Should I get a solar battery as part of my home solar? A simple guide.

Whether solar batteries are worth getting is a hotly debated topic, with a lot of strong opinions. While it might seem complicated, making the decision can be simple if you are clear about why you want to get solar.

If you are getting solar for environmental reasons

From an environmental perspective getting a battery will typically double the reduction in your carbon footprint. So if you are getting solar to reduce your environmental impact it makes sense to get a battery as part of the system.

If you are getting solar to save money on energy bills

If you are getting solar to reduce your energy bills then getting a battery will reduce the amount you pay to the electricity company every month (and in the best case can even mean you don’t receive electricity bills anymore). However, batteries are expensive and so it’s possible that it may not pay itself off before it needs to be replaced, although that depends on your specific circumstances and the type of battery.

It depends when you use energy

A typical household solar system without a battery provides power during the day, but not at night or when it is cloudy. That means it will only ever cover a portion of your power consumption (around 30%-50%), and you will still get regular energy bills from your electricity provider. To reduce your energy bills further you would need to time most of your activities such as laundry, dishwasher, showers, and electric vehicle charging during the day.

If you install a solar battery then it is possible to save excess energy when it’s sunny and use that energy at night and when it’s cloudy. With a battery your solar system will be able to cover most of your energy needs (80%, 90% or even up to 100%). This means your electricity provider will only send you bills occasionally, or they will be very small.

Will it pay itself off?

Batteries are quite expensive, so the amount you save in energy bills will typically only pay off the battery over 10+ years. Since most batteries are only forecast to last around 10 years this means there might be a case where the battery hasn’t paid for itself before it needs to be replaced. However, it is also possible that with rising electricity prices and improvements in battery technology that it may pay itself off before it needs to be replaced.

An analysis of consumer reviews by Choice found that

“most households with storage batteries are happy with them so far, especially with the major brands.”

Choice

If you are thinking of getting a battery we recommend you use our instant solar cost estimate to see prices of solar systems with and without batteries, and discuss the pros and cons of a battery for your house when you book your free inspection.