Are solar batteries worth it? Here’s what you should know

Has an online blog or salesperson advised you that solar batteries ‘can’t make economic sense’? These people often have their own interests at heart, so before you settle for their overpriced solar panel system – read on.

In today’s world, solar batteries are far from being accessible only to the rich. And yet this is the story that plenty of influencers, solar companies, and industry commentators choose to tell.

That it doesn’t make financial sense to buy a solar battery for your home.
That it can’t be a good deal for anybody.
That we have a long way to go before solar batteries can be cost-effective – so you should install your solar panels, now but ‘wait till batteries drop in price’.

It’s odd, isn’t it? Why would someone selling solar tell you to avoid batteries?

First, because most companies only sell overpriced batteries, and overpriced batteries are rarely good for anyone.

And second, it’s a way for them to build trust with you. After all, if they tell you not to buy the most expensive thing they sell, then you’ll believe them when they say things like, “I’d make more money if I sold you a solar battery as well”, and “anyone pushing batteries isn’t looking out for your best interests”.

Then they’ll try and get you to buy their overpriced panels-only system. But with feed-in tariffs falling and rules shifting to make battery owners more profitable, that’s not the best solution – or the best value – for many homeowners.

Here’s the thing: Times have changed. Innovation and industry have adapted. And passionate players in the solar industry have worked hard to make solar batteries more accessible and cost-effective than ever before.

With flexible payment options, paired with Virtual Power Plant technology that allows you to earn money through your battery from Day One, a solar panel and battery package CAN make financial sense for many Australian families.

At ShineHub, we’re perfectly upfront about the fact that a solar battery may not be the best option for everyone’s circumstances. If our engineers don’t believe you’ll benefit from a battery system based on your energy needs and solar power potential, that’s what they’ll tell you.

If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of solar battery storage, here’s what you should know.

High-quality and cost-effective solar batteries DO exist

A few years back, emerging solar battery technology was out of reach for many everyday families. But the price of batteries has dropped significantly in recent times, new products have launched to market, and the rise of the Virtual Power Plant means you can actually earn money through your home solar battery, so it can pay itself off faster – a part of the equation that solar salespeople conveniently leave out! (Probably because they don’t have a VPP to offer, or don’t understand how it works.)

Sure, some of the more cost-effective solar battery options may not carry the premium label, but they often feature better specs, higher efficiency ratings, and improved overall product quality – just without the hefty price tag.

Those that use Lithium Phosphate chemistry (designed for powering homes) have an 80% performance warranty, whereas some of the more commonly known battery brands are using a different chemistry that only comes with a 60–70% warranty. While these batteries are smaller and easier to hang on a wall like an art piece, they are essentially ‘car batteries adapted for homes’ and do not perform as well, last as long, or have as good a warranty.

For example, take one of the most popular Lithium Phosphate battery providers on the market today: AlphaESS. They don’t price gauge like the premium brands do. They just work reliably!

AlphaESS is one of the world’s most highly regarded providers of energy storage solutions. It’s got an impressive global presence, having distributed over 60,000 systems in more than 60 countries. And the company has even been named a Top Brand by German-based EUPD Research.

This battery provider truly lives up to its accolades, impressing our customers time and again.

The Alpha ESS battery range features:

  • Long-lasting Lithium Phosphate chemistry with an 80%, 10-year warranty. (Much more substantial than a ‘car battery’ with a 60–70% warranty.)
  • A battery design life of around 15 years, due to its 8,000 cycle rating.
  • Everything you need to hook it up to an existing solar panel system.
  • The ability to install it in a garage or outdoors.
  • Compatibility with the ShineHub community Virtual Power Plant

We could geek out about battery specs all day long, but essentially you just need to know that you don’t require a six-figure income to enjoy the benefits of a complete solar system.

Feed-in tariffs don’t help much these days

Feed-in tariffs have always been a major drawcard for investing in solar panels. This is the electricity bill offset you get when your energy provider ‘buys back’ excess power generated from your solar panels, feeding it back into the grid.

This financial incentive is what the blogs and solar salespeople will probably talk up to nudge you over the line on buying their solar panels. But the fact is, feed-in tariffs have declined extensively in recent times. You’re only looking at getting around $0.06 per kWh.

Another consideration is that when the grid is over-supplied – which is becoming more common as more Australian homes adopt solar power – the government may be able to shut off your solar panels. And if that happens, homeowners without solar batteries (panels only) aren’t getting feed-in tariffs at all. You’re back to using power from the grid, and being at the mercy of energy company prices.

Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) are changing the game

Imagine if you could generate clean energy, use what you need, then store excess until the grid needs it, and sell it back at a premium. What if your solar power could not only save on your electricity bills, but earn you passive income?

This is exactly what a Virtual Power Plant, or VPP, can do – and it’s a part of the solar battery equation that some voices in the industry conveniently leave out.

A Virtual Power Plant is a collection of home solar batteries that provide on-demand battery power to support the electricity grid. When your community grid needs more power, it draws it from home batteries rather than burning more fossil fuels. AND, you get paid for that power at a premium ($0.45 per kWh).

Just note: not all VPPs are created equal. We can only speak for the ShineHub VPP. It’s been designed to make solar batteries and panels pay off faster, while contributing more renewable energy to the grid, and without locking you into a specific energy provider.

ShineHub’s Community VPP can make a solar battery ‘worth it’ from Day One

  • Get $2,000 off your battery purchase when you sign up.
  • Start earning a passive income immediately. Any time power is drawn from your battery, you get a premium payment of $0.45 per kWh. (Feed-in tariffs are more like $0.06 per kWh, for reference.)
  • See your earnings in real time on the ShineHub VPP app.
  • Earn VPP credits to significantly reduce your battery payback period.
  • Choose to stay with your existing electricity retailer, or change to a new one. (It’s retailer independent.)
  • Cancel whenever you want.
  • Help keep the grid stable and prevent blackouts in your community.
  • Help make a bigger proportion of the energy provided by the grid renewable power.

If you ask us, VPPs are the key to making energy more affordable for Australians. Plus, they offer a powerful solution in helping our economy steer away from its reliance on oil and gas for energy.

Getting a solar battery is easier than ever

Solar companies that want to sell you on their overpriced panels may try to convince you that accessing batteries is complicated, but that’s not the case. ShineHub offers three handy payment options, so you can pay for your solar package in the way that best suits you.

Buy now, pay laterPowow PPAPay outright
Pay outright
Start saving from day one
Plans last up to 5 years
Buy out your system any time
No hidden fees
$0 upfront, $0 interest
No upfront cost
Fixed monthly payment
Maintenance and upkeep included
100% system performance guarantee
Panel or panel + battery systems only
Fair buy out at any time
No hidden fees
Own your system from day one
Future proof and add value to your home
25-year solar panel warranty
10-year battery warranty

These costs include installation as well as ongoing maintenance and care through our comprehensive Solar Aftercare program. And keep in mind, our team of solar and home energy experts are always here to make sure you’re getting the most from your system.

A recap: Why some people give solar batteries a bad rap

  • If you’ve heard that getting a solar battery ‘isn’t worth it for anyone’, know that this information is outdated.
  • People that tell you this do so out of self-interest – they’re trying to trick you into trusting them and buying their overpriced panel system.
  • In reality, batteries have come down in price significantly, VPP earnings have increased, and solar feed-in credits have fallen. These factors make batteries financially beneficial for many homeowners.

Don’t overlook the benefits of solar batteries, including:

  • The ability to earn money through a VPP – Many ShineHub VPP users go beyond just saving on their energy, and actually earn money from their solar battery. On average, you’re looking at making $200 per year. Not too shabby!
  • Blackout prevention – Some solar batteries can provide your household with power during a blackout. And when the grid needs more power, it can draw it from your home battery, helping to keep your neighbour’s lights on without clogging up the main electricity lines. (Look at you helping the neighbourhood out!)
  • Greater self-sufficiency – There’s something nice about the thought of creating your own clean energy, right? With solar batteries, you can run a self-sufficient household, with less reliance on energy companies.
  • Lower environmental impact – We crunched the numbers on this, and can confirm that solar batteries are more environmentally friendly than using grid power. That’s something to feel good about.

These benefits, added up, could certainly make a solar battery ‘worth it’ for your family right now.

If you’re still not sure, have a read through some of our other solar power resources and articles on the blog. Or book a call with one of our solar experts, and we can answer all of your burning questions.

Disclaimer: VPP, BNPL or Powow PPA products are for approved customers only. Contact ShineHub to confirm your eligibility. Terms and conditions apply.

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