When is the best time to buy a solar battery

Almost every one of our solar customers wants to talk to us about solar energy system batteries and inevitably they want to know:

a) Are they worth it
b) Should I buy it now – when I buy the initial system, or leave it for a bit and buy it later when battery technology has improved and they become cheaper.

So, we’ll break it down for you – whether you should buy a battery now, or leave your solar energy system battery-ready and buy one later.

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Why should I buy a solar battery now?

First off, there are 2 incentives running right now that encourage Victorians to invest in a solar energy system for their property (residential-focus). These are STCs and the Victorian Solar Energy rebate.

STCs are small-scale technology certificates. We have written about these before and they apply to solar energy system installations with PV panels. This provides a discount on the product for you so your solar energy system costs less. But, the value of STCs changes every year, decreasing incrementally. We wrote a blog post on STC value changes that last year and here is how the value has changed of the last 4 years:

2017: $3,850
2018: $3,580
2019: $3,311
2020: $3,040

To paraphrase a famous saying – the best time to install solar was a few years ago, but the second-best time is now!

But, on top of STCs, Victorians can claim the Victorian Solar Energy rebate. We also wrote a blog post on whether Victorians can combine these 2 incentives to see a significant reduction in the cost of the energy system, and yes they can.

“With STCs covering about 33% of an installation cost and the Vic Solar Rebate eligible to cover up to 50% of the cost of installation, combining the two opportunities can result in some significant savings for a new energy system.”

This makes NOW an excellent time to take the plunge to buy a solar energy system as these two incentives work together to make it cheaper and they both have a limited life span and STCs are getting weaker over time, so each year a solar energy system is technically getting more expensive.

You’ll never see better rebates for a solar energy system than you can get right now.

Also worth noting – a solar energy system does add value to your home if you decide to sell. Solar power has a return on investment of around 25%.


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Ok, you’ve sold me on a solar energy system, but what about a battery? Should I add one now, or later?

Rising electricity costs, decreasing battery costs and rolling blackouts are encouraging, if not forcing in some cases, Australians to take a serious look at solar battery power. Electricity prices are the highest they have ever been and Australia has some of the highest energy prices in the world and some of the brightest sunshine. With Coronavirus hitting in 2020 and forcing more Australians to spend time at home they’ve seen whopping increases in their energy bills (if you’re one of these Australians facing tough energy bills and need help, please see the Government’s website for support). With many of us at home during the day, we can use the energy our solar energy system supplies and store the excess for the evening/cloudier days/blackouts.

Batteries used to be very expensive, beyond the reach of most Australians. However, they have decreased in prices significantly over the last 20 years and between 2017-2018 they saw a 40% drop in costs.

But, you still might be on the fence about whether to buy a battery now or to wait until they get even cheaper. The best path is to assess the cost of a battery vs how much it can save you financially, and/or environmentally (as energy efficiency and reducing our dependency on fossil fuels is core to our work at Energy Makeovers). Weigh up the cost now and how much energy you’ll save vs how much your high energy bills cost you per year and how much you’ll spend in the period of time while you wait. Or we can do that for you if you like!

An important factor to consider before jumping in is the size of the battery you will need. Smaller batteries provide a higher ROI, so logically, purchasing a larger battery – especially if you don’t need a large battery – will take longer to see ROI and will lead to waste. In some circumstances, we recommend installing a solar energy system and monitoring your energy demands with a Smart inverter. This can provide data that establishes how and when you use your energy most and if a solar battery will be right for your property. We can help you with this if you’re not sure.


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Future-proof your home

By installing a solar battery you will future-proof your home with an appliance that is almost guaranteed to be the norm in the future.

“a million Australian households could have installed battery storage systems by 2020” (source)

To summarize whether you should buy a solar battery now or later, it’s like that irritating and famous question ‘how long is a piece of string’? – it depends on your current energy use, your needs now and in the future, where you live (for available rebates and incentives) and how important reducing your carbon footprint is to you. Whatever your circumstances we can help talk you through whether a solar energy system with a battery is right for you (or your business!).


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