What is a Battery Ready Solar Power System?
As the Australian solar market continues to grow, innovative solar PV technology aimed at improving efficiency and system longevity is becoming more affordable. In particular, battery energy storage has become financially viable for solar power system owners. Solar with the addition of energy storage assists in reducing energy loads through the mains grid, creates a second source of power for your home and ultimately saves money.
The cost of purchasing and installing solar batteries has decreased rapidly in the past few years and is projected to halve in price within the next decade, there is a new spotlight on solar systems that are 'battery ready', ensuring new customers an improved solar experience. However, those who already own a solar system need to be sure that their system is compatible for a storage upgrade. Before you consider purchasing or upgrading to solar battery storage there are several terms that should be understood.
'Plug and Play' Battery Systems
Many of the newer solar energy storage systems are marketed as being 'Plug and Play'. Although this sounds convenient keep in mind that the appropriate equipment such as a compatible solar inverter will be necessary in order to take advantage of this new technology.
Solar Inverters and Battery Storage
Solar inverters are an essential part of a solar power system. Inverters are responsible for converting the direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC), allowing the energy gathered by the solar panels to become usable in the home. However, battery energy storage systems require the solar inverter to do an extra job of sending direct current into the battery allowing it to charge. Unfortunately most Australian solar inverters cannot achieve this task and are not able to be upgraded. The solution is to either replace it with a new inverter capable of charging or run both the new and old inverters simultaneously.
Battery 'Upgradeable' Systems
If it's not clear whether your system can be upgraded, contact an accredited solar installer that can give you instructions on how to correctly upgrade your system and provide you with a list of components required to replace or run alongside your current system.
Battery 'Ready' Solar Panel Systems
A battery ready solar system will have two main components already installed: 1. A compatible inverter and 2. A power meter.
A power meter is a device that optimises solar energy use, can detect faults, perform diagnostics and most importantly collects information on power usage patterns throughout the system. This information is stored on a secured server then transferred via a home network that can later be easily accessed online and displayed in an easy to understand way. The power meter works well with battery storage and can assist in determining if a battery system is a wise purchase for your household.
Compatibility Isn't Just About Components
The components above are indeed important, however there is no point if they are not installed correctly. Make sure to hire a fully accredited installer to do the job. System components and labour are not cheap, so if the job is done incorrectly it will be an expensive fix. Unfortunately there are only a handful of installers in Australia who have had the chance to gain expertise in this field so there may be a long waiting list.
Buy Solar Now - Or Hold Off?
Installing a solar power system is now cheaper than its ever been in the past. Yes, solar prices will continue to drop even more in the coming years and it may seem like a good idea to hold off until the price is right, but the truth is you could be saving thousands of dollars on electricity bills in the long run if you start now.
Considering Battery Storage?
Whether you are already a solar power system owner or are considering making the energy storage upgrade its important to get the best advice and price for a battery storage system. And remember, always use a Clean Energy Council accredited solar or energy storage installer.