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Solar Panels & Battery Storage
Have you ever wondered why you should send your excess electricity to the grid, instead of keeping it via a battery? Now you can add a battery to your solar system with the help of the South Australian Battery Rebate Scheme.
The Scheme was created to ensure that every South Australian household on the grid has the opportunity to purchase a subsidised home battery system. To be eligible for the subsidy, an approved battery system must be installed by a qualified System Provider under the Scheme, such as DQ Electrical and Solar.
South Australia's Home Battery Scheme
The SA Home Battery Scheme provides all grid-connected South Australians with state government subsidies and low-interest loans from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to help pay for a home battery system. DQ can help you apply for the loan.
The subsidy is accessible to all South Australians and is based primarily on the kilowatt hour potential of the purchased battery. The largest uptake if the scheme has so far been in Adelaide.
While a home battery system typically consists of a battery and an inverter, which are paired with existing or new rooftop solar panels, the State Government subsidy only applies to the battery component of the system.
To ensure that the batteries available through the Scheme are safe and reliable, a set of technical requirements has been developed. Contact us to see how much money the rebate can save you.
How does a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) work?
Batteries that can receive the subsidy in SA must be Virtual Power Plant (VPP) capable. This means that the battery can be enrolled in a VPP programme at the outset or at a later date, or it can remain standalone.
Some of the advantages of including VPP capable systems in the Scheme are as follows:
- Households now have a wider range of products to choose from, some of which have low or no upfront costs,
- Increasing the amount of storage-generation in the energy market – lowering the state’s energy demand and thus benefiting all South Australian customers, not just those who receive the subsidy.
The cost of a home battery system varies depending on the size of the battery and whether new or additional solar panels are required.
How do batteries work with a solar system?
A solar battery stores energy generated by a solar power system.
The panels in the system absorb solar energy and convert it to electricity, which is then routed through the inverter and used by your home.
A battery allows you to store energy generated by your panels and use it later, such as in the evening when your system is no longer producing energy.
The Benefits of Solar Battery Storage
Having battery storage allows you to become more self-sufficient in terms of energy.
Batteries increase your solar self-consumption and lowering the amount of energy you need to buy from the grid.
Batteries also keep you powered up in the case of a black out. This means you keep enjoying the comforts of your home, when others sit in the dark and have lost power.
By staying in power the food in your fridge for example will not be spoiled and you can continue monitor TV and radio news in case of a natural disaster.
Many houses at risk of bushfire should make sure they have solar and battery backup.
This will allow them to operate life and property saving water pumps, in the case the grid has gone down, due to a nearby bush fire.
Batteries also enable your residence to continue using solar power in the evening by storing excess solar energy generated throughout the day so that it is easily accessible for use at night.
This will save you money, as you do not sell your solar power cheaply back into the grid, but use it and therefore gaining the full value of your electricity generate via you solar system.
How long does it take for a solar and battery system to pay itself back?
Your Solar Battery Questions Answered
If you’re mainly interested in reducing your carbon footprint, then adding a solar battery to your home solar system is probably a natural next step.
It may also be the right decision if you’re interested in saving money and reducing your energy bills.
But to make sure it’s a sound financial decision, it’s important to weigh up the total cost of the solar battery and its installation against how much you’re likely to save over time.
Whether it’s the right choice for you will depend on your personal consumption patterns, circumstances and motivation.
Here at DQ Electrical & Solar our staff can assist you in determining what options will best suit your needs.
When choosing a solar battery, there are some important things to keep in mind. Prices for batteries largely depend on their storage size, their efficiency level and lifecycle.
The larger the battery, the more efficient the technology and the longer the lifecycle, the more you will get from your battery, but the more expensive it will be as well.
If you think you might want to add another battery to your home solar system later on, consider getting a model that allows expandability in the future.
These type of solutions lets you stack batteries on top of each other to increase your overall storage capacity in time.
Battery capacity is measured in kWh, which means if a battery has a 10kWh capacity, that 10kWh or in another measurement 10,000 Watts of electricity can theoretically be stored and then re-used.
In order to increase battery life it is advisable not to fully discharge batteries completely in every discharge cycle.
Batteries via the battery management system can for example be set to discharge only 80% of capacity and keep 20% stored in the battery, to prolong battery life.
This means in our example, only 8kWh will be available for night use. So when sizing your battery, our experts can make sure your chosen size will fit your personal consumption needs.
While batteries can certainly make financial sense for some solar owners, especially with the unique SA Government subsidy, others may find that it’s better to wait until the price drops even further over the next few years.
Those customers might wish to invest in a larger solar system and in preparing their existing solar system for future battery storage.
If your solar panel system size is small in capacity, and was installed before 2015, you may need to think about upgrading it to a size kw size, like 7, 10 or 12 kW in Adelaide, so that it can charge a medium size battery on a cloudy day.
For example a 10 kW system in Beaumont, Postcode 5066, SA will generate around 15,100kWh per annum or 41kWh on average each day of the year, which would be sufficient in an average household to operate a 10 kWh battery.
Your old solar system will also need a inverter upgrade to a special battery inverter to make use of the battery.
A battery inverter converts DC electricity into AC electricity to discharge the battery, and AC energy into DC energy to charge it again.
Unfortunately, not many older inverters will work with various types of batteries, so you will most likely need to upgrade your old system to a hybrid inverter.
Depending on when your system was installed, the older solar panels did not have to go through as rigorous fire resistant testing as the newer panels.
While the government has not declared that these older systems are unsafe, nevertheless they will not allow addition and major changes to those older solar systems.
Our DQ solar and battery system design staff can help you get the right info to make an informed decision .
Solar batteries’ performance degrades over time, similar to how your phone’s battery continues to keep a charge for less and less time the more you charge and discharge it.
Many manufacturers list their warranty as guaranteeing a certain level of performance at the conclusion of the warranty term to obtain a sense of what a normal amount of degradation is expected.
Often these warranties are expressed in charge cycles and sometimes in years and charge cycles combined.
The majority of those performance factors depend on your battery’s specific operational circumstances. For example are you charging and discharging the solar battery a number of times a day, or once a week or 10 times a month?
Another factor affecting battery life is how deep are you depleting the battery each time you use it, and what is the battery’s surrounding environment. For example, exposure to heat can reduce battery lifetime.
Many maintenance and life cycle factors also depend on the battery’s composition. While lithium ion batteries, the most common type of home solar battery installed today require little to no maintenance, other types of batteries may require an annual inspection by a professional specialist.
For example, with flow batteries, you’ll need to check that the electrolyte level is sufficient and one has to top off the electrolyte if any has been lost.
Corrosion can be a concern with the older style lead acid batteries, so it’s critical to check your battery’s terminal connections on a regular basis to ensure they’re properly connected and to take action to stop rust in its tracks.
DQ is available to service and advice on any matter of battery maintenance.
We are only a phone call away to get your battery working again.
When PV batteries stop working the issue is often related to the battery management system (BMS) or the communication between the battery and the inverter.
In such instances the battery shuts down to protect the equipment and a site visit is required to fault find and fix the issue.
Step 1 – Your battery or hybrid inverter has shut down
Step 2 – Call DQ and book a site visit to fault find
Step 3 – Our experienced, local battery installer will visit you to analyse the situation and propose a solution.
Step 4 – After you accept the proposal , DQ will start with the repairs to get your battery
and solar system starting to deliver real savings again, as soon as possible.
A solar and battery bundled solar system will not have as fast a payback as a solar only system. This is because a solar only system, for quality gear can deliver a return of investment timeframe as low as 3 years.
LG Solar has a solid ROI calculator for solar only which can be found here. One the other hand a battery addition to an existing battery ready system can in many cases still take 6 to 7 years for the ROI to come through.
So when one buys a new solar system, combined with a battery, what is the bundled ROI?
Let’s do some quick calculations for a 6.6kw standard solar system with a 13.3 kWh of storage Alpha ESS battery installed in North Brighton, a beachside suburb of Adelaide, postcode of 5048.
The annual output of a 6.6 kw system in this location will be around 10,000 kWh. With a 13.3 kWh battery from DQ, it would be expected in normal behaviour patterns that 80% of the generated electricity will be consumed on site and 20% will be exported.
As per July 2021 we see a price of 35 cents per kWh to purchase electricity and on average 10cents for the FIT export income. So 8000 kWh x 35 cents is $2800 of savings and 2000 kWh exported at 10c gives an income of $200.
Therefore the annual benefit of such a system will be $3000. DQ Electrical & Solar will offer such a combo system, depending on final panel and inverter choice for a price range of $11,000 to $13,000 after federal and SA rebates, creating an ROI of around 4 years or below.
Such a payback is undoubtedly one of shortest in the whole world, thanks to the SA battery and the Federal Government panel system rebate.
So why wait, give DQ a hello to find out more.
The current SA Government battery incentives are the most generous in the Country. Contact us to find out more.
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