The grid electricity industry is in chaos as they try to resist the massive uptake of consumers installing solar power for their homes and businesses. The power plants, grid infrastructure, and power retail companies are on an upward spiral of pricing, trying to maintain profit levels. The higher they push the bill either per unit or through fixed service charges, the more economical they make it for people and businesses to switch to a complete self-consumption solar solution.
Tesla is one of the most known companies with their Tesla Power Wall which is a battery storage bank for your whole home. It’s not just Tesla that offers consumer solutions to storing solar power at capacities enough to power your entire home; other big names include LG, Samsung, ABB, SMA, and Redback.
There will certainly be more big brands getting their foot in the door soon because the demand for solar battery storage solutions is rapidly increasing with battery storage becoming standard with every new solar installation and is one of the most common upgrades to a home's existing solar system.
Battery storage has already been proven popular among homes that already had solar installed because it increases their return on investment now that selling excess power to the grid during the day only pays a small fraction the price you buy it back at night.
A moderately sized battery storage system can pay for itself in energy savings within a couple of years.
If you're considering buying solar now then one of the most important questions to ask yourself is: “Am I buying a solar system for the past or future?” Your panels are going to last a long time, however, how long will it be before you want to invest in a battery as well. If your proposed solar system does not come with a battery system then why not consider adding that in or at least ensure that the inverter is a hybrid inverter that is battery bank ready.
Let me explain, batteries require a management device or charge controller that looks after both the charging and discharging of the batteries.
Standard inverters only convert the DC power from the panels to AC power for use in your house or returning the surplus to the grid. However, if you choose to add battery storage in the next couple of years, then you will have to get a hybrid inverter to replace your standard inverter, maybe even while it's still in warranty.
The choice is to pay a bit more now and only buy it once, or buy a standard inverter and pay again when you add a battery bank.
We have already had customers buy a system in 2015 that have upgraded their system with a battery storage to enhance their solar return on investment. Many of them have had to buy a new inverter.
You will need to do your research on battery storage systems as there is quite a variation of what rate the battery management system will allow you to draw as the load increases. If you buy one with too small a volume of discharge, then you still require the grid to top up your supply.
On hybrid inverters, favourable considerations should be given to those units that can manage several types of battery. We know technology moves so fast that lithium may go out of vogue to newer and more cost effective alternatives.
Hybrid inverters give you much more flexibility to control your power use. Smart configurations of sources give more autonomy of when and how you buy from the grid.
Using the battery bank as a uninterruptable power supply is also a consideration when buying a hybrid inverter. Check to see that it has some off-grid functionality so in a black out your batteries or generator will be able to continue providing power to your home. Not only does this feature offer more independence from the grid but is an valuable feature to businesses and those who work from home.