Battery Energy Storage FAQ

Battery Energy Storage FAQ

Listed below are some common questions about the installation of home and commercial battery energy storage systems.

What does a battery energy storage system look like?

A battery energy storage system for a residential home is about the same size as a small fridge, for commercial applications they can be as large as a shipping container at about 20 feet long.

How does a battery energy storage work?

Power from any source can be stored in the battery to be used at a convenient time, for example, electricity from solar panels can be stored in the battery and consumed during the night when there is no sun for the solar panels to work.

What are the benefits of battery energy storage?

An increasing number of solar power systems being installed around Australia is creating an opportunity for the addition of battery storage. This creates some possible benefits that come from storing energy such as:

  • The ability to use 100% of the solar power generated from solar panels.
  • The ability to use stored electricity during peak grid supply times saving on costs.
  • Providing a more reliable power supply, independent of the grid.

Is battery energy storage safe?

Battery storage is safe if used correctly and maintained. There are some risks, however, but these are no more serious than is with any electrical device.

Safety aspects of battery energy storage to consider are:

  • General hazards associated with electrical wiring.
  • Chemical, fire or explosion hazards.
  • Possible escape of non-flammable gases from the charging or discharging of lithium batteries.
  • The production of chemical leakages.

What types of battery energy 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 flow batteries.

Each situation is different depending on how much energy you want to store and how you want to use it, consult with an accredited battery installer for the right advice for your needs.

Can I go off grid with batteries?

Installing a battery energy storage system in your home does not necessarily mean you can disconnect from the grid. Going off grid is not usually practical for the average consumer due to:

  • Large storage capacity is required to last for days on end during winter or in sustained times of insufficient sun for the solar panels.
  • Selling power back to the grid is not possible, although these days with the pathetic feed-in tariff rates on offer why would anyone bother.
  • Off-grid systems are more expensive to install.

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.

An excellent place to get in contact with your local CEC accredited battery installer is through the SolarQuotes.com.au website.

Who are Clean Energy Council accredited designers and installers?

Currently, there are two types of accreditations for the installation of battery energy storage systems. Electricians can have a grid connect installation accreditation with battery endorsement or a grid-connect installation accreditation with stand-alone installation accreditation.

There is also an accreditation for the design of battery energy storage systems.

Accredited Designer – an electrician who is certified by the Clean Energy Council to design grid-connected battery energy storage systems or stand-alone battery energy 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?

Each home is different with differing numbers of people living in the house and different energy requirements. Just as the kW capacity of the solar power system needs to be calculated so does the amount of energy storage capacity. 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, your home's 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 (best forget about this)
  • Reasons for installing the system, i.e. to supplement your energy supply or to allow you to become entirely self-sufficient.