29 July 2022

Solar battery demand heats up as electricity costs go through the roof

| Katrina Condie
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solar batteries

Demand for solar batteries is on the rise in Canberra. Photo: Stephen Ning.

After years of waiting for solar battery systems to become more cost effective, many Canberra families have decided the time is right.

Canberra solar company Mondiaux Solar has seen a significant increase in demand for battery storage systems. About 80 per cent of new residential solar customers now also install batteries.

Mondiaux residential sales manager Garry Nagra says families are making the choice to become self-sufficient to avoid the rising cost of electricity.

“Solar batteries are a game changer,” he says.

By installing a battery, the excess energy produced by the sun can be stored and used by families during peak times, reducing their dependency on the grid and slashing their power bills.

“Going solar was always a better choice than depending on the grid and, with the electricity retailers now unable to meet the energy demand during peak-hour, increasing their price is the only way to discourage people from using energy during peak load times,” Garry says.

“Now is the right time to install a battery to beat the expected price hikes.”

Installing a solar system with battery storage is the best way to increase self-consumption of energy 24 hours a day.

If a house has solar, without a battery, it self-consumes an average 20 to 30 per cent of the total energy produced in a day, with the rest exported back to the grid.

“Without battery storage, people are dependent on the energy retailer’s feed-in tariff to maximise their benefit, but unfortunately the tariff is very low,” Garry says.

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“They also have to pay for the energy they use after the sun goes down.

“Rather than selling their excess energy back to the grid, it’s more beneficial for people to store it in a battery for use during peak times.”

Garry’s says think of solar as a grocery store and electricity retailers as restaurants – why eat out every day when you can cook your own food?

An increase in the amount of time people are now spending working from home has also led to a rise in household electricity consumption.

With a solar system, people can reduce their electricity bills and their dependency on the grid by self-consuming the electricity during the day to run dishwashers, clothes dryers and washing machines. By adding a battery to an existing solar system, families can save even more in the long run.

“If a household has solar and battery installed, they can reduce their dependence on the grid by being self-sufficient and the electricity price increase won’t have a significant effect on the expenditure,” Garry says.

“Now, the average kilowatt price is 25 cents when you buy energy from the grid. But when you feed it back to the grid, you only get eight cents. It means in order to offset your current usage, you need to export three times the energy you consume daily.

“Storing energy in a battery allows you to use the energy at peak rates and, if the price of electricity goes up every year, you save more every year with a battery.”

Batteries have come a long way in recent years, with lithium-ion batteries gradually replacing lead-acid batteries in energy storage due to their affordability, higher efficiency and longer lifespan.

Lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) batteries have become one of the most popular battery materials for the Home Energy Storage System (HESS).

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In addition to cell materials, the safety, performance and adaptability of batteries have also been gradually improved.

Once considered a luxury item, batteries are now more affordable as manufacturers, including Alpha ESS, Sungrow and Huawei, take on the big guns of Tesla and LG.

“Premium brands will always have a higher price, so people should look at the quality of the product rather than a brand,” Garry says.

Canberra residents can take advantage of the NextGen battery rebate which has reduced the cost of a 10 kilowatt battery to as low as $5000. They can also benefit from the ACT Sustainable Household Scheme (SHS) which offers eligible households zero interest loans of up to $15,000 over 10 years.

By pairing the ACT SHS loan scheme and battery rebate, households can purchase a solar system with 10 kilowatt battery for a zero upfront cost.

Mondiaux Solar consultants can set up new solar power systems and help you select the right battery for your existing system.

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Capital Retro8:55 pm 01 Aug 22

Fire problems with lithium batteries? Nahhhhhh……..

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=294789548049417

@Capital Retro
Thank you for that insight – I’m definitely not going to put my mobile phone in a vice.

Capital Retro11:01 am 02 Aug 22

Well, don’t put a solar battery in your home garage either:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR4QmA4EbHc

https://www.drive.com.au/news/hyundai-and-kia-cars-in-australia-under-investigation-for-fires-and-engine-failures/

Capital Retro Definitely won’t want to buy a petrol vehicle then, those things are extremely dangerous fire risks.

What? A fire in a house? Well that is one, so only another 16,999 for which to account, and half of those start in the kitchen so I suggest you halve your risk by eliminating your kitchen, or do better by removing all of your heating too.

Best not to use any batteries, Capital Retro:
https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/verify/verify-can-alkaline-batteries-explode/287-492121019

Which just goes to show how fatuous your point is … a quick Google search can reveal an issue with anything you choose to nominate.

The ACCC released the below warning on May 20th this year, so people should be cautious with home batteries.
https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/consumers-urged-to-check-solar-energy-storage-batteries-due-to-fire-risk

@nobody
The media release specifies the brands of batteries which are under recall – so what is your point? Are you suggesting all home batteries present a fire risk?
There was a major recall of Takata airbags in 2020/21 affecting over 3 million vehicles in Australia. This didn’t cause a panic across all vehicle airbags.
Sometimes products prove deficient and have to be recalled.

JustSaying, my clearly stated point is people should be cautious. Are you suggesting home batteries don’t present a fire risk?

@nobody
No, as per the article, LG solar energy storage batteries, which are under recall, do present a fire risk.

JustSaying, oh dear, the second sentence says “The batteries can overheat and catch fire, which could lead to serious injuries, death and property damage.” If you don’t believe this, take it up with the ACCC.

@nobody
Yes – as previously stated – the article relates to a specific brand of battery … yet you seem to want to make it a global issue for all energy strorage batteries, which it is not!

All lithium-ion batteries are flammable: https://www.ft.com/content/8c9c3d50-98a3-4cdf-907f-901f8c328b90
It’s not just some or “specific brands”, it’s the reality of battery technology. Doesn’t take a chemical engineer to work it out. We live in a bushfire prone city yet some believe it’s a good idea not to mow grass in public areas and strap the equivalent of a claymore mine to the sides of their houses.

@Sam Oak
So what exactly is your point, Sam? In addition to energy strorage batteries, there are a myriad of products and appliances which use lithium-ion batteries (phones, cordless powertools, bluetooth headsets and headphones, tc.) – should we not use those too?

Oh dear JustSaying, why deny the inconvenient truth, current home battery technology can be a fire risk.

@nobody
Not denying any truth, nobody – I’m just not reading anything into an article that reports an issue with a particular product. Unfortunately, the facts of the article don’t support your narrative

Apparently fires are only a problem when they are caused by electric batteries.

When the exact same level of risk exists for gas and petrol products its perfectly acceptable and can be ignored.

According to Sam Oak, we live in a bushfire prone area but some people think it’s OK to park petrol bombs in our garages and strap gas flamethrowers to the sides of our houses.

Or maybe, there’s a level of risk involved in a lot of things, which is why we employ significant product safety and regulatory frameworks to lower those risks down to acceptable levels.

I honestly don’t know how some people walk outside of their house if they’re so concerned about these types of risk.

nobody, have you noticed that fire risk from ICE is far greater? I counted a dozen lithium batteries in our house before I simply stopped counting. No problem. I take ordinary care with all risky products, mechanical or electrical.

For fire, what about home heaters, gas cooktops? There have been over a thousand house fires this Winter in Australia, near 600 in Victoria. You seem highly focussed on a fallacy you wish to push that a certain battery type within a specific product type is more dangerous than the same battery technology in other products, or all other product risks, and all based on a single recall. Like JS said, a recall of certain Takata airbags did not destroy even the airbag industry let alone cars, nor should they.

You might also be interested to know that the Danish fire service specifically investigated management of car ferry fires. They found that modern batteries were more fireproof than older, that they were able to extinguish every test fire, and concluded that EV fires on ferries were manageable through updated training and technologies. There was nothing to fear.

Have a cup of tea, a Bex, and a good lie down.

That’s just stupid, if you can’t tell the difference in fire risk between keeping a box of matches vs filling your shed with ammonium nitrate then there is nothing that will convince you. Funny it is the same people thinking the entire world can run purely on solar and wind technology. Yep a couple of solar panels on your roof is equivalent to a coal fired power station just as batteries in your remote are the same as a Tesla pack!

Sam Oak,
I can tell the difference between different levels of risk but you clearly can’t if you think lithium batteries are akin to a claymore mine but all other products we use in our houses are minimal risk in comparison.

House fires from gas and petroleum sources are so common no one even cares about them. The risk of a lithium battery fire of that nature is already lower than several other fire risks we readily accept in our homes, that you conveniently ignore.

It’s almost like you do so out of an ulterior motive that has zero to do with protecting houses from fire risks. Actually no, it’s exactly like that.

S. Oak, which of a box of matches or ammonium nitrate is a constituent of a lithium battery? What off the earth do you think you are on about now?

Doubtless you are fully aware that 47 houses burned in 2021-22 from fires started by small tool and phone batteries. You will also be cognisant of the facts that vehicle fires account for about 15% of all fires with ICE catching fire at three times the rate of EV.

@Sam Oak
Actually, Sam, what’s stupid, is trying to demonise all solar energy storage battery technology on the basis of the recall of one brand. Like I said above – the recall of Takata airbags (which when malfunctioning actually resulted in deaths) did not generate a clamour against all airbags.

JustSaying, Chewy14, phydeaux,
I didn’t realise sharing a relevant safety recall notice from the ACCC would cause so much drama.

To be clear, I strongly agree we need to reduce carbon emissions, but this should not be at the expense of our safety while we sleep. In due course the technology will improve, perhaps even move away from Li-ion to something safer. This family in Adelaide recently experienced a fire in their home battery system, and were lucky it wasn’t a tragedy.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-13/adelaide-house-fire-linked-to-solar-panel-batteries/100826624

Nobody,
Hey can I play this random link game too?

Better not put a petrol powered car in the garage hey?

https://www.drive.com.au/news/hyundai-and-kia-cars-in-australia-under-investigation-for-fires-and-engine-failures/

nobody, read the three posts just above yours here again. Far better, understand them when you read.

You are banging on about ordinary risk which is not even at the top of the scale.

Some people are scared of spiders or snakes inconsistently with actual risk. It seems you are scared of batteries. Modern times.

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