There has been plenty of hype in the media recently about electricity prices going up and solar feed-in tariffs going down, and as a result we’ve been fielding a lot of enquiries about solar batteries.
If you are thinking about the possibility of a solar battery, whether adding to an existing solar system or considering installing solar with batteries from scratch, there are a few questions you need to ask.
- Do you want to have battery power available for evening and night-time use?
- Do you want to have blackout protection? (Power available during grid blackouts for essential items)
- Do you want a backup reserve? (have stored energy reserved for use during a grid outage)
- Do you want your solar panels to continue producing power when the grid is down during the day?
- Do you want battery power to be available during peak rate periods?
- Do you hate the idea of exporting surplus solar production back to the grid for peanuts?
- Do you want to minimise/mitigate the effect of Export Limitation?
- Do you want to install a battery because you feel it’s the right thing to do?
- Do you have funds available or will finance be required?
- Are you concerned about payback time and/or return on investment?
You can have one or more of these as the reason for solar battery addition, all of them valid, and the answers you give can determine what you need to do next.
In most cases, the financial benefits attributed to battery addition are a major factor in proceeding with a battery installation. Thus, in all cases, the first step is to define the current situation as far as electricity costs are concerned.
If you do not yet have a solar system installed, you need to know:
- what is your level of energy consumption?
- how much are you paying for electricity?
- are you on the most suitable energy plan available?
- what available roof space do you have?
- what funds do you have available to proceed?
There are two ways of going about this; either install solar panels and the battery in one go or do the installation in two stages with the solar system first, then once there is sufficient data available to assess the productivity of the system, consider the battery addition as a second stage.
If you have a solar system already, you need to determine the system productivity.
- how much does your system generate
- how much do you export to the grid and how much do you import
- and the current financial outcome from the system.
In both the pre and post-solar installation situations, information on the power bills can provide a basic summary of performance (both financial and electrical).
A more detailed and useful analysis can be obtained by the addition of energy monitoring software. Most newer, more recently installed systems have good monitoring systems already built in. This can ensure that the battery installed is appropriately matched and will provide the best financial result.
Once you have established this information, you can then proceed with the technical aspects of installation such as:
- will the battery system need to be AC or DC coupled?
- do you need a single or multiphase system?
- will you take the modular approach?
- what battery brands or systems provide the characteristics from your initial wish list?
- which systems fit within your budget?
You can find more information about solar battery storage systems at the link below:
Solar Battery Systems Information
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