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!Installing a battery-ready solar panel system

Considering adding battery storage to your system in the near future? It’s not as simple as plug’n’play. Not all solar power systems will be easily upgradeable. To have a battery ready solar system your system should ideally be designed with the correct components and installation in mind. If you are installing a solar system with batteries in mind, it’s important to ask the solar installer or company what they mean by “battery ready”.

Plug and Play: 

Compatible inverter and correct location for battery set-up: your inverter needs to be designed to work with a specified type of battery. Many solar inverters on homes currently will not be compatible with all batteries, in these cases a new solar inverter or charging inverter may be required. If your system is installed incorrectly for storage, your system may also require more work to get it ready for batteries. In saying that, if you have already installed a system without these considerations it’s not the end of the world. Most systems can be upgraded with a replacement or an additional inverter or other equipment.

Some solar battery systems will have inverter functions incorporated. These are considered Plug & Play solar storage systems.

Power/Consumption meters are a great idea to install before purchasing a battery to determine if the battery you are considering is worth buying and give you an idea of the ideal storage capacity. It’s actually a good idea to have one installed with your solar panel system so you get the full picture of your  energy production and usage and can take full advantage of the solar power produced by your new solar system.

A power/consumption meter is a device that allows you to optimise self-consumption of solar power by recording the household‘s energy production and usage patterns, often adding to the information in your solar monitoring portal to compare solar production and energy usage patterns.

Most power/consumption meters worth considering will also allow you to view historic reports via your monitoring interface as well that will indicate storage capacity required and will determine if your battery will be worth getting.

The future brings uncertainty. How predictable! 

With the local market under pressure from impacts of import problems, labour shortages, rising fuel and transport costs, global political tensions and government incentives dropping in 2023 (crazy times right?), the costs for solar systems are likely to fluctuate a little… as they have since Covid showed its ugly head! It is important to consider this if you are comparing prices over a timeframe of more than a month and especially through to the new year.

In contrast to varying costs of solar system installations, it is almost a certainty that retail electricity prices will continue to climb at troubling rates. Most of the electricity generated in NSW by just 5 coal power plants with about a ¼ of these regularly going offline and requiring maintenance this year forcing us to rely on more expensive gas plants. This, compounded by the invasion of Ukraine; a decade of poor federal governance and political distraction holding back localised renewable energy production and back-to-back La Ninas wreaking havoc with the sourcing and transport of coal has all culminated in a crunch on living expenses. October’s budget forecast retail energy prices would increase by an average of 20% across the country in late 2022 and 50% over the next two years!

Needless to say with the current global climate (both economical and weather related), the new federal government’s plan is likely to take longer than expected and the average household that relies solely on centralised power (excuse the pun) will likely feel the pressure building for some time.

So should I install solar panels with solar battery storage? 

It all depends on how you currently use your power and how you want to control your energy.

If you have an existing solar system without solar storage, do the legwork to check if you’re using the system to its full potential. 

  • Do you have a power/consumption meter installed and are you using the monitoring correctly to increase your efficiency? 

  • Are you producing enough to cover your daytime usage?

  • Are you exporting excess power to the grid? 

  • Could you reduce your demand on the grid even more by shifting some of your power usage to different times of day?

  • Will you need additional solar capacity to produce enough power for day and night usage?

  • Could you reduce the cost of your late night/early morning usage by swapping to time-of-use metering?

If you don’t have a solar system yet you will need to consider your return on investment in two stages. 

  • Do you understand your home’s energy usage profile?

  • Are you being billed on a single rate or time-of-use metering?

  • How much solar capacity will you require to cover your day and night loads?

  • Could you reduce your night-time demand o by shifting some of your usage to the day?

  • Are you using enough energy power at night to cover the additional cost of a battery system?

The answers to all of these questions will play a big part in the decision to install a new system or upgrade your system with a solar battery storage.

Is solar battery storage worth it right now?

With everything mentioned above in mind it may seem daunting to commit to decisions that seem like a big investment. The cost of batteries may outweigh the financial return for you at this point and you might be willing to take a wait-and-see approach and sit on the idea for a while. The cost of batteries may be likely to come down with the shifting markets in materials or maybe you will get a higher battery capacity at a simpler price point.  The tradeoff is you also might miss out on thousands of dollars in your pocket right now from savings on your power bills.

Taking matters into your own hand by producing and storing your own solar power means putting a cap on your demand from the centralised grid and bringing some stability predictability to your finances. The investment is a financial one but it is also an investment in your own financial security. Don’t leave your power in the hands of the producers.

Think about your needs in a system and contact a consultant from Solarhunters now!

We only work with the best solar brands on the market!

We only work with the best solar brands on the market!

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