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What you need to know about
storing Solar

Battery enquiries have been skyrocketing over the last year with more and more enquiries and questions regarding whether batteries are they worthwhile.

If you’re installing batteries for the right reasons and you want to take advantage of Excess Power that would have already been sent to the grid using it at night for your own purposes with the added bonus of blackout protection when the grid goes out then solar batteries are a good option.

If you’re only installing batteries for the financial benefits then we would highly recommend doing the calculations or speaking to a designer to get accurate information as we still find without rebates The Payback period is approximately double the time as solar panels.

It is a complicated area and with new technology coming onto the market each day it is something to keep in mind and clarify with a designer and installer before moving forward with a purchase

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There are state government incentives that have been announced as of July 1 2019 the announcement was that if eligible you may be able to claim up to $4,000 off the cost of a battery solution the formal document soon to be released may make batteries a lot more feasible, please note if already claimed the $2,225 incentive for solar panels this incentive will not apply.

The Basics

Batteries capture any unused solar power that is generated during the day, batteries then give you the capacity to draw off at any time where your consumption is larger then the amount of solar PV being produced at that given time. One of the major benefits of batteries outside of the financial benefits is the ability to produce power in a blackout without the grid. If your solar system is large enough a battery could make your house self sufficient for a large portion of the year.

If you do not install a battery there is no option to have blackout protection on your solar system. The Standard Solar System requires the grid and synchronises to the grid to allow the solar production. The new battery systems create an artificial grid that works in conjunction with your appliances and household loads to allow functionality in blackouts whilst also protecting the actual grid buy locking out the ability to export any power.

Depth of discharge (DoD)

Batteries are designed to work with him parameters to not harmful e or detrimentally impact on the life of the battery. Lithium batteries which is what most hybrid Solutions are in the market can safely be discharged up to 80 and 95% of their nominal capacity. This would mean a 10 kwh nominal battery would have a usable capacity of 8 to 9.5 kwh.

Capacity

The unit of measurement for batteries is kilowatt hours (kwh) and the definition nominal capacity is the amount of power the battery can hold. This however is different to usable capacity which is the amount of power the battery can deliver due to the depth of discharge allocated through specifications.

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Lifespan

when battery manufacturers talk about warranties they usually write these in Cycles – cycle life of a battery is how many times you can charge and discharge the battery before it is considered to reach the end of its life. As a guide lithium batteries can have life spans / Cycles of between 2000 and 10000. You should also expect that over the lifespan of the battery the efficiencies of the battery will also become depleted, a 10 kwh battery out of the box in 10 years time they only have a usable capacity of between 5 and 8 years as an example,  they cannot hold the full capacity indefinitely.

There are lots of variations of lithium batteries from lithium nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) used by Tesla and LG chem. As well as lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO) used by companies like BYD and Sonnen. These are very similar in manufacturing process with similar pros and cons.

Other options of batteries may include flow batteries where electrolytes are pumped around and chemical reactions are used to charge and release such batteries include redflow.  As well as saltwater batteries and recently announced supercapacitors. These are not comment but with technology advancements these options and many others may become viable options moving forward.

Limitations

Batteries to have some limitations as to the amount of power that can be used and harvested at any given time. There are specific charging rates 4 batteries and this is determined by the specifications of the battery and the charging unit / inverter hooked up in conjunction with the battery. As a guide at the moment the majority of battery systems can allow up to 5 kilowatts or 20 amps of power to be sent to and from the battery at any given time.

So should I install a home battery?

With the return of investment for solar panels at a very viable option and the return of investment for solar batteries still sitting a lot higher the question is, should I install one.

We personally believe that without financial incentives from the government at the moment it does not make complete sense to install purely for financial reasons, you may even find that the Payback. Is longer than the warranty an expected life frame of the battery. Lithium ion battery systems installed in conjunction with a management system and hybrid inverter as a guide can cost anywhere between $6000 and $16,000 depending on the size and the manufacturer.

Pricing has fallen quite a lot over the last two to three years, this is slow down recently but will continue in a diet downward projection over the foreseeable future. We find that if you don’t over capitalise on a hybrid inverter it may be viable to install a hybrid inverter today with the capacity to plug and play a battery in conjunction when the pricing it’s the point that makes financial sense and this may be come sooner rather than later with the introduction of government grants.

As also discussed previously with internet options from the grid having a battery that offers work out protection especially in rural areas where is required for pumps and fire protection battery Solutions are a great option today.

So when making the final decision on whether a battery solution or a solar system with a hybrid inverter is the right option for your house we highly recommend you speak to a specialist to get a more detailed understanding on how solar batteries function what options are available and whether a battery will actually serve your purpose as a battery will not always be the right option for every client.

Get in contact with us today so we can book a time to do your free in-house consultation.

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