Battery storage: Are Australian households about to charge into market?

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Further rises in Australia’s already ridiculously high grid prices, South Australian incentives, and the first battery storage manufacturing plant in the country suggest the battery storage market is about to take off.

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Homes with rooftop solar installations. Credit: U.S. Dept. of Energy
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The expected boom in battery storage in the Australian household market has been predicted for a couple of years. But now, it seems, thanks to a crucial state political battle, a move to local manufacturing, and soaring grid prices, the time may finally have come.

Talk to any installer and battery storage manufacturer and they will tell you there is no doubting the public interest. Apart from the early adopters, most of the public have been making enquiries and waiting for a significant price signal. It seems that might have arrived.

Bruce Mountain, a leading Australian energy analyst who heads CME, sparked huge interest earlier this week with his latest analysis which shows that the combination of a 5kW rooftop solar system and a Tesla Powerwall 2 battery storage unit was “significantly cheaper” than grid power.

That’s not to say it is significantly cheaper to quit the grid, but it shows that – thanks mainly to the soaring cost of grid power -– a household installing solar and batteries would achieve significant savings, and quickly pay back the cost of purchase.

This is confirmed by one of Tesla’s big rivals, the German battery storage manufacturer sonnen, which has just announced plans to build Australia’s first large battery storage manufacturing plant, in Adelaide, with plans for 50,000 units in the first five years.

It’s a sure sign that the company expects the local market to finally take off and Chris Parratt, the head of sonnen Australia, says rooftop solar is “running hot”, and the interest in public forums held by the company in recent weeks is immense.

“Everyone wants a battery,” he tells RenewEconomy. “The payback is awesome in states like South Australia and Queensland, well under what we expected it to be. It’s under a 7 year pay-back.”

LG Chem, the maker of what appears to be the most popular battery storage unit in Australia, has long held this to be the case, saying

The economics, however, have been given added momentum by the fierce political battle in South Australia, which is witness to a three-way contest between the two major parties and the Nick Xenophone SA Best,

Both major parties, knowing that electricity costs and reliability are a key focus for voters, have unveiled  major battery storage incentives.

Labor has unveiled a Tesla-inspired virtual power plant that will seek to install rooftop solar and a Tesla battery in 50,000 homes – firstly in social housing and then in privately owned low-income households.

The proposal is to provide the equipment at no upfront cost, but to charge the household for the use of the rooftop solar and storage. It will slash the annual electricity bill by 30 per cent, Tesla and the SA Labor government claim.

The battery storage units, and through them the rooftop solar panels, will be linked to create a “virtual power plant” that could, in theory, deliver up to 250MW of capacity, and 650MWh of storage, to the market operator, or at least offer that as a reduction in peak demand.

Labor has followed up with a separate scheme to provide $100 million to provide another 10,000 households with “interest free” loans to buy solar and storage.

Well, not exactly interest free, it will be a 7-year interest holiday. But if Mountain and Parratt’s estimates are right, then the savings on the electricity bill should have easily made up for the capital cost of the equipment by that time.

The program will favour local products, which has prompted sonnen to announce the creation of its own manufacturing operations in Adelaide, and a new headquarters for the Asia-Pacific region. It remains to be seen which other battery manufacturers follow.

The SA Liberals have their own $100 million scheme, offering a $2,500 grant for 40,000 “means-tested” households, although these units, unlike the Tesla power plant or sonnen installations, will not necessarily be linked into a virtual power plant.

Chris Williams, the head of Natural Solar – a leading installer of solar and battery storage systems – says the South Australian initiatives will double or treble the battery storage market in that state within the next year.

“Much like the solar boom that took place from 2009-2012, this will be the move that will bring battery power into the mainstream market and make this form of technology available to the masses,” Williams says.

He says customers are being driven by three factors: attractive pricing; reliability of supply offered by battery storage; and independence from the grid.

“This rebate will mean that South Australian residents, who crave this reliability the most, will no longer need to pay any money upfront to have their solar and battery solution installed and will reap the benefits of savings from day one.”

Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, and is also the founder of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and founder/editor of www.TheDriven.io. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.

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82 Comments
  1. john 10 months ago

    Local installers are telling me they are getting higher inquiries and they are installing solar and battery combinations on a larger percentage for grid connected let alone the off grid.
    Cattle stations are early adopters.

  2. Mike Dill 10 months ago

    A seven year payback on an item warranted for ten years (and will probably last longer than that) makes this almost stupid simple. That’s a better return than my bank account.

    • Roger Franklin 10 months ago

      Exactly – and as energy prices go up, the Return on investment will get better, and yes – the batteries will last a long longer than 10 years all things being equal.

      • Jonathan Milford 10 months ago

        And in any case you are adding to the value of your property. Its a no brainer. Also in appartment blocks, shopping centres, etc. its a win/win situation for landlord and tenants. And its not necessary to go off grid. In fact it is better not to, as you can earn money for your excess.
        (I am $350 in credit with my retailer.) You only go off grid when there is a power failure.

        • Roger Franklin 10 months ago

          Jonathan – for the majority of people, having a battery will give some level of energy independence, however for most – remaining on the grid is a good way to both sell excess power back to the grid and also to draw on it when there are multiple day of rain etc. Adding value to your house is interesting. I guess it does

          • hydrophilia 10 months ago

            Not even mentioning the fact that having the units rigged as a virtual power plant adds a LOT more value for the grid and, potentially, the owner could get paid for that.

      • GregS 10 months ago

        Will Australian energy prices continue to go up? Seems to me that with all the renewables coming online, along with the big storage projects that prices should soon peak and maybe start to come back down.

        • itdoesntaddup 10 months ago

          That’s the theory. The practice looks like being power will be cheap when the wind blows, but extremely expensive when it doesn’t.

    • Patrick Comerford 10 months ago

      Given the cost of the Sonnen battery I would take the seven year pay back with a large pinch of salt. I seriously looked at installing a unit but could not justify the ROI and I think the Sonnen is a quality product.

    • Jo 10 months ago

      What is the payback of your bank account?

      • Steve 10 months ago

        I don’t think payback makes sense on a bank account. Payback is immediate (deposits are at call), guaranteed (up to about $250,000) but yield a paltry 2% if you shop around.

        • Jo 10 months ago

          You have missed the irony, mate.
          Payback just does not make sense as the indicator of the quality of bank account AND payback is a stupid way of describing investments including investments into solar panels or batteries.

          Installing of solar should be treated like any other investment, not be made incomparable by the use of payback (whatever this is).

          • Steve 10 months ago

            Sorry I missed the irony – I was watching some American comedy so wasn’t tuned to irony 🙂

            Payback isn’t a particularly useful metric but it is a lot easier to calculate and communicate than IRR.

            My rough IRR on adding batteries gave an IRR of about 0%, but that’s against an after tax yield of 1.25% for a ten year govvie and there seems more upside to the battery than the bond…

            I certainly wouldn’t borrow money to buy a battery but if it is unfunded investment, the mix of benefits of batteries means it is a technology worth planning for.

          • Jo 10 months ago

            IRR is actually very easy to communicate.
            It is the same formula as comparison rate for home loans that is requested by the government. Just in the case of solar, you are the bank.
            So IRR or comparison rate is the interest rate of a simple investment account that, after it is finished and the money paid back, has the same financial outcome as the solar system under consideration.

            easy!

  3. Joe 10 months ago

    …where’s the Joshie on this. No, wait, I can guess…”complete madness’, “thought bubble”, etc. This is both “Innovative and Agile” and “Jobs and Growth” hitting the road. The COALition are deafening with their silence…. and probably all consumed by Baaaananabee and his peccadillo matters.

    • Roger Franklin 10 months ago

      Joe – well I would put money on that Josh is unlikely to be calling his local solar company and getting a system installed! Lets hope Prem Jay gets re-elected and we all get to see these Jobs created by the Consumer Lead Energy Revolution.

      • Joe 10 months ago

        Spot on

  4. Robert Westinghouse 10 months ago

    Watch the LNP back pedal and use every dirty trick in the book to cover up their Pro-Big Power and incompetence in selling off the power industry to private industry. Bring it on…Coal will be come like kryptonite

  5. Roger Franklin 10 months ago

    Bring it on!

    While everything is talking home batteries, start allowing Electric Vehicle to Home/Grid connectivity. A Tesla 2 Powerwall might have 13.5kWh of storage, but for example – a Renault Zoe has a 41kWh battery.

    Welcome to the Consumer Lead Energy Revolution – Sponsored by Prem Jay and Co!

    • Brunel 10 months ago

      But an EV battery can only do 1000 cycles. A Powerwall can do 3650 cycles.

      • Phil of Brisbane 10 months ago

        Why the difference when they are both Lithium?

        • Phil 10 months ago

          I would suspect designs are different for best purpose and performance even though both contain some lithium

          Better to have say 200,000 km life @ 1000 cycles and ability to VERY fast charge and discharge than 600,000 plus km’s life that perhaps only 1 in 1000 will ever use in their entire lifetime.

          And probably won’t reach that milestone due the shelf life of battery either !

          • Roger Franklin 10 months ago

            Phil – doing a little research on EV battery life and it seems that like they are holding up much better than expected – particularly those EV’s that have some form of battery environment control where both excess heat and cold can be managed.

            Below is an article from a BMW I3 Blog – starting with 18.8-19.2kWh of capacity and after 120k km’s – is reporting 18.2kWh after 36 months and 1000+ recharges.

            http://www.bmwblog.com/2017/04/24/bmw-i3-long-term-battery-capacity-report-better-expected/

            Seems to reflect well on the BMW I3 battery warranty where they guarantee 70% capacity after 8 years or 160,000km – well in the US anyway.

            Also interesting to note that this blog is on the first generation 60ah BMW I3 that came out in 2014.

        • Brunel 10 months ago

          Different metals in the batteries.

      • Phil 10 months ago

        Yes and even with as little as 200 km range that’s 200,000 km’s. EV’s are amazing

        • Brunel 10 months ago

          Only if the EV battery is not used to power the house…

          • Roger Franklin 10 months ago

            Agree – using an EV to power a house or anything else will reduce it’s life. That is the same for all batteries – the more cycles it does, the more life you use up – so the LG-Chem with a 6500 cycle life being cycled once per day is 17 years… not bad! and that is to 80% – so they are likely to be effective for another 5-10 years after that. By that time lets hope they have made some improvements!!!

      • Roger Franklin 10 months ago

        Brunel – thanks for sharing that the Powerwall is rated for 3650 cycles. The LG-Chem RESU batteries are rated for 6500 to 80% along with a KW throughput (perhaps others with more knowledge can explain further). Based on what information is coming out of Europe – the vehicle batteries are lasting quite well. Look forward to reading and learning more – but one thing is for sure – this is a consumer lead energy revolution and it is happening everywhere.

        • Brunel 10 months ago

          Anyone who visits the 3rd world should record video footage of diesel generators and put it on YouTube. The diesel generators are an extinct species.

        • neroden 10 months ago

          The Powerwall is WARRANTEED for 3650 cycles, in the form of “ten years, daily cycling”. Informed opinion is that it can actually do at least 5000.

      • Roger Brown 10 months ago

        So , when your EV car battery 1000 cycles , get a newer bigger one and use the old battery for a home battery for the 2650 cycles or more ?

        • Brunel 10 months ago

          What

          • Roger Brown 10 months ago

            Watt ? Lots of people grabbing old EV car batteries and stripping down , to make a Home made lithium Power Wall. Lots of videos on You Tube .

      • Ian 10 months ago

        You do bring up some interesting points regarding EV battery life. What exactly are the design constraints on lithium batteries of all types? From what I read, Tesla chose battery chemistries according to what was available to them at the time . ie in 2015. They chose cylindrical cells because these are robust and self-contained from a safety point of view and can be cheaply manufactured. Motor vehicles demand a lot from batteries, from rapid charging to variable amp draw, EV customers demand superb reliability so the warranties are very conservative. Most ICE vehicle owners would be happy to get 200 000km out of their cars. For the EV, this translates into less than 1000 cycles: check this calc out: 200000km 200Wh/km, 64kWh Tesla battery pack, 200000x.2/64= 625 complete charge/discharge cycles. The average daily use of a car is 30km, or 6kWh, which is a DOD of 9%, This is probably not much more taxing than using a battery in standby mode for long periods of time. The point is, using the vehicle to contribute to the home energy system probably won’t affect battery life that much.

        • Ren Stimpy 10 months ago

          Average daily use of a car is 30km which is 11,000km per year, or 110,000km over ten years. It’s rare these days for anyone to own a car for more than ten years, so most EVs will probably be sold with more than half their available charge/discharge cycles still remaining.

          I don’t think people in general will use their EV to power their house, at least not until ultra fast charging stations have replaced every servo, which is a couple of decades away yet.

          Probably more likely is that people will conserve their EV battery to preserve the re-sale value of their EV. Either that or sell their EV to a company which re-tasks EV batteries to make low cost powerwalls.

          • Greg Hudson 10 months ago

            Low cost PowerWalls can be had already, without using car batteries. Google it.

          • Ren Stimpy 10 months ago

            Yeah by low cost I meant half-cost, whatever the current low cost.

          • Hettie 10 months ago

            That all makes perfect sense, for now. Fast forward 10 years, and EV batteries are coming to the end of the useful life IN CARS. Range is falling, acceleration is dismal, BUT the capacity for the static function of smoothing pv power in homes is more than adequate. If I have understood Peter’s explanation the other day correctly.
            So solar homes will provide a welcome aftermarket for EV batteries.
            Re-use rules.

          • Ren Stimpy 10 months ago

            With the numbers Ian used, the average EV (30km car use per day) will be less than halfway through its useful life after ten years. Actually much less than halfway through, and it will probably still be at over 95% charge capacity if it’s a Tesla…

            https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-model-s-400k-km-250k-mi-7-percent-battery-degradation/

            https://www.tesloop.com/blog/2017/8/30/tesla-model-s-hits-300k-miles-with-less-than-11k-maintenance-costs

            https://electrek.co/2016/11/01/tesla-battery-degradation/

            I think there will be a really good market for second-hand EVs with reasonably low kms on the clock. 110,000kms after ten years is reasonably low.

            But yes I agree with you that when they finally reach charge capacity that is in the low 80s percentage, their batteries could be re-tasked as half-cost powerwalls.

          • Hettie 10 months ago

            It does seem to me, as a low income Australian, that there is high income assumption that most EV purchases will be Tesla, Jag, BME and the like.
            While the *average* adult income may be around $80k, that is heavily skewed by the top end. Gina, Twiggy &Co, the big corporation CEOs with their multi million salaries. The *median* income is more like $47k.
            50% of adult Australians receive less than that.
            So their spend on a car is likely to be $20k or less. Often much less.
            Cheaper cars, cheaper batteries, often longer commutes.
            Is my suggestion that some EV batteries may be not fit for original purpose after 10 years really so far off?

          • Ren Stimpy 10 months ago

            We’re on the same page – after ten years of original-owner ‘average’ usage a second-hand Tesla might go on sale for $10k to $20k. Then that second buyer after an equal amount of use of the car will probably sell the EV batteries to a powerwall builder for $1k to $2k.

            This is on average we are talking. Of course there will be “some” that are not fit for re-sale due to very high use in their first ten years.

            The underlying point being that lithium battery modules are far more resilient than most people give them credit for.

      • Greg Hudson 10 months ago

        Maybe. But how many households would actually ‘use’ 41kWh in a single day? My guess is very few, and even then, on very rare occasions. So one could probably take that 1000 cycles and double or triple it. Plus, powering the system with solar, you can still drive the Zoe every day, and eliminate petrol cost and pollution.

        • Brunel 10 months ago

          Renault would have to allow the car to power the house. And I doubt Renault would – in order to maintain the life of the battery.

          Untill solid state lithium cells are made that can do a crazy number of cycles.

          • Roger Franklin 10 months ago

            Brunel

            Renault have been working in the Netherlands for the past 23 months on a AC Vehicle to Grid project – having supplied 150 Renault ZOE for testing. Below is a link to an article covering this and a lot more (bottom of Page 7 for the ZOE reference)

            https://www.elaad.nl/uploads/files/EVS30_paper_-_Smart_Solar_Charging_AC_Vehicle-to-Grid_in_The_Netherlands.pdf

            Hopefully South Australia will establish a framework where similar testing and innovation can be conducted. We certainly have the skills and talent – we just need the encouragement.

            Regarding vehicle battery life – the best report I have seen is from Teslanomics. (link below)
            https://teslanomics.co/what-is-the-lifespan-of-a-tesla-battery-and-how-long-will-it-last/

          • Mike Westerman 10 months ago

            Roger while I think this is commendable I can see a greater impact when all EV manufacturers provide repurposing of EV batteries for household storage as a matter of course, not exception. I support this because I think it is good recycling, but also because once EVs are ubiquitous, it means EVs and home storage are symbiotic rather than competitors for scarce resources like metals and manufacturing facilities. The electrification of transport is an enormous challenge that will take many years.

          • Hettie 10 months ago

            Ain’t comments grand!
            You think you know something, rock solid certain, say so in a comment, and Bam! Someone else knows different and gives the link. Time to say thankyou, nicely.
            Most of us here are happy to learn. One or two exceptions, but that just makes those of you who, unlike me, really know what you are talking about work harder on clarifying your arguments. Love it.

  6. Brunel 10 months ago

    The battery subsidies should only be for rental units in poor suburbs.

  7. Jo 10 months ago

    There is something wrong with the comparison of grid connected electricity against solar plus battery. A third option has not been mentioned: installing as much solar PV on the roof as it can hold (the solar unfriendly design of most Australian roofs is an unfortunate limitation). In the Ausgriod area in NSW we can now install up to 10 kW of solar PV per phase.

    Any decent calculation will show that a large solar system makes much more financial sense than solar + battery.

    Batteries as such are not renewable energy. The argument that “batteries are storing solar electricity to use it later” does not make sense in the big picture. For the electrical energy that is not exported but stored in a battery, somewhere a fossil fuel generator will work harder to provide the electrical energy needed in the grid at that time.

    This may change in the future when battery prices are lower and when many more electrical vehicles are on the road. But we are by far not there yet.

    • nakedChimp 10 months ago

      Right. And everywhere else you get a 5kW connection limit if you’re lucky.
      I was unlucky, I got a 0kW export limit.

      • solarguy 10 months ago

        Bummer dude!

        • Jo 10 months ago

          That’s why you need to push the government to do the right thing – or just vote a more solar friendly party next time.
          There should be a right of connect and a right to export for solar.

      • Phil 10 months ago

        Bummer Indeed. Time to go 100% off grid .

        The grid is worthwhile to keep if you export. If not it’s marginal at best

    • Glynn Palmer 10 months ago

      Electricity demand has a daily and seasonal cycle. Just look at the mountains and valleys on the daily AEMO price and demand charts. Batteries flatten out the peaks of the mountains. What the batteries store (fuel cost free energy) during the peak solar gain in the middle of the day they release during the daily peak demand period between about 15:30 – 20:30.

      A significant contributor to the price of grid supplied electricity is the infrastructure investment to meet peak demand. A part of this extreme peak demand infrastructure is only needed for a few hours per year to meet demand on the hottest or coldest days.

      Using batteries to provide demand side management reduces the need for this marginal extreme peak demand infrastructure.

    • Chris Fraser 10 months ago

      I calculated my future loads (including an EV) & planned to cover my North and West pitched roofs with 200W/m2 (@standard irradiances). I may be conservative, but still struggled to find the energy for all my desired usage. Yes cover the roof in PV, but plan to add that battery at some stage for an EV commute.

    • Finn Peacock 10 months ago

      Thank you for the voice of reason. Much better for the environment and much better payback installing more solar on your roof instead of battery. Unfortunately solar is not deemed newsworthy enough .

      • Steve 10 months ago

        Hi Finn.

        Firstly thanks for the quotes you organised last week and you should be pleased that despite this post I loaded up on solar cells on the roof rather than bought a battery. Having said that the cost benefit of a battery isn’t as dismal as it seems.

        I pay around 45c kW/h for peak power and will be able to export to the grid @ 15 c kW/h. So simply put I have a 30c spread to cross on week nights. On weekends the maximum benefit is about half that as there is no peak tariff. If I use 9 kW/h of a 10kW/h system (LG Chem Resu) then I get $2.70 per weekday day and $1.35 per day on the weekend. I get a benefit of around $850 per year for a yield of about 8.5%.

        Sounds good until I depreciate the battery over say 12 years straight line then my yield drops to 0.0%.

        Doesn’t sound too good. However if I bought a government bond instead I would get 2.5% per year, but only 1.25% after tax.

        The battery:

        * Offers environmental benefits (see Glynn Palmers comments below);
        * Offers backup against blackouts;
        * Offers a benefit linked to electricity prices – the bond has no indexation;
        * won’t lose value in a rising rate environment;
        * Is incredibly cool to play with, and the software analytics is better than some of the stuff coming out of Hollywood.

        Perhaps I should have lead with the first point.

        Batteries don’t make sense for my circumstances right now, but they aren’t that far away. I’m looking forward to it.

    • solarguy 10 months ago

      Before I go any further, a small correction. You can install as much PV as your roof can handle, but in the Ausgrid area you can only export up to 10kw on a single phase, if that part of the grid can handle it. In the vast majority of cases 10kw will be allowed, but there are exceptions.

      Installing a 10kw system is a good financial decision, if you can afford it and it will make for a good ROI from EA’s FIT of 12.5c/kwh. However if a family are out at work/school during the day, there isn’t going to be much self consumption during solar hours, but there will be plenty of consumption when they all come home in peak time. It’s time to think battery and it doesn’t need to be a big battery to be effective!

      So, “batteries storing solar electricity for use at night doesn’t make sense in the big picture”. WTF are you smoking Jo? And then there is the other part your statement, “for the electrical energy that isn’t exported but stored in a battery, somewhere a fossil fuel generator will work harder.” Again WTF!

      The stupidity of that statement is this. If your storing energy from your own solar, regardless of whether your also exporting at the same time or not, means the demand from the grid isn’t there in the first place, so why in christ’s name would a FF generator need to work harder? Answer, it bloody well won’t will it.

      BTW, how much for a kilo, it’s obviously really good gear.

      • Tom 10 months ago

        In Jo’s defence, apart from in SA & Tas there is plenty of coal burning all day and all night. If Jo’s solar was exporting instead of storing in the middle of the day, the coal would have to turn itself down at this time. Yes, the coal will have to work harder in the evening if Jo is drawing from the grid instead of from his battery, but the net result is more coal burned with batteries than without, due to battery efficiency losses.

        This might not quite be true because of coal-fire efficiency losses in turning themselves up or down. However, OCGT often covers this role.

        So the net effect of batteries is that there is a smoother grid load, coal therefore out-competes OCGTs – producing about twice as many emissions as the OCGTs would have produced, AND more energy is burned to supply the grid in the 24-hour period.

        Your other point – “it doesn’t have to be a big battery”, is a really good point.

        We’re building a house, it will have about 8kW of PV, and I think that anything over 5-6kWh of battery will not be worth it. Most nights of the year, to run the fridge, keep the water hot etc will use a few kWh, but using more than this would not be rare but wouldn’t be common either.

        Therefore, while the first few kWh gets cycled every day, the next few kWh might get cycled once a week, or only during a certain season. Cheaper to buy from the grid in those occasions than to buy a bigger battery.

        The other X-factor though, it power as opposed to energy. We would really like to have the battery as an uninterruptible power supply, as where we are building is at the edge of the grid and gets lots of power failures. It would be nice to keep the oven on if dinner is half cooked.

        A small battery may struggle to supply the power.

        • solarguy 10 months ago

          If someone like yourself is building a house the 8kw PV is a good idea, if you reduce loads to suit. No I’m not suggesting that size is small, but you could think it will supply everything at all times, it will at times supply all loads and won’t others if you go fully electric.

          Hot water should be supplied by solar E.T. it won’t need much boosting if sized correctly. Mine hasn’t needed a boost for about 8mths, in fact in over 12mths I have only boosted 8 days.

          Second, don’t use electricity for stove and oven, use bottled LPG, you will only use a 9kg bottle every 2-3mths at $20 a pop. You can stretch that out by using an portable induction cook top and an air fryer for roasts, when the PV is pumping.

          Do that and your 5kwh battery will do just fine and often you won’t use power from the grid.

          The first 3 paragraphs of your argument don’t make any sense.

          • Tom 10 months ago

            @Solarguy – thanks. It’s nice to have a second opinion about battery size.

          • Steve 10 months ago

            Except the cost of batteries don’t scale linearly by kW/h. Even with the same chemistry, the LG Chem 6.4 kW/h is not two thirds the cost of the 9.8 kW/h system.

      • Jo 10 months ago

        Hi solar guy, please use your brain before you start swearing.

        I am happy to crunch the numbers together with you to find the financial benefits of small and large solar systems with and without batteries.
        If you use ROI, how do you define it? Do you know that the financial ROI formula does not take time into account?

        What do you mean with “… if you can afford it … “? Everybody can afford it. It is such a great investment that you can borrow the money through your mortgage and still make a huge profit.

        The feed-in tariff is so good now, that it even makes financial sense to put the largest possible PV system on a holiday home (limits determined by roof space and what the grid operator accepts), where you hardly ever used it yourself, provided that the final price for the solar system is $1000/kW or smaller.

        The family does not to have to be at home to profit from a feed-in tariff or 12 cent/kWh or so.
        But if you crunch the numbers, even the large spread between feed-in tariff and electricity price during peak time hardly pays back the investment for the battery during its guaranteed life time. That is not a good investment.

        I stand to every word in “for the electrical energy that isn’t exported but stored in a battery, somewhere a fossil fuel generator will work harder.”
        Let me explain: At the situation where we are in, with only say max 10% of electricity coming form solar, most electrical energy comes from fossil fuels. If you have a surplus of electricity from your solar system which normally would go into the grid but that is now is used up in your battery, this energy has to come from somewhere else to cover the gap of supply in the grid. Sure, later when you use the electricity from the battery you reduce the demand on fossil fuels by about the same amount. But it is a zero sum game or actually a bit worse because the round trip efficiency of a battery is not 100%.

        Batteries are just a storage. They are not renewable energy.

        • solarguy 10 months ago

          In your situation, unless you increase your PV array, then no it wouldn’t make sense to get a battery, but you intimated a 10kw array. Perhaps you should take your own advice and invest in more PV.

          With a 10kw array the FIT gain will help finance a battery and ROI will much quicker, because you aren’t spending money on peak tariffs.

          When the solar day has ended your pulling power from the FF grid, with a battery not as much or at all. In fact one could go through to dawn and not use one watt from the grid. That’s what occurs at my house day after day and I even make a profit from my FIT, My last bill was in credit for $128 and the one before that $210. All the while running all loads including all my A/C’s during the day and into the night.

          Jo, your argument carries no weight at all. Who would have thought that you could buy a system by tacking it on your mortgage. Gee I wouldn’t have thought that LOL!

          I know what I’m talking about and I rest my case!

          • Jo 10 months ago

            I can understand that solar guys love to install batteries. Much less work and more income. But that does not make the hype about batteries right.

          • solarguy 10 months ago

            As far as hybrid systems go, we have only installed a hand full and to remain competitive there isn’t much money in it. People bulk at the price and rightly so. It has to make sense for that particular home to have one installed, it’s not the battery cost itself so much that is the problem, it’s the rest, the switch board work. Not just a couple of cables, new cb’s are needed and rewiring the sparky needs to do and not to mention the programing.

            I never disagreed with your claim of a 10kw PV only investment, but in some cases a battery as well makes sense as a recent post explained.

            I get at least 10 calls a week asking about batteries and to stop them wasting my time I tell them the starting price straight up.

        • Alastair Leith 10 months ago

          But batteries do value add to BTM solarPV, so they incentivise larger PV systems, thereby cutting fossil lunches.

    • itdoesntaddup 10 months ago

      You are correct: from the grid perspective, batteries add to demand if you just add them to existing solar installations, since they lose 20% or more in the storage round trip, as well as requiring other generation to make good the general grid supply while they are charging. From the private perspective, they can only make sense if tariffs and subsidies are heavily distorted in their favour. In any normal, well run grid, they are just rich men’s toys. Then again, we’re mainly discussing SA here.

      • solarguy 10 months ago

        What complete utter crap!

        • itdoesntaddup 10 months ago

          So batteries have no round trip losses? LOL

          • solarguy 10 months ago

            Of course they have losses, but then so do you. You are a total loss. LOL

      • My_Oath 10 months ago

        You do realise SA is part of the NEM yeah? So what you actually mean be “We are talking about SA here” is “We are talking about the NEM here”.

        • itdoesntaddup 10 months ago

          SA has its own regional pricing within NEM, and it can only be bailed out to the extent of the interconnectors.

          • My_Oath 10 months ago

            Thank you for agreeing with the statement “We are talking about the NEM here.”

          • itdoesntaddup 10 months ago

            South Australia is in a world of its own when interconnectors get constrained. That’s when prices plunge to minus $1,000, or soar to $14,200. The only sense in which they are part of the NEM in those conditions is that those are the NEM wide price limits.

          • Mike Westerman 10 months ago

            Nothing new in SA high prices. What is new is efforts by State gov to reduce its dependence on Heywood interconnect. In just a few years hence the state will be using it primarily for export income.

          • itdoesntaddup 10 months ago

            So that is why it just got an increase in capacity?

          • Mike Westerman 10 months ago

            It has had it’s thermal limit rating upgraded, but that did a fat lot of good in recent hot weather because the network at the Vic end lead to it being bound on numerous occasions, quite apart from its vulnerability to storm damage.

            The upgrade will however assist with AEMO’s expectation of majority export SA to Vic by as early as 2023.

          • My_Oath 10 months ago

            Yes. Once again – thanks for confirming my correction of his comment to “We are talking about the NEM here”. The NEM is dysfunctional.

    • Hettie 10 months ago

      Totally agree.
      Rule of thumb.
      Calculate the standing charge in kWh of the FIT you will get.
      Add to the kWh you use daily. Add the kWh you expect to have to buy when the panels are not generating. Perhaps half your current use, Perhaps less.
      Depending on location, your panels will each day generate an average (over the year) of around 4 times the rated value. 5kW system gives average 20 kWh per day. More or less.
      To eliminate the bill, you need a system that will pay the standing charge, say 11 hrs of FIT, plus say 150% of your daily use.
      My daily use was low, even for a 1 person household.
      5kW system produces almost double the previous bills in FIT. BUT, the spring/summer half of the year. The coming months will give less.
      Be aware, even on a day with steady drizzle, output was 14 kWh. In all day sun, the best was 35.6. Average so far about 28.
      5 kW is not enough for a family with a pool and aircon.
      10 kW might be. The higher the use, the less of the bill is standing charge. Mine was almost half the bill. Yours might be only 20%.
      The take home message is that with a big enough system you CAN eliminate the bill, even without a battery. And 10 KW of panels costs a helluva lot less than 5kW plus a battery. Plus the security of the grid if miserable weather persists for weeks.
      Blackouts still happen, though, and some batteries do protect you from those.

  8. Jolly Roger 10 months ago

    “The program will favour local products “,Hopefully this wont trigger an application for compensation under any so called free trade deals. If it does I hope SA just refuse to pay any ordered amounts.

  9. juxx0r 10 months ago

    Means tested, the nice way of saying we want you to pay for it but you cant have any.

    • Hettie 10 months ago

      Or a way of saying that if you can afford to pay for it, you should. The help is for those who really need it. Not for those who don’t.
      And I think if you look at the ALP proposals, they are targeting social housing, so again, help for those who need it most.
      This country is in financial trouble because Howard gave far to much, on a recurring basis, to those who had no need, and bugger all to the people who would have kept the money in the local economy.

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