"Energy security" is one of those buzz phrases in the solar industry and something that we are often asked about. It refers to the ability of a solar power and battery system to provide power to your home in the event of a grid outage. This capability is especially useful to home owners who live in remote areas or areas in which power outages are a common occurrence. For people in these situations, knowing that they have a backup power source in the event of a grid outage is very valuable.
The other benefit of having a battery installed is offsetting future rising power costs. With a large enough battery, your home can be self-reliant for electricity, meaning that price rises from your energy retailer will have little effect on your power bills.
Unfortunately these benefits do come at a significant cost.
With the correct electrical design and the right battery, it is certainly possible to configure your solar power system to power your home when the grid fails to. There are, however, some obstacles and downfalls that you should be aware of.
There will be additional work required at the time of installation for the electrician to connect a specific circuit to the battery that will be powered during a grid outage. A typical battery (10-13 kWh) is not large enough to power your entire home for very long, so we often choose a single circuit to power i.e. your kitchen, which will ensure that your fridge and freezer will continue to be powered and your power points in the kitchen will still work. The battery will then last much longer as it is only powering a small proportion of your total load.
You can of course choose for your entire house to be powered from the battery, but this is dependent upon the battery size and maximum output, which is typically limited to 5kW.
The second thing to be aware of is the initial cost of the battery itself. Over the last 5 years, home batteries have come become more readily available, however the cost has not come down as much as everyone was expecting. For a typical home battery you should expect to pay $10,000+, and this is in addition to the solar power system. This equates to a payback period of around 12 years, while the batteries have a 10 year warranty.
If energy security and avoiding power price increases is important to you and your household, we can tailor a battery solution to suit your needs. Our in-house electrical designers can provide a solar power and battery system to give you energy security and peace of mind.
But if these benefits do not outweigh the costs for you, contact us today for an in-home assessment of your needs and we can discuss the best, and most cost-effective way forward for you to reduce your energy costs without a battery system.
Don't get caught up in hype, buzz words and mass media articles. Come and speak to your trusted, local solar experts about your home and your needs and we can tailor your solution.