Home Solar Battery Guide

We’ve talked a lot about the distributed energy future, powered by renewables like rooftop solar. But a key aspect to making this vision a reality is the ability to store energy during the solar peak (in the middle of the day) to be used (or dispatched) when it’s most valuable (like in the early evening peak).

Doing so provides benefits for both the battery owner and the broader energy ecosystem. We foresee home-scale battery technology playing a significant role in this regard. While the control mechanisms for behind-the-meter storage are still relatively nascent, batteries are growing in popularity, as the economics improve. Tesla’s Powerwall 2 announcement late last year had a big impact, with other manufacturers dropping their prices to match and spurring a lot of interest in the community.

However, batteries are still a complicated proposition, more so than rooftop solar.

Over the past few months I’ve had the opportunity (outside of my role at Nexergy) to participate in the development of the NSW Home Solar Battery Guide, which was released today at the Clean Energy Council Conference. The Guide has been developed by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment in collaboration with the Total Environment Centre and Alternative Technology Association.

It covers a lot of ground—from what a home power station looks like, to how different motivations might affect your decisions, financial evaluation (including a simple payback calculator), through to maintenance and post-purchase care. While some of the information is specific to the NSW context, much of it is more broadly applicable and relevant. And while there’s a lot of detail, the information is presented in an easy to access form, along with a lot of visuals and practical examples to help clarify some of the key concepts.

One of the most exciting things for me in the Guide is that modelling by the ATA shows that for many households in NSW without existing solar, purchasing a battery coupled with solar is now a commercially sensible proposition. That is, the whole system will pay for itself within the warranty period of most batteries (which is typically about 10 years).

This is big news—while long predicted, we can now expect to see home-scale battery technology take off, especially as new solar installations continue to grow. If current trends continue, it won’t be long until retrofit options also become economical. Which is great news for local energy trading, like what we’re working on at Nexergy, expanding the benefits for everyone.

If you’re interested in getting batteries, or work in the field (i.e. you’re an installer, vendor or sustainability consultant) we’d recommend checking out the Guide.

Posted by Grant Young, Chief Experience Officer (CXO) of Nexergy.

Want to get a better return for the energy generated by your solar and/or batteries? Or just want to pay less to get your energy from clean local sources? Sign up for the preview release of the Nexergy local energy trading platform.

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