Report: Rising Electricity Costs Are Driving A Huge Increase In Australian Home Battery Installations

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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.


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    Raises hand for stupid question.
    I understand batteries have a limited life span due to the chemical exchange that takes place back and forth.
    I'm not sure how long they last...but...what happens when these expensive home installations lose efficiency to hold charge/die...the same goes for all the fab new electric cars?
    Are the batteries recycled? Replaced? Become toxic land fill?

      Musk has stated his lithium battery recycling basically involves removing the peripheral control electronics while the lithium is dumped and used in cement manufacture just to get rid of it. There's no interest in recycling this metal as recovery costs are 5x the cost of mining fresh stuff.

    Also raising hand for stupid question....
    With all this talk of an immediate "power crisis" with predicted rolling brown outs across summer, could a substantial nationwide subsidy of private solar be the quickest and cheapest solution?

      A Nationwide subsidy would be great, but wouldn't necessarily target areas that need it most.
      It would be 'unfair' but more economical to target areas with the most need, and subsidise installations in those regions I'd guess.

      I'm amazed that for schools, they actively get in the way of letting them install enough solar/battery to reduce their power bills substantially. With the building unused through the worst of our long summer in school holidays, and in the long summer afternoons during daylight savings, they would be valuable 'stations' for feeding power back into the grid.

        This is actually a really good idea. Why isn't this a thing??

      Sure - we're giving 300 million to a Saudi company to subsidize a new solar plant that'll produce 15% of the power of the coal plant SA just blew up - so basically 6x the price of refurbishing a coal plant to produce 15% of the energy.

      So, to save the world with solar we're getting 2.5% of the return on what we would have had keeping the coal station. No information at this stage how much that power will cost to buy though it's expected to be 20% more. .. but we're saving the planet..

    Telsa will take back the powerwall batteries at the end of their life for recycling.
    The warranty on the Powerwall2 battery is ten years, the expected lifetime is 20+ years, depending on conditions where they are installed and usage patterns.
    As it looks like grid power prices are going to continue to rise, then payback times on the batteries are getting better each year.

      Batteries from electric cars that have reached end of life can power a home too.

    Thinking about getting the Tesla Powerwall 2 and Solar system. The cost is high, and crazy outlay at the beginning, but in 15 years I'll see never have a power bill and I'll continue to be putting money aside. I hope.

      15 years? The way energy policy is going under the LNP it will be more like 5 years.

    There are only three people buying these

    1. People who can't do economic calculations correctly. (The payback period at best is 14 years, that is 4 years beyond the Telsa 2 powerwall and some 9-11 years beyond most other battery warranties)

    2. People who don't have access to AC Mains power (rural properties) and they are becoming more aware of off-grid storage capabilities.

    3. People who love to spend money on batteries and materials to reduce their coal powered electricity usage.

    The people who are truly most concerned with electricity costs can't afford battery storage systems, let alone solar panels.

      add to that wealthy folk who like getting subsidies despite it being subsidized by the less fortunate who cannot afford the systems and who's power prices continue to rise to pay the subsidies. The only 'tipping point' in the power market will be when electricity costs rise so high that the less fortunate can no longer afford electricity and the baseload providers collapse, leaving the solar owners as the only ones with power - and only when the sun shines.

      I don't get how people can think they can run a bar heater to stay warm in winter purely from the little energy the sun provides at such times.. if there's too little falling to keep you warm, no matter how you're converting it it's not enough to do the job.

    Deeply ironic that Tony Abbott is responsible for driving this clean energy revolution. His failed energy policies have doubled prices in 4 years and are driving this change.

    Last edited 20/09/17 8:01 pm

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