12 Things you should know before investing in a Solar Battery System!

Power prices have recently increased by 10%… again! Once again consumers are being hit by increasing electricity prices driving people to look for a better alternative to grid power. Solar battery systems are now commonplace with system costs now less than buying grid power over the life of the batteries. Before you invest, here is our list of top must know questions!Queensland power prices

  1. Can I upgrade my existing system?

Yes. You can use your existing solar panels but you will need a new battery inverter, as well as the batteries of course. There are other options like just adding a small battery inverter for emergency backup and keeping your inverter for daytime use, talk to us about your needs.

Depending on the age of your panels, it might actually be better to take advantage of the upfront rebates still available and get the latest larger sized panels. 255W and 260W are common now and if you have 180W or 190W panels you will get a big increase in power!

  1. Can I add batteries later?

Yes. Providing you buy an inverter which is battery or hybrid ready, you can install batteries later or even start small and increase over time, say when you get a nice tax return for example.

Some inverters will have the battery charger built in, this is commonly called the battery management unit (BMU), but this can also be added on later so check what you are being quoted to know whether this will be required at a later date.

Not all inverters can be upgraded but will need to be replaced so check what you are buying is future proofed.

  1. How much will it save me?

The beauty about having batteries is that every solar kWh you generate is worth the cost of power to you, right now, that’s 27c/kWh. That means that a 6kW solar system with the correctly sized battery bank can save you around $730/Qtr… today!

As the price of power goes up so do your savings! Since 2009 in Queensland the cost of power has increased by between 10-15% per year. Your $730 today is worth $1,175/Qtr in 5 years-time at 10%


  1. Will I get a Feed in Tariff?

No. Battery systems are not eligible for any feed-in tariff. You don’t want their 6.5c anyway, you are much better off as you are getting 27c! increasing at ~10% PA

  1. I only got approved for a 2kW system, what can I do?

Don’t worry! Some inverters can limit their exporting ability which means that the approval means nothing. As long as your system is set so that it won’t export back to the grid you can install up to 5kW per phase for single and 2 phase properties and up to 30kW for 3 phase, so you can use your cheap solar power instead of buying expensive grid power.

  1. How long do solar batteries last?

The new Lithium solar batteries have an amazing life expectancy of 11 – 16 years depending on how hard you use them.

  1. What warranty will I get on my batteries?

The manufacturer offers a 5-year warranty on our Lithium batteries.

  1. What size system do I need?

You need to work out how much power you use on a daily basis. To do this, first consult your power bill, on the front you will find a little graph and next to it will say how many kWh/day you use.

Next, you need to work out how much power you use during the day and at night. There is a spreadsheet you can use for this on our website. Download it from https://renewableenergydevices.com.au/downloads/meter-readings.xlsx Once you have your consumption we can help you choose the right size system for your needs.Energy use diagram - all 4_2_15(1)

  1. What is the payback time?

There are many factors to consider when calculating the payback of a system but what is important to know is how much you will pay for your power if you don’t get solar. This is the only true way to put it in perspective.

If you are an average family with around about a $700 power bill then you will probably spend about $44,822 on power from Ergon over the next ten years, but of course power could go up more than expected, we simply have no control over it.

However, if you installed a 6kW battery system with a nice big bank of batteries, you have effectively set your own rate of power, it’s fixed. Even better than that but you will actually have an extra $15,000 in your pocket! And after 15 years you have put $35,000 in your pocket! Good Eh!

  1. What other costs are there?

None. Once you have your Solar batteries installed you can use your own power for free, we do recommend that you stay connected to the grid so you can charge your batteries in long periods of rainy weather so you may still have some residual bill from them.

  1. Do I need to disconnect from Ergon?

No. In-fact we recommend that you keep Ergon connected just in case. We live in the tropics and there can be times when the weather is poor solar weather.

Remember, you can also choose not to use as much power when it is cloudy if you want to keep from getting a bill. You will still make about 30% production on an overcast day.

  1. What happens when the power goes out?

You still have power! In a grid down situation, your loads are still being supplied by your solar panels and batteries, unlike a normal grid-tied system which shuts down. What happens if you are on holidays and the power goes off? Have you ever come home to a thawed and refrozen freezer where the food is all ruined? Not with a Solar Battery System.

Does taking advantage of cheap Solar Power at night make sense for your family? Go ahead and give us a call and we can tailor a solution that fits your family’s needs.

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I am a fourth-generation North Queenslander, Managing Director of Renewable Energy Devices and founder of a Beyond Organic Farm near Dimbulah. I spent many years in the field of Optics with varied roles from Service, Technical, Sales and Training before finding a passion for Renewable Energy and Solar. In recent years my focus has become refined to embrace Sustainability, Self Sufficiency and Permaculture as a natural crossover from Renewable Energy which also affords me the opportunity to teach others.