Australia leads the world in household solar installations so now is the time to take advantage of battery storage technology to capture the sun’s power and use generated energy when it’s most needed, writes Nectr CEO Andrew Butler.

Australia is a global leader in rooftop solar uptake, with more than 30 per cent of households across the nation installing photovoltaic solar to power their energy needs. While household-generated solar power is perfect for times when the sun is shining, it’s during peak periods – when the sun goes down – when homes turn to the grid for electricity.

This is where battery storage makes a real difference.

As a nation with more than three million households and small businesses powering their needs from rooftop solar, interest in household solar and battery setups, or adding a battery to an existing solar panel system, is surging.

For people who have already installed rooftop solar, limitations to solar feed-in tariffs (FiT) and credits for exporting back to the grid make the shift to battery storage a compelling proposition. So does avoiding the prospect of higher electricity prices in the future due to the volatility of the electricity wholesale market and potential increases in the cost of raw materials.

Battery storage offers a practical solution to keep the lights on during blackouts. By drawing clean energy from battery storage, households are less reliant on the grid, therefore reducing carbon emissions.

As one of the newest players in Australia’s energy industry, Nectr is focused on supporting the renewable energy transition, and the company currently sits among the nation’s top 10 greenest energy retailers, according to Greenpeace’s “Green Electricity Guide”.

The AlphaESS SMILE battery (pictured here) and the LG RESU10 48V lithium-ion battery (pictured at top of page) are both available from Nectr on buy-now-pay-later plans. Photos: Supplied.

Nectr recently won the inaugural 2022 Canstar Blue Green Energy Excellence Award for its 100 per cent carbon neutral and 100 per cent GreenPower plans.

With a vision to help Australian households access affordable energy, Nectr offers the following advice to consumers before investing in battery storage.

Purchase upfront or buy now and pay later?

On average, home battery and installation costs between $8000 and $15,000 depending on the size and quality of the battery selected. While this might be a significant upfront cost for some households, there are buy now and pay later (BNPL) options with no upfront cost or interest over 60 months.

There are also government assistance schemes for households, businesses and communities for battery installation. Consumers should do their research to determine if they are eligible.

Battery storage capacity

Clean Energy Council accredited installers can recommend the most appropriate battery to suit a household with existing solar panels. The storage capacity of batteries is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh) so 1kWh is equal to one hour of electricity used at the power of 1kW.

For example, using a 2000W oven for an hour would equate to using 2kWh of the battery’s capacity. As a comparison, a 200W TV would need to be used for 10 hours to equate to 2kWh. Generally, a typical home with solar panels exporting more than 2MWh per year could meet its needs with battery systems of 5kWh through to 9kWh.

Using battery stored energy – how long will it last?

Depending on the size of the battery, its level of charge and household usage, a battery can last as little as an hour, or up to several hours. The good news is that when a battery is fully charged, the extra energy produced can be sold and sent to the grid. The FiT initiative allows eligible households to generate credits on their electricity bill for feeding energy they produce back into the grid.

Installation and warranties

Solar panel and battery storage installations should always be completed by a Clean Energy Council approved installer. Most reputable brands of household batteries come with a minimum five years’ warranty, which covers parts and maintenance.