Getting solar vs getting solar and a battery: What you need to know

If you’re looking at getting solar panels in 2021, chances are you’re hearing a lot about batteries as well.

Why? In many cases, batteries allow you to get more out of your solar investment.

Of course, it’s important to weigh these extra benefits up against the extra cost associated with getting a battery. So here are the top three things you need to consider when deciding whether to get a battery with your solar panels.

1. When do you use electricity?

The key to getting the most out of your solar investment is maximising the amount ofsolar power you use in your home so you can buy less electricity from your power company.

Unless you’re home during the day and most of your electricity usage happens while the sun is up, a battery is key to doing this.

This is because if you don’t have a battery, any solar power you’re not using when it’s generated will be exported back to the grid and you’ll be paid less for that exported electricity than you will have to pay to buy power back in the evening.

So think about when you use electricity. If it’s not during the day, a battery might be for you.

2. Is blackout protection important to you?

One of the great things about generating your own energy is that you’re less reliant on the electricity grid. As we touched on above though, without a battery you can only use your own electricity when it’s being generated. The rest of the time, you’re still relying on grid power.

As such, a battery gives you much greater independence from the electricity grid. So much so that you could even power your home when a blackout hits.

With a battery that comes with blackout protection (not all do, so make sure you check), you can power your home using your stored solar power during an outage. So you could be the one house on the street with the lights on!

3. Will you consider adding a battery in the future?

If you’re unsure whether you need a battery, you could start by getting solar panels now and adding a battery later on down the track. You can even ask your installer about getting a  battery-ready inverter to make the installation process quicker and easier when you decide to add one.

But cost is a big factor influencing most people’s decision, so it’s worth knowing that adding a battery at the same time as solar panels is the most cost effective time to do so. This is because by installing your panels and battery at the same time, you’ll cut out extra installation costs and combine the two components’ payback into one, shorter payback period.

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Ashley Briggs