6,500 home battery systems were installed across Australia in 2016. In the first half of 2017 alone that number has jumped to 7,000 – with analysts predicting at least 20,000 battery installations by the end of the year.
The cost of battery system installations has dropped – mainly due to increased competition among wholesalers – but only by five per cent. So what is causing the sudden and significant uptake? The rising cost of electricity, apparently.
The SunWiz 2017 Mid-Year Battery Report says the payback time for customers buying a solar-storage system is now considerably quicker in most parts of the country, and points to “major power price hikes” as the main reason.
SunWiz founder and report author Warwick Johnston said anyone in Australia is now able to pay back the cost of a small battery (five kilowatt hours) within a decade, while those living in Adelaide and Brisbane enjoy the best bang for buck with payback time as low as six years.
“We are already seeing extraordinary growth in the Australian battery market despite little change in the price point, with a doubling of the market already appearing locked in this year on top of a 13-fold increase in 2016,” Johnston said.
Johnston said said solar and battery installers are being inundated with inquiries, but many people are delaying purchase until the price point drops.
“Once we hit a tipping point in payback time, the sales of household batteries will skyrocket – becoming as common as the backyard swimming pool is today in the years ahead,” Johnston predicts.
The report also showed New South Wales as the number one battery hotspot in the country – the state is home to 21 per cent of all installations so far this year. Queensland was a close second with 18 per cent, followed by Victoria (12 per cent). The majority of household batteries are being sold in combination with a rooftop solar system, rather than to customers who already have solar at home.
Industrial-sized storage projects are growing as well, with 156 megawatt hours of storage slated for this year – dwarfing the 11MWh installed in 2016.