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What Is The Payback On Solar Battery Storage


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 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 a worthwhile investment for the future.

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 it we need to consider a number of different factors. Whether you choose to install an entirely new solar system, add battery storage on to an existing solar system, or if you opt to install just 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 solar battery storage system that is combined with a new solar system typically takes around 6 to 12 years to pay back, before the effect of any rebates or subsidies. Of course, this does depend on things like your overall energy usage, the times of the day you use energy, and the size of the solar system you install. A good solar provider should be able to give you an accurate estimate of your payback period when they know more about your situation and energy habits.

If something looks too good to be true, it often is. If a solar provider is promising a payback significantly shorter than 5 or 6 years, be wary. How much do they really know about how the system will work with your energy needs? Could there be hidden costs they might sting you with later, or what will be the quality of their work?

What if I add battery storage to my existing solar panels?

If you already have solar panels and just want to add solar battery storage, then the payback period is likely to be more than 6 – 12 years. 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 which is able to comfortably manage your daytime needs will typically take 3 to 5 years to payback.

If you’re considering installing solar panels now, it’s wise to plan ahead and ensure your system is actually big enough to also support a battery down the track. It could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

To do this, ask 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 you will be sending a reasonable amount of energy back to the grid.

When you’re ready to add a battery, your solar panel work will already be done! You’ll have the ability to install a solar battery system 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 variables that should influence your decision. Battery storage has a range of other benefits you can access immediately, including:

  • running more of your appliances off your own energy, day and night;
  • 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 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 be able to design the solar battery storage system that will suit your household best. We’ll ask all the right questions and listen to your wants and needs, to ensure you get a system that achieves your goals.

Our solar battery storage systems are tailored to your unique needs, giving you the best chance of achieving payback efficiently.

Learn more about battery storage solutions
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