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Are batteries worth it?

The Geni.Energy shopfront in the Main Street of Narrabri, Northwest NSW opened its doors to the public, about a month ago.

A large portion of the people who pass our “Welcome to Your Renewable Future” sign and come into our showroom floor start the conversation with “are batteries worth it for me?”.

There is no doubt that battery prices have dropped considerably over the last few years. Many people tell us that they looked at it five years ago and it wasn't worth it, but now it is.

First of all, there are a few benefits that batteries bring to your home or business system that are not directly reflected in your savings calculation. Buying a solar + battery system through Geni.Energy means you also get an Energy Management System (EMS). The EMS is like the brain of the system and it can help you:

  • Keep the lights on when there is a blackout

  • Shift parts of your load to when your solar is generating free electricity for you

  • Put excess solar generation into your battery, instead of facing limits from the grid about how much electricity you can feed in

  • Connect to our VPP (once established) to sell power to others

  • Control what electrical devices are drawing energy and when

But most importantly, it can save you money.

You may know, solar power can only be generated during the day. Typically when you produce excess (to your immediate needs) solar during the day you export it to the grid and receive a feed-in-tariff payment from the retailer. Then at night, your immediate needs cannot be met by solar so you must purchase from the retailer, usually at around three times the price of your feed-in-tariff.

So, instead of exporting excess energy during the day, you can recharge your battery. At night when you need the power, instead of buying from the grid, you take it out of your battery.

Knowing if batteries are worth it for you depends on your specific situation. So we encourage you to contact us to book an Energy Assessment where we can analyse your specific situation and quote on a system ideally suited for your home or business.

Parameters for you to consider:

- what is your average daily usage?

- when is your usage - what split do you have between day time and night time use?

- do you have appliances drawing "off-peak" power that can be moved to day time use?

- how much is your bill now?

The easiest way to demonstrate if batteries are worth it, is to use three case examples of different usage levels, identifying the ideal solar + battery systems for each and the likely payback period. In my book, if the payback period is shorter than the expected life span of the system, then it is worth it.

The solar panels generally have a 25 year warranty and our Enopte battery has a 10 year warranty.

Please note the large range of assumptions used in these scenarios, as listed below.

Here are three different levels of home usage - small, medium and large. Each one has a different amount of average daily usage from 20kWh/day to 40kWh/day. Therefore they require different sized systems of solar from 5kW through to 8kW of panels. They also require different sized batteries from 7.2kWh through to 16.8kWh of storage to meet their needs.

Maybe you can see roughly where your home or business might fit in?

For each of these situations, we can identify what their likely level of import from the grid, export to the grid, annual savings and therefore payback period is likely to be, once the system identified above is installed. Each of these systems is designed to have the minimum amount possible still needing to be purchased from the grid and the minimum amount possible needing to be exported back to the grid.

Different people may prefer different outcomes, so again, this is just a rough guide and we encourage you to contact us for your exact situation.

Therefore all three of these types of usage would be worth it. With a payback period of between 6 years and 8 years, all are well below the ten year warranty period. This is saying that if you did not have to pay for your system up-front and you continued to pay the same electricity bill as you currently pay, after 6-8 years, you would have completely paid off your system. For the next 2-4 years, it is free.

Plus the system is modular, so you can start with a smaller system and add new 2.4kWh battery modules as your budget allows. Our very base system of solar + battery and EMS starts at $12,010 (ex gst).

Also, please note that the system could well last beyond its warranty date too. And if one of your battery canisters fail, you can replace it simply and cheaply.

To make these cost indicators, we have used a range of assumptions as outlined here:

  • No current solar in place

  • Energy price of 25c/kWh, with a 7% energy inflation rate

  • Export FIT of 12c/kWh

  • Daily connection fee $1.55

  • Daytime energy component 50%

  • EMS savings 10%

And to make these cost indicators, the following caveats are given:

1. Prices and systems can vary greatly depending on individual systems, this is purely an indicative guide. Talk to us for an actual quote.

2. These price indicators are completely inclusive of installation costs, inverter costs, Energy Management System costs and STC rebates.

3. These price indicators do not take into account any meter box upgrades needed, 3 phase systems, unusual roof types, special requests, ground mounted systems, trenching required etc.

4. These price indicators assume batches of 5 or 10 are arranged at one time.

5. These price indicators are exclusive of GST.

6. Solar panels have a 25 year warranty and battery has a 10 year warranty.

We look forward to doing an Energy Assessment for you. Either call in to 129 Maitland St Narrabri, or give us a call. Geni.Energy is a community based initiative with a not-for-profit structure. Our aim is simply to have more homes and businesses using renewables in the Northwest, transitioning away from fossil fuels and creating new opportunities.

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