As more of us turn to renewable energy to support our needs, the idea that solar storage is out of reach for everyday Australians is becoming a myth.
Solar and battery storage costs are decreasing as new technology becomes available, making it more accessible for everyday households. However the initial outlay for a system can still make it seem like an extravagant luxury, rather than the investment for the future it really is.
This leaves a lot of people asking how long it will be until the money saved from battery storage covers the initial cost. While it’s an important question to answer, there are a number of factors to consider along the way. Whether you choose to install a whole new system, add on to an existing solution, or opt to stick just to solar panels for now, the payback and long term impact will change.
How long does it take to pay back battery storage with new solar panels?
A well-designed battery storage system that is combined with solar panels typically takes around 6 to 12 years to payback. Of course, this does still depend on things like your overall energy usage, the times of the day you use energy, and the system you choose. A good provider should be able to give you a more accurate timeframe when they know more about your situation and energy habits.
And remember if something looks too good to be true, it often is. If you find someone promising a payback significantly shorter than 5 or 6 years, be wary about what they really know about how the system will work, the hidden costs they might sting you with later, or what the quality of their work will be like.
What if I add battery storage to my existing solar panels?
If you already have solar panels and just want to add a battery, then the payback period is likely to increase. This is because a lot of the work to deliver a nice short payback is actually done by the solar panels, rather than the battery. The maths behind this can be confusing, but the simplest way to think about it is the more new solar panels you add, the shorter and better the payback on your new battery will be.
Read more about adding battery storage to your existing solar panels on our blog, “Upgrading your solar energy system to work with battery storage”.
What’s the payback if I only install solar panels?
A solar energy system that’s able to comfortably manage your daytime needs will typically take 3 to 5 years to payback. But if you’re considering solar panels now, think about planning ahead and ensuring your system is actually big enough to also support a battery down the track. It could save you in the long run.
Do this by asking your solar provider to make sure your new solar system is sized to cope with your 24-hour energy needs, instead of just your daytime needs. Before you add a battery, you’ll be generating more daytime energy than you need and in truth will send a reasonable amount of energy back to the grid. The trade off is that when you’re ready to add a battery, your solar panel work is already done. You’ll have the ability to install a battery that can cope with your daytime and night-time needs, without having to go through the extra time and cost of also adding more panels.
Payback isn’t the only factor you should consider
Just like any major investment, the payback period is just one of the factors that should influence your decision. Battery storage has a range of other benefits you can access immediately which many people consider much more important, like:
- Running more of your appliances off your own energy
- Increasing your energy use without significantly increasing your costs
- Being greener and cleaner in your household’s energy use
- Reducing the impact of future electricity price increases on your household running costs; and
- Depending on your system, the ability to still have power in a blackout
By speaking to the team at ZEN Energy, you’ll get to tell us what’s most important to you. Only then will we get into the detail of the system that would suit you best and what it will do. It’s by listening and asking questions that we can make sure you get a system that does what you want it to, rather than what we think you want it to.
Our battery storage solutions are tailored to your household’s needs and give you the best chance of achieving payback efficiently.