With electricity prices already at more than 30c per kilowatt-hour, more and more homeowners are checking back in with solar batteries to see if they’re now an affordable solution – and it turns out now’s the time to load up.
First things first – how do solar batteries work?
Solar batteries allow you to use electricity on your terms. It’s a simple process – your batteries store the excess energy your solar panels generate, giving you free, abundant electricity to use during the night when your panels aren’t operating (and grid power is the most expensive).
Seems like a no brainer, right? So, how do solar batteries seem cause such division in the energy community? Let’s take a leap back in time to unravel the solar battery backstory.
How it started
Nowadays, solar and batteries seem to go together, like mac ‘n cheese – but it wasn’t always that way. 10 years ago, installing a system was expensive – so the government looked for ways to compensate homeowners to encourage uptake.
Back then, solar systems cost between $25k and 30k (yikes). But there was an upside – you could sell all your excess power back to the grid at 47c per kw/h. So even though you had no way of harnessing your solar energy at night, the money you made back by selling your excess energy offset your night-time bills.
How it’s going
Now systems start from $3k, but there’s little to no incentive to sell your excess power back to the grid. Currently the government has a Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS), and the buyback rates look like this:
- Peak-rates: Electricity exported between 3pm to 9pm earns 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh)
- Off-peak rates: Electricity exported between 9pm and 3pm earns 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
So, let’s get this straight, DEBS. The reward for selling the majority of the excess power your solar panels generate during the day is to turn 27c per kilowatt-hour into 24.5c per kilowatt-hour when the sun goes down? Is it really worth it? Especially when you consider DEBS is anticipated to be dropped altogether in the near future? No way José!
The truth is, electricity companies don’t like the tariff system, because they don’t really want excess energy coming back into the grid during the day at all. This is when most people are at work, so who is going to use it? Sure, they could build infrastructure to store that same power to use in peak periods, but the cost to upgrade it is enormous.
And even if they did decide to build the storage infrastructure, that’s going to open the can of worms they’re trying to avoid – homeowners demanding to be paid higher rates for selling their excess solar energy back to the grid.
Where’s it’s heading
The government is virtually making it a no brainer to invest in solar batteries to store your own power, by making accessing grid power almost untenable. We already know electricity rates are rising, and are predicted to continue to rise. And we can expect more taxes and tariffs on storage and use of your own power.
You can tell they’re running scared – the only reason they won’t subsidise batteries is it will decrease the revenue they make from electricity sales. Which means they work.
So, should you invest in solar batteries?
We can look at this moment as a turning point for batteries. Right now, they may seem expensive. But once you weigh up what a future looks like where you’re dependent on an increasingly stingy, greedy, self-serving grid system for your peak period energy, it’s obvious that you’ll be better off installing batteries to store your own power and optimise your energy independence.
Remember next time you’re watching Netflix in your air-conditioned living room as your power metre ticks over – all that energy your solar panels generated earlier in the day had enough kW to keep your house running after dark. What a waste! A battery storage solution will make your solar system work harder for you, as efficiently and economically as it possibly can.
You might look back and wish you’d done it sooner
Why wait for the government to force your hand? Talk to Solar My Home WA to find out how to secure your energy independence with solar battery storage. Contact (08) 6209 7709 or email firstname.lastname@example.org