Here are some frequently asked questions regarding installing home and commercial battery storage systems.
What does a battery storage system look like?
A residential home battery storage system is approximately the size of a small fridge, while for commercial applications, it can be as large as a shipping container, about 20 feet long.
How does battery storage work?
A battery storage system allows power storage from any source for use at a more convenient time. For instance, electricity generated from solar panels can be stored in the battery and utilised at night when there is no sunlight for the solar panels to operate.
What are the benefits of battery storage?
The increasing installation of solar power systems across Australia has created an opportunity for adding battery storage, which offers several benefits:
- The ability to use 100% of the solar power generated from solar panels.
- The ability to use stored electricity during peak grid supply times, resulting in cost savings.
- Providing a more reliable power supply independent of the grid.
Is battery storage safe?
Battery energy storage is generally safe when used correctly and maintained. However, it is essential to consider certain safety aspects, including:
- General hazards associated with electrical wiring.
- Chemical, fire, or explosion hazards.
- Rare instances of thermal runaway in lithium-ion batteries, leading to overheating or, in extremely rare cases, fire or explosion. These occurrences are infrequent and can be prevented using high-quality batteries, proper charging equipment, and following recommended safety guidelines.
- The production of chemical leakages, although rare, can occur if batteries are damaged or improperly handled.
What types of battery storage systems are available, and which is the best?
The most common types of batteries used in energy storage systems are lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries. Less common types include nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride, and Zinc–Bromine flow batteries.
Choosing the best battery storage system depends on your specific requirements, such as how much energy you want to store and how you plan to use it. It is recommended to consult with an accredited battery installer to get tailored advice for your needs.
Can I go off-grid with batteries?
While installing a battery storage system in your home can increase energy independence, it does not necessarily mean you can disconnect from the grid. Going off-grid is usually not practical for the average consumer due to:
- The need for large storage capacity to last for days during winter or extended periods of insufficient sunlight for the solar panels.
- The inability to sell power back to the grid, especially considering the low feed-in tariff rates offered these days.
- The higher installation cost of off-grid systems.
Who can install my energy storage system?
For home and small-scale commercial installations below 200kWh capacity, it is recommended to use a Clean Energy Council accredited installer.
If you're looking to get in contact with a local CEC accredited battery installer, you can find one through the SolarQuotes.com.au website.
Who are Clean Energy Council accredited designers and installers?
Currently, there are two types of accreditations for installing battery storage systems. Electricians can have a grid connect installation accreditation with battery endorsement or a grid-connect installation accreditation with a stand-alone installation endorsement.
There is also accreditation for the design of battery storage systems.
Accredited Designer – an electrician who is certified by the Clean Energy Council to design grid-connected battery storage systems or stand-alone battery storage systems (or both) and holds all relevant qualifications.
Accredited Installer – an electrician who is accredited by the Clean Energy Council to install a grid-connected battery storage system or stand-alone battery storage system (or both) and holds all relevant qualifications.
How much energy storage capacity do I need?
The energy storage capacity required for each home varies depending on the number of people living in the house, energy requirements, solar panel capacity, home location, and local weather conditions. Most home energy storage systems range from 3kWh to 12kWh in size.
The kWh size of your storage system will be influenced by:
- System installation budget.
- Home location, orientation, and type.
- The average household energy consumption.
- The time of day when household energy consumption occurs.
- The size and output of your solar panel installation.
- Local weather conditions.
- Feed-in tariffs (which are generally not very favourable).
- Reasons for installing the system, i.e., to supplement your energy supply or to allow you to become entirely self-sufficient.