emissions. Over the past two decades the advancement in technology in panels and infrastructure plus government incentives has decreased the costs of installing solar significantly. In fact, when it comes to solar installation, Australia ranks number 1 in take up.
Installing battery systems allow households to store the electricity generated by the solar panels during the day for use when the sun is not visible, instead of sending it back to the grid. The price of residential batteries has stabilised over the past few years but the upfront cost of installing them is still a barrier to many consumers.
There are three ways to a battery system; cash upfront, finance or part of an electricity bundle offered by some energy retailers such as Nectr. If finances allow it, consumers will realise that the mid to long term benefits off adding a battery system will outweigh the negatives in most cases.
There are many reasons why homeowners choose solar or battery systems. The main objectives are to cut energy costs, reduce their reliance on the electricity grid and reduce their impact on the environment. Consumers may also see an increase in their property’s value, making solar and a battery system a solid investment for the home.
Many of you may be curious as to how solar and battery systems work in generating and storing electricity for your house. Firstly, solar works through the sun releasing energy via light and heat, which is harnessed by the Photo-Voltaic (PV) solar panels on your rooftop. The panels absorb this radiation converting it to direct current (DC) power, and then the Inverter converts the DC into alternating current (AC) electricity to be used within the home. Solar panels work throughout the day when there is sunlight available on the surface of the panels, but energy harnessed can reduce significantly on days with cloud cover or rain or in Winter when days are shorter.
This means your house can reduce its reliance of electricity to the grid on days with sunshine/light, thus decreasing your overall electricity costs. Plus, any excess solar will go back to the grid, for which you will earn a feed-in tariff or to the battery to be stored for later.
A battery system is integrated into your solar system via the Inverter, that converts the DC electricity to AC, to supply the house or feed back to the grid. The battery can be charged in two ways - it is prioritised to be charged from solar panels first and if for any reason solar panels are not able to charge the battery such as on rainy days or night time, the battery will be charged from electricity from grid.
Before switching to a solar or battery storage system, it is important to check that you can maximise the systems as much as possible. The effectiveness of solar power and energy storage depends on a number of factors such as your budget, homes’ location, choice of battery, roof size, shading, how much energy you consume, and the size of your home.
A helpful summary of how installing solar or battery system can benefit you in the long run
1) Significantly reduces your energy bills
A suitably sized solar system will supply a typical home with all its power needs during the sunniest time of the day, plus you will earn a Feed-in Tariff (FIT) for any excess energy harnessed by your solar panels that your household doesn’t consume. Overall, your electricity bills can be greatly reduced helping you better manage your monthly finances. With the battery system, you can minimise your reliance on the electricity grid even further by using the energy stored at the peak times of the day.
2) Increases your property value
Based on a survey** of 1,005 Australians in 2018, 2, 77% of Australians think a house with solar is more valuable than those relying on traditional energy sources, with 57% of homeowners saying they would pay up to $10,000 more for a home equipped with solar. This is certainly a key point to include in your decision making, especially if you have plans to move within the future. Potential buyers want cheaper electricity bills and, in some cases, add solar and battery systems to their list of desirable features when shortlisting properties.
3) Low maintenance
It’s helpful to know that there is little to no effort in the upkeep of your solar panels. Most panels have a 5 -12 year product warranty and a 12-25 year performance warranty to give you peace of mind, but you will still need to check with your installer on what is covered (hail damage is not usually covered in this warranty but house insurance generally covers this).
Using an accredited CEC installer with a good track record is critical to ensure you can get good after-sales support in the rare event that it’s needed. Most Inverters have a 5-10 year product warranty, and the latest inverters connect to your home internet so that you can conveniently keep an eye on the system performance. Most batteries have a 10 year performance warranty and a 2 year product warranty. Your installer or retailer will undertake regular online battery health checks to ensure it is performing at its peak.
4) Move towards an off-grid lifestyle
By installing solar, you are less dependent on the grid, which is supplied by a mixture of renewable energy and fossil fuel sources such as coal and gas. By having solar and battery systems installed, you reduce your exposure to rising energy prices and help to reduce emissions. If you include a home battery with a backup system, you may even be able to isolate from the grid during blackouts and continue to have power available for your home.
Now that you know the benefits of installing solar and battery systems and how it can increase your home’s value, you can make an informed decision as to whether going solar is the option for you. If you are interested in Nectr’s home solar and battery plans you can always request a quote.
1 Australian Battery Report 2021, https://www.sunwiz.com.au/