Section 1: Why install a solar battery system at home?

With the steadily rising cost of electricity, many Victorian households are considering adding a battery to supplement their solar PV system. Consider whether a solar battery system is right for you now, or down the track.

It will help reduce your bills

Adding a battery will enhance your solar bill savings by being able to store solar-generated electricity for use later in the day. Households may also be able to charge the battery with electricity purchased from the grid at off-peak rates for further savings on bills, although charging from solar would remain the priority. With enough batteries and solar panels, imports from the grid can become rare events.

However, the battery’s high initial cost means that these bill savings might be cancelled out for many households. An exception is where your battery’s cost is subsidised. Find out how the Victorian Government’s Solar Battery loan can help pay for part of the cost of a system so you can enjoy more savings on bills.

More solar energy can be used onsite

Use more of your own solar-generated electricity, especially if you are often out during the day when your solar is generating and have high consumption in evenings and mornings (when it’s not).

Solar batteries benefit the community

Drawing from batteries in the early evening reduces your demand on the grid at peak times, which could help your electricity network provider delay expensive capacity upgrades (which consumers pay for indirectly).

Also, powerline voltage in some streets rises when everyone is exporting from their solar systems at the same time. If the voltage gets too high, solar systems cannot export and solar generation is wasted.

Battery systems can alleviate high voltage issues by reducing exports to the grid thereby minimising network costs which means savings for you and the community.

The environmental equation

If you want to help the fight against climate change right now, then installing a battery at home doesn’t immediately reduce fossil fuel generated electricity in the grid.

This is because batteries ultimately store electricity; they don’t generate or produce any additional renewable electricity to what a household solar system produces.

Installing more solar panels is of course immediately positive for the environment, as your household will produce more clean energy, displacing more fossil fuel generated electricity.

To achieve much higher deployment of renewable energy in the grid however, increasing amounts of energy storage is required, given that renewable generators like solar and wind do not produce electricity all the time. Storage can take the form of household batteries, larger grid-scale batteries, or major infrastructure like pumped-hydro assets.

As such, the more households that install batteries, the greater the potential to increase our use of renewable electricity in our electricity grid. So in this way, at a societal level or grid scale, increasing use of household batteries can actually assist in delivering more renewable energy and therefore is a benefit to our environment.