If you have a solar PV system installed on your roof, you may also be considering a solar battery. Solar battery storage allows you to store power generated from your solar cells, which can then be used to power your home at night or during unexpected power outages.
Solar battery installation can be a great enhancement to your renewable energy ecosystem, but how much does it cost to install one?
Solar batteries can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $30,000 or more. The price depends on several factors, such as the brand, model, capacity and quantity of batteries. It’s important to understand how the cost savings of a solar battery will support your goals, and how soon you’ll pay off the investment.
But are the benefits worth it? Should you invest in a solar battery? Let’s find out in this article.
Table of Contents
How Much Do Solar Batteries Cost in Australia?
Solar batteries generally cost around $1,000 to $2,000 per kilowatt hour (kWh) of storage capacity in Australia. For example, for a 4kWh battery, you’ll probably spend between $4,000 to $8,000.
To give you a better idea of the costs involved, check out this table of average solar battery prices collated in November 2022.
|Battery and Inverter/Charger
Note that these are just estimates. The total cost depends on factors such as the solar battery brand, whether you already have an existing and compatible solar system, your chosen installer, and your specific preferences and requirements.
What Does ‘Cost per Warranted kWh’ Mean?
A kilowatt hour is a term of measurement of the amount of electrical energy used in a household or facility. Thus, the cost per warranted kWh is the cost of electric energy equivalent to one kilowatt of electrical power taken or supplied from an electrical system (in this case, your solar battery) for 60 minutes.
A solar battery is usually cycled once per day; the cycle determines the cost of warranted kilowatt-hour of stored energy. Check out the graph below for an idea of the cost of warranted kWh of some popular solar battery brands.
What Affects the Price of Solar Batteries?
Capacity, power type, brand, battery type and financial rebates and incentives all affect the price of your solar battery.
There are many models to choose from, and each has its own characteristics, features, capabilities, and limitations to consider when comparing solar battery prices.
Battery capacity is potentially the biggest consideration that affects solar battery prices. Capacity is the amount of energy that a solar battery can store. In general, the more capacity your battery has, the longer you’ll have power in case of a power failure, and the more expensive it is. Most home batteries can store around 10 to 20kWh of electric power, but you’ll want to calculate what size solar battery you need for your PV system.
DC vs AC
Due to their less complex build, direct current (DC) batteries are often more affordable than (alternating current) AC batteries. However, it’s worth noting that DC batteries lack the flexibility or versatility of AC batteries. In addition, DC batteries may be incompatible with your solar system. AC batteries, on the contrary, are much more easily paired with any kind of solar system.
Solar Battery Manufacturer
Brands are also indicators and determiners of price, and the best solar batteries in Australia will come at a premium. The popularity, reputation, quality, and after-service care of a brand all have a hand in solar battery prices. For example, Sonnen, a German manufacturer, has a luxury line of solar batteries costing more than $30,000 per unit. At the other end of the spectrum, you have the Tesla Powerwall, which costs around $11,000.
Battery composition may also affect the price. For example, lithium-ion batteries are the most common type of batteries used in households. A nickel-manganese (NMC) battery, which is a type of lithium-ion battery, is generally more affordable than lithium-ion phosphate (LFP) batteries.
Homeowners may even opt for cheaper lead-acid batteries. However, they’ll have to contend with the lower lifespan, lower capacity, and frequent maintenance of these kinds of batteries.
Number of Batteries
You want your backup power to last longer. Thus, most likely, you’ll want to have more than one battery. The more batteries you have in your system, the higher the cost. How many batteries you need depends on your energy requirement, the storage capacity of your batteries, the number of appliances you want to power up, and how long you want these appliances to run.
Backup Load Panel
Unless you’re willing to spend an entire fortune on batteries, solar batteries can’t provide power for every appliance in your home. Instead, you would prioritise which appliances and systems you’d like to stay energised if there’s a power outage.
To divert the circuit to those appliances and systems, you would need a sub-panel, sometimes called a critical load panel or a backup panel. These panels often cost at least $1,000, excluding the installation.
Incentives and Rebates
Given the high upfront cost and inconsistency on whether solar batteries can pay for themselves in their usable lifetime, incentives and rebates are essential. Depending on where you live in Australia, your state or local government may provide incentives or rebates to reduce the initial cost of your solar battery, making renewable energy more accessible. However, not all governments provide incentives and rebates, and the amount they cover varies between states.
Buying and installing a solar battery and the equipment to make it properly work is expensive, often reaching up to thousands of dollars. Thus, it’s important to contract the job to an installer that has extensive experience with solar battery systems. Don’t scrimp on installation and maintenance costs!
How Much Money Do Solar Batteries Save?
The average Australian home can save anywhere from $100 to more than $1,000 annually with solar battery storage, depending on their battery size and consumption habits. Over time, a solar battery will typically pay for itself, but payback period will depend on usage.
Let’s assume a 4-person Australian household has an existing 5kW solar system. The household consumes an average of 20 kWh per day. The household uses 30 c/kWh from the grid, which totals $6 per day. On an optimal day, the solar system produces 20 kWh a day. With these factors, the household can save 30c/kWh a day.
Assuming this household adds a $14,500 Tesla Powerwall, which can hold 13.5 kWh of power. Most probably, this power will be used in the evening. If so, and depending on the lifestyle of the family, the household can save around $4 per day or around $1,500 per year from the grid.
Assume that the battery still has 5 kWh left and the household uses around 2 kWh each day. The family can save an additional $200 annually. The other 3 kWh can be sent back to the local grid, saving them another $87 a year.
How Long does it take for a Solar Battery to Pay for Itself?
Often, it will take around 10 to 20 years for an unsubsidised battery to pay itself. However, during that time, you are still generating, storing and utilising environmentally friendly energy that reduces your monthly power bills.
Let’s continue with the example of the household above. The Powerwall 2 has a 15-year warranty. With a projected saving of $1,500 per year, the ROI would pay itself off by the 10th year.
Without a battery, a 5kW solar PV-only system can pay itself after five years with a 22.9% ROI. This is why your choice of solar battery and matching your battery choice to your energy consumption habits is critical. Buying the most cost-effective solar battery can help minimise the payback period, but ultimately, you may prefer to focus on savings via feed-in tariffs rather than storage if this works better for your energy consumption scenario.
It’s important to note that energy usage and generation are inconsistent throughout the year. Your household will have power usage spikes, and depending on your climate, there may be weeks or even months when there is less sunlight for your solar system to harness. As a result, how long it takes for your solar battery to pay for itself can vary greatly depending on your situation.
What are the Cheapest Solar Batteries in Australia?
Here are the most affordable solar batteries in Australia as of 2022:
|Brand and Model
|Enphase AC Battery
|Lithium Ion Phosphate
|SolaX Triple Power 4.5
However, you will note that the storage capacity of these brands are low, and they don’t come with the premium warranties and guarantees of the better-known brands. This means that choosing the cheapest solar battery doesn’t mean you’ll maximise your savings.
What is a Virtual Power Plant?
A virtual power plant (VPP) is a network of connected homes and businesses that pool energy stored in solar batteries to help communities reduce their reliance on grid power and lower their utility bills.
A virtual power plant can deliver peak load power or load-following electricity on short notice. The system has a better reaction to load fluctuations, making power distribution more efficient and flexible. The downside is that a VPP is complex, requiring complicated controls, secure communication, and optimisation.
VPP participants have a small number of solar batteries that they can choose from. In exchange for the limited choices, they enjoy a subsidy for participating in a VPP. The amount of subsidy depends on the VPP.
Finally, in a VPP system, homeowners have a minimum energy storage capacity. This is the amount of battery power that is exclusive to the homeowner. That means the VPP won’t draw this power out from the homeowner for distribution in its network.
How Much Can I Save with a Virtual Power Plant?
By participating in a VPP, you can enjoy savings and subsidies. How much you save depends on the VPP provider. Here’s a table that lists the details of Virtual Power Plant schemes in Australia.
|Savings & Benefits
|High feed-in tariff. No battery subsidy
|Energy Australia “PowerResponse”
|$200 credit for joining and flat $15 credit paid per “grid event” (max 80 hours per year)
|Simply Energy New Battery VPP Offer
|$2,000 upfront and $50 annual credit
|Simply Energy BYO Battery VPP Offer
|$1,500 over 5 years ($300 upfront + $240/year)
|$0.45c per kWh paid for electricity fed from the battery into the grid during VPP events (on top of retailer feed-in tariff)
|AGL ‘Bring Your Own Battery”
|$100 bill credit sign-on bonus. $45 bill credit per quarter.
|$3,500 or 50% of the battery price
|Q CELLS Arcstream 100% Green
|No battery subsidy
|Tesla Energy Plan/ Energy Locals
|$1,000 Powerwall subsidy for new owners. $100 credit for existing owners. Additional ‘grid support credits’ for participating in the VPP
|Origin Virtual Power Plant
|Around $3500 off RRP, plus $20 per month credit for a 5-year term
|Powershop Virtual Power Plant
|Up to $40 per month credit on the bill
|$500 credit for first 20 members
|Plico Energy VPP
|With a weekly payment of $36.50 for 10 years, participants can enjoy a 6.6kW solar system with 7.2kWh of Pylontech storage. Storage can be increased to 14kWh for $44 per week
|Discover Energy VPP
|No battery subsidy – BYO battery
|Customers paid for energy exported during each event.
|Annual allowance of energy (min. 4000kWh) for total household consumption. BYO battery.
|$100 as a sign-up bonus. $24 per month as a monthly bonus
|Reposit “No bill”
|Assured “no bill” for 5 years.
Are Solar Batteries Worth It?
Solar batteries can be a good investment, but it depends on your household energy usage, the model you get and any rebates or incentives you are eligible for. It’s best to speak with a solar specialist to determine if a solar battery is worth it for you.
Some of the main benefits of installing a solar battery are:
- Solar batteries power up the essential appliances and systems in your house in case of power outages.
- Exporting extra power from your battery back to the grid is environmentally friendly as it offsets power generated by fossil fuels. It saves you money as well.
- Using stored battery power at night saves you money.
- Solar battery technology is advancing rapidly. Soon, we will have more efficient batteries.
Without a battery for your solar system, you’ll be paying for power as soon as night falls, which is why these units make a great addition to any home.
When Will Solar Batteries Be Affordable in Australia?
As solar battery technology becomes more advanced and efficient, prices of solar batteries have been going down by around 14% each year for the past few years. Despite the upfront costs, solar batteries are expected to only get more affordable with time.
As the world embraces green and sustainable energy generation, more households will use a solar storage system, including solar batteries, in the next decade. As the competition between solar battery manufacturers increases, prices will decrease.
Here are some related questions regarding solar battery costs.
How Much Does a 6kWh Solar Battery Cost?
On average, a 6kw solar battery costs around $7,500 with GST. That excludes the installation costs and the solar system itself if the latter is yet to be installed. However, the exact cost depends on the brand, model, manufacturer, installer, and other factors.
Can I Install My Own Solar Battery?
No, you cannot and should not install your own solar battery. Attempting to do so is incredibly dangerous. Solar battery installations must be done by a licensed electrician in accordance with Australian Standards.
A solar battery can be one of your best investments, as long as you get the right advice to optimise your investment. A solar professional can help you understand whether battery storage is right for you, and guide you towards the most cost-effective solar battery solution.
This article is published in good faith and for general informational purposes only. JFK Electrical does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness and reliability of this information. Always seek personalised advice on solar energy to ensure any recommendations suit your property and scenario.
John Lyons, the owner of JFK Electrical Solar & Air, started his career in the electrical industry in 1997. With years of experience gained in the industry across multiple continents, he relocated to Australia and decided to specialise in solar and air conditioning. After deciding he wanted to be closer to his family, John began his own local electrical business in Mandurah, using his extensive knowledge and training in the industry. At JFK, John’s number one goal is to provide tailored solutions to his customers. And thanks to his experience and commitment to his customers, JFK Electrical is now one of the most trusted local businesses in Mandurah for solar and electrical services.