Home battery storage to 'revolutionise' solar industry in Australia: Climate Council report

Categories: Energy

When trying to choose the best energy solution for your off grid home, it is important to look at what is available in the market and weigh all the options, we need to take on account many factors before buying any kind of unit or energy system, whether it will be solar or other. Here is something that is being done in Australia that might be of interest to you.

Coupling solar panels with home battery storage could be the cheapest way to get electricity within three years, according to a report by the Climate Council in Australia.

The environmental not-for-profit found battery storage would "revolutionise" the way Australians accessed electricity, allowing homes to become more independent of the traditional grid.

With battery storage capacity expected to grow 50-fold within a decade, the report found going off-grid could be cost-competitive with staying connected as early as 2018.

As feed-in tariffs are phased out and grid electricity becomes more expensive, Australia could be the number one market for home battery storage by the same year, the report found.

"Anyone who has PV [photovoltaic cells] on their roof knows they're paid a fraction – maybe a tenth – of what it costs them to buy power off the grid," the Climate Council's Andrew Stock said.

"If they have a tool, a battery, that can allow them to store the surplus power during the day and use it at night, it means they're going to get greater control than they already have over their power bill."

In April, US-based technology and automotive company Tesla unveiled Powerwall, a cheap lithium ion battery, soon to be churned out on a massive scale in a giant factory being built in Nevada.

The battery is estimated, with add-ons, to cost about $5,500.

By 2020, the factory is expected to produce 35 gigawatt hours (gWh) of lithium-ion battery storage each year, more than the entire worldwide production of the batteries in 2013.

Tesla, along with another of the world's biggest home battery manufacturers, EnPhase, has announced Australia will be its first market.

Report's key findings:

  • By 2018, going "off-grid" could be cost competitive with traditional grid
  • Coupling solar panels with home battery storage could be cheapest option
  • Half of all Australian households tipped to adopt solar
  • Switch to solar expected to accelerate as battery cost drops

Half of all households to adopt solar: report

The Climate Council also found half of all households were predicted to adopt solar systems with battery storage, with the market potentially growing to $24 billion.

Mr Stock said the technology would be disruptive to existing network operators, and some companies were already altering the way they priced power to discourage solar and battery combinations.

"This is perverse, because battery systems, coupled with PV, can actually help networks get much better use out of their assets by smoothing out the demand on the grid," he said.

"That should mean that network companies don't need to invest anywhere near as much at adding capacity in the future, and they get better use out of the existing capacity."

In May, AGL, which owns Victoria's biggest brown coal generator, Loy Yang, announced it would market its own battery.

It has also begun offering customers solar panels without upfront fees.

"It's really important that the traditional players in the industry see this as an opportunity instead of a threat, because if they look at this as an opportunity they'll be thinking 'how do they leverage this technology into their businesses?'" Mr Stock said.

"If they see it only as a threat, that will put back Australia [from] potentially being a leader in the upt

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