How to get the right solar battery for your home

Three tips on choosing, purchasing and installing a solar battery.

So you’ve installed your solar panels and are loving the benefits that they bring, but now you’re ready to get more out of your system and want to install a battery in your home.  

A home battery is just like a big version of a regular rechargeable battery. You can charge it up to store electricity, and then use it to power your home later. Battery systems are usually designed to save unused power from solar panels, but they can also be set up to charge up from the electricity grid. 

As with solar power, the battery market can be tricky to navigate. Here are our top three tips for installing and using a battery in your home.

Tip 1: ensure a battery is right for you and your solar power system

There are certain limitations on installing and using a battery in tandem with your existing solar panels.

Firstly as with solar panels, ensure that you have the right to install a battery in your home; is there heritage overlay? Do you need to get permission from your Owner’s Corporation or your landlord? 

Secondly, when looking at potential batteries to purchase, ensure that they are compatible with your solar power system. Different types of batteries work with different types of systems. A good provider will work out what the requirements are for your system and offer a battery that suits it. 

Finally, if cost savings are important to you, ensure that the cost of the batteries you are looking at purchasing don’t exceed the savings you will make. This will be determined by a number of factors including the size of your solar system and the amount of electricity you use. A good battery retailer will help you crunch the numbers to work out what the return on investment is, and how long it will be until the battery has paid for itself through savings on electricity bills.

Tip 2: use reliable sources to find a battery retailer

As the market for batteries has grown, so has the number of retailers to choose from. It also means that you need to navigate through any dodgy operators.  The best ways to find a good solar battery retailer are:

— Ask people you know about good experiences they’ve had with battery retailers.
— Use a recommendation service like SolarQuotes or Solar Choice, which lists retailers that have good customer recommendations.
— Look for retailers that are members of a best practice industry scheme, such as the Approved Solar Retailer program run by the Clean Energy Council (which also includes battery installers). Some state government rebate programs will require you to use one of these retailers.

Once you have found a few battery retailers you like, you can compare their quotes to find the offer that best suits your needs.

Tip 3: get the most out of your battery quote

Once you’ve found a battery that is right for you and your solar power system, you will get a quote from the battery retailer, and eventually a contract if you choose to purchase their product and service. In your quote, a good battery retailer will outline to you:

— The brand, cost, and warranty of the battery
— The power rating and usable storage capacity of the battery.
— The performance of the battery and how it will change over its life.
— An estimate of the financial benefits it will bring you
— Where the battery will be installed in your home, and whether it requires additional components to operate.
— Whether the battery includes a monitoring system with an app to show how it’s performing.

If you choose to accept your quote, you will be asked to sign a purchase contract before arranging installation day. Once it’s all up and running your new battery will be storing your spare solar electricity for later usage, letting you use more of your solar power.

Adding a battery to your solar power system doesn’t have to be difficult. By knowing what information to look out for, you can make confident, informed decisions.

For a detailed, step-by-step guide on purchasing, installing and using a battery in your home, check out the ‘Plug In to installing batteries’ fact sheet.

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