rss
11

Home battery market not booming yet – but consumer interest is

Print Friendly

One Step Off The Grid

We know that rooftop solar is experiencing a new boom around Australia, as households and small businesses seek sanctuary from soaring electricity prices. But what about battery storage?

According to new data from independent solar comparison website, SolarQuotes, there is no shortage of consumer interest in home batteries, particularly among the huge number of visitors to the site looking to install solar in the near future.

But the mass pilgrimage to solar and storage-based energy self-sufficiency many have predicted for Australia’s residential market – a number of major international battery makers among them – is yet to come, as consumers weigh up costs and benefits and get their heads around new products and offerings.

And most likely wait for cost falls.

The findings were published on Monday as part of SolarQuotes inaugural monthly Australian Solar System Interest Index (auSSI), which uses data collected from the website’s “hundreds of thousands of visitors a month” to offer insights into what Australians want from solar power and battery storage.

For the month of July, SolarQuotes found a “high degree of motivation” for rooftop solar, across all states, with most interest directed towards installing systems sized between 5-6kW, and doing so within the next three months.

Interest in battery storage, however, was found to be “more geared towards it being a future addition, rather than an immediate purchase,” notes SolarQuotes Michael Bloch – a trend that is illustrated in the following charts.

“July’s figures reinforce that the battery revolution is yet to really get under way in Australia, with just 6 per cent expressing a serious intent of installing PV + battery storage from the outset,” Bloch said.

Meanwhile, a slightly higher 10 per cent of solar quote requests from around the country (except the Northern Territory) indicated interest in a “battery ready” solar power system, suggesting both an awareness of the technology, and intent to install it – most likely when the costs come down.

Finn Peacock, the ex-CSIRO engineer who founded SolarQuotes, says cost is definitely the major barrier to battery uptake for most households.

“What we’ve found is that most people think they want batteries… until they see the price,” he told One Step Off The Grid.

For this reason – and also because of the hype generated by the arrival of the Tesla Powerwalls 1 and 2 – Peacock has designed the SolarQuotes site to present an automated pop-up box to customers looking for solar and storage quotes, along the lines of “it’s great that you’re interested, but just FYI, here’s the rough cost of adding batteries to the equation.”

This, says Peacock, is where a lot of people say thanks, but no thanks.

Compounding the still high cost of batteries, Peacock says, is the low cost of solar, which means that “a well installed big system (6kW+) should be enough to make a big dent in your bill,” even without battery storage, both through the “hidden savings” of self-consumption and through exports to the grid.

Interestingly, for those who did want to install solar and storage simultaneously, SolarQuotes data shows that larger battery systems of 10kWh and above were the most popular, making up nearly half of all requests where capacity was specified.

Although, as with PV system size selection, a large percentage (~47%) requested guidance in this regard, Bloch said.

And among those requesting solar and battery system quotes, 50 per cent expressed an intention to use home energy storage to both minimise grid consumption and as a backup power solution, suggesting both money saving and energy security as potential motivators.

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation. To sign up to One Step’s free weekly newsletter, please click here.  

Share this:

  • trackdaze

    52mw installed last year. I would imagine it will be 100mw + this year.

  • George Darroch

    If price is the major stumbling block, then perhaps finance is the solution?

    • Brunel

      No, the cost of storage is the stumbling block, the cost of storage is not quite low enough yet. Powerwall 3.0 might be it.

  • Just ‘shut-up and take my money’ from me. Alas, Tesla PW2 gateway is not compliant in West Australia yet…

  • Ian

    What does that even mean?

    Of course price is a factor. Most of the internet advertisements for solar installations offer specials for solar only but very carefully disguise the battery cost component. It’s not that easy to find out the cost of installing a powerwall or other battery system without leaving your contact details and formally requesting a quote. I don’t think the average Australian is a moneybags with a huge kick-me stuck to the back.

    Word of advise to potential battery importers give us some of that $150/KWH stuff if you want us to bite!

    • wholisticguy

      Agreed, we would see a huge response and roll out to even a minor ‘subsidy’.
      This market is poised.

      Business must not be all bad though, there is a 6 month waiting period on new Tesla Powerwall orders due to unexpectedly high demand.

      We are still in the early adopter market, while sticker price is high, there isn’t the same confidence from customers and installers as with a new grid pv system.

      Gov support would help, but so will time as people and their friends get real world experience.

  • DJR96

    OK, so what cost per kWh would start getting really encouraging?

    • MaxG

      It is never cheap enough, which is an excuse for being unable to do the simplest of ROI calculations. Spoke with one of my daughters today, (embarrassingly for me as a parent) she has no clue on what the bill contains, how to calculate any savings in solar, doesn’t know how to research standard offerings by energy companies and compare the individual components of said bill. — All she knew, price went up every year… does she think battery? No. What is Paris? Some climate agreement… OK — like I said many time, no matter what age people don’t care…. no time for their obligation for living in (what is left of) a democracy: to participate… hence… there won’t be any action.

      • Brunel

        It should be embarrassing for her school and the education system at large.

        They teach very complicated mathematical equations and how many electrons there are around a hydrogen atom but not how currency works and how to read your electricity bill?

        When I was at school in AUS, they tried to teach us about the US civil war of the 1860s! (what a waste of time)

        • MaxG

          Education is another thing the neoliberals are dismantling… private schools get public funding, while public schools end up empty… and yes, there is a difference between between European and AU schools… a significant one actually.

  • Just_Chris

    Cost and payback times are really interesting. It is not a straightforward calculation because it depends on tariff and usage pattern. I had a colleague who wanted a battery system mainly because he was sick of the power companies and because he was interested in the technology. When we looked at his energy bill and ran the numbers it actually worked out less than a 10 year payback. The biggest difference to the calculation was the options it gave him with his energy tariff. He switched to a Globird tariff that had a low daily charge and a peak time of 3pm to 10pm. With his battery system he can 100% avoid the peak meaning he is off peak or solar 100% of the time.