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Your Complete Guide to Choosing the Best Solar Battery

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To hear from one of our suppliers, fill out this form or contact us. 

Have solar panels installed and wondering if it’s time you added batteries?

Our comprehensive solar battery guide will help you make this decision with knowledge, accuracy, and confidence.

Read the guide below or download a pdf to save it for later. 

If you have any more questions or would like help finding a trusted installer, simply complete this short formgive our friendly energy advisors a call at 1300 23 68 55 or email at advice@aef.com.au. We look forward to helping you! 

1. How Do Solar Batteries Work?

Since solar panels only produce electricity during the day, they cannot power night-time electricity usage on their own. Thus, many homeowners simply use grid energy at night – though they still pay lower electricity bills overall, since feed-in tariffs credit solar houses with all the extra electricity their panels fed into the grid during the day.

Other homeowners prefer to keep their solar electricity for their own use, so they connect their solar systems to storage batteries. These batteries store solar energy generated throughout the day, so that homeowners can take advantage of free electricity at any time of the day or night:

Solar Battery Energy Flows

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2. Are Solar Batteries Worth It?

According to current calculations, solar batteries will reduce your electricity bills by 60-90%.

Typical Australian homes recoup their battery storage investment in approximately 10 years (which is also the warrantied life of a storage battery.) If you’re able to access a battery rebate, this payback period may be even shorter.

Other advantages of battery storage include: 

  • Energy Independence

Installing a battery will mean that you won’t need to buy as much power from your electricity retailer, since you’ll be able to use free solar energy generated by your panels during the night as well as during the day. 

  • Backup Power

Some batteries allow your home to keep power during a blackout. However, this isn’t a standard feature with all batteries, so if you’re interested in it, let your installer know. 

  • Grid Support

During high-demand periods (such as evening), storage batteries help to stabilise and support the grid. They decrease the need for bigger networks, more generation assets, and (of most importance to homeowners) higher electricity bills to support those assets.

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3. What Warranty Should My Solar Batteries Have? 

10+ Year Warranty (3,650 Cycles) 

Sometimes you’ll see battery warranties in terms of cycles (typically 3,650 cycles) instead of years. 

One “cycle” refers to a battery being completely charged and discharged. Since this usually occurs once a day, the usual number of warrantied cycles (3650) divided by the number of days per year (365) equals 10 years. 

(Perk: most batteries actually last 12-15 years).

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4. Where Can I Place My Solar Batteries?

External House Walls And Garages

These are often the best battery locations. 

Space Requirements

Battery location standards mandate at least 600 mm (to either side) and 900 mm (above) space between your battery and any windows, doors and appliances, including your hot water unit and air conditioner.

Wall-mounted batteries must be placed on a non-combustible wall that also extends at least 600mm to the side and 900 mm above your battery. If the wall isn’t already cement, brick, or concrete, your installer will probably take care of this by adding a thick cement sheet.

Solar Battery Wall Installation
Example of Wall-Mounted Solar Batteries

If your battery is located in a garage, consider protecting it from cars with a bollard.

Where NOT to Place Batteries

New storage battery location standards forbid placing batteries in:

  • Habitable rooms

“Habitable” rooms include bedrooms, kitchens, family rooms, and living rooms. You may still place batteries in bathrooms, laundries, pantries or hallways, none of which are considered habitable rooms.

  • Ceiling spaces
  • Wall cavities
  • Evacuation/escape routes
  • Under stairways
  • Under access walkways
  • Near flammable materials

5. How Much Do Storage Batteries Cost?

Since storage batteries cost between $1,000 to $2,000 per kWh, a typical household’s energy storage system will cost between $8,000 to $16,000 (depending on the size and model).

Commonly used storage batteries and their approximate prices include:

Enphase Battery

Enphase

1.2kWh Enphase AC battery - $2000

LG Chem

LG Chem

8.8kWh LG Chem Resu battery - $7855

Tesla Battery

Tesla

13.5kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 battery - $12,350

Our solar installers will be able to accurately size and quote a battery storage system for your individual household’s needs.

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6. What storage battery rebates are available?

ACT

The ACT Government is currently subsidising battery storage for approximately 5,000 Canberra homes and businesses.

The current rebate is $825 per kW up to a maximum of 30kW. For more information, see the ACT smart website.

New South Wales 

The NSW Government’s new Empowering Homes Program provides interest-free loans for solar-battery systems to eligible NSW residents in the Hunter region. 

Interest-free loans of up to $9000 for a storage battery, or up to $14,000 for a solar PV and battery storage system, are available to owner-occupiers with an annual household income of up to $180,000. For more information, see the NSW Government website. 

South Australia

South Australia’s Home Battery Scheme gives South Australian homes access to state government subsidies and loans of up to $4000 for home battery system installations. See the South Australian Home Battery website for more information. 

Victoria 

The Victorian Government currently provides eligible households with battery rebates of up to $4,838. 

These rebates are available to people in designated suburbs who have already installed solar panels, but who have not yet accessed a solar rebate. Please see the Solar Victoria website for more information on eligibility.

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7. How to Choose Your Storage Battery

Battery Chemistry: Lithium Ion

Lithium-ion is the current leading battery chemistry. You’ll see lithium-ion battery offerings on most quotes for several reasons:

  • Easily available
  • Safe
  • No hydrogen gas emissions
  • Lighter than other batteries
  • Low maintenance
  • 10-15 year life expectancy

Although other chemistries are available (such as flow batteries), these are not as easily available or time-tested.

Power Output: 3-5 kW
The power output of a battery tells you how quickly a battery can provide power. 3-5 kW output is sufficient for most households. 

A.C. or D.C. Coupled?
Storage batteries connect to your solar system in one of two ways:

Features

A.C. Batteries

D.C. Batteries

Battery Connection

Directly to switchboard

To hybrid solar inverter (which connects to switchboard)

Allow Battery to Charge From Grid

Yes (can take advantage of cheap off-peak power)

No

Efficiency

90%

95%

Best For

Retrofitting existing solar panel systems

Installing along with a new solar panel system

Ac Coupled Battery

DC Coupled Solar Battery System

Recommended Battery Brands

Examples of commonly installed and highly-reviewed battery brands include:

You can also find a full list of batteries available in Australia at the Smart Energy Council Battery Finder page.

If your installer suggests another panel, inverter, or battery brand and you aren’t sure whether it’s reliable, get in touch with our team of energy advisors.

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8. What Size Battery Storage Do I Need?

Since storage batteries are a significant investment, you want to size your system carefully. It should be big enough to serve at least your household’s average evening energy use, but not so big you’re paying for storage you’ll never use.

Your battery installer will assess your household’s average energy use (often using previous electricity bills and/or your smart meter) to find the ideal size for your battery system.

When looking at battery specs, look for the term “usable capacity” (i.e. “14 kWh usable capacity.”) This shows how much energy that battery can store.

A typical family that’s out and about during daylight hours uses about 70% of their daily energy in the evening. 

So if your household uses (for example) 20kWh per day, you can multiply that by 70% to find that a battery with 14kWh usable capacity will work for you. 

Your battery system’s size will also depend on whether you merely want to access free solar energy at night, or want enough energy storage to power your home during a blackout.

If you only want nighttime solar energy access, you can get away with a much smaller system. Since you’ll remain completely connected to the grid, your battery system won’t have to power your entire house.

If you plan to have your battery system continue to run your essential appliances during a power outage, give your installer a list of those chosen appliances. This will help your installer provide a battery system large enough to meet your household’s grid-free needs.

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9. I want to go solar, but I can’t afford solar battery storage right now. What should I do?

Go solar now without getting battery storage (yet). 

You’ll start saving on your electricity bills immediately, and can always add batteries to your system later. 

Just make sure to install a system large enough to charge future batteries. A good typical size is 5 kW, but since each household’s energy use is unique, let your installer know that you’re considering future energy storage. 

This info will allow them to properly size your system for your future needs as well as your current ones.

Our solar guide can help you get started.

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10. Ready for the next step?

While this guide answered the 9 big questions about solar batteries, we know that you’ll probably think of many more as you consider this decision.

Our not for profit team of experienced energy advisors is here to answer any questions you have: just get in touch with us at 1300 23 68 55 or via email for friendly, unbiased professional guidance.

If you’re ready to get a free, no-pressure quote from a fully vetted solar battery installer, click here.

And finally, thank you for reading our Complete Guide to Choosing the Best Solar Battery! We hope you found it helpful in your journey towards a comfortable home with lower electricity bills.

Download your free copy of the Complete Guide to Choosing the Best Solar Batteries For Your Home