What Solar Batteries Are Available In 2019?
As you can imagine, there are now dozens of solar battery products available in Australia.
So, how do you choose which is right for you?
Well, at Solaray, we have been installing solar storage batteries for longer than almost any other company out there, so we have learnt a lot about what works, what doesn’t, and what may happen in a few years’ time.
Firstly, today we only install solar batteries where the battery manufacturer supplies the entire product. This means the battery system includes everything needed for it to work – the battery, the inverter, the meter, and the software.
Many batteries on the market need another company’s inverter and software to run – which can create all sorts of problems.
The reason is this: this stuff is technically really complicated (just think about the smarts needed to learn and predict your energy usage, let alone how to manage the chemistry of the battery) and the last thing you can afford is to have the two products trying to do two different things. In the past, we installed many of these types of systems (that was all that was available back then) and had enough problems to scare us off them for life (or until their technology works better, whichever happens first!).
Secondly, we only choose products where the software is really, really smart. This narrows it down a lot. All solar storage systems charge and discharge regularly, but the solar and storage is the heart of your future energy management, so you want to make sure that the software that controls it all is able to be smart enough to learn how you live, as well as adapt as your needs change in the future.
Thirdly, (and this is pretty obvious but important), we choose and recommend products that have great technical specifications. There are a lot of good quality batteries that have second rate technical specifications which means they may have a large storage capacity, but it can only be released so slowly it is not of much use.
Lastly, of course, is how much it costs. This is viewed in two ways – the total cost to install as well as how much per kWh.
So, which products do we recommend?
Well, taking all the above into account, there are two clear leaders available in Australia – the Tesla Powerwall 2 and the Enphase AC Battery.
Now, that’s not to say there aren’t other good batteries out there; some have great specs but are hugely expensive, others are cheaper but are not as good technically, and so on. And, as we said above, we don’t recommend or install batteries where the inverter is from another company (the jargon for this is DC Coupled).
The Tesla Powerwall and the Enphase AC Battery are very different – and are designed for different types of customers.
The Tesla Powerwall is 13.5kWh which is about what most households would want to store and use on a daily basis. For larger households, you can install 2 or more Powerwalls if your energy consumption justifies it.
The Enphase AC Battery is a small battery (only 1.2kWh) and is designed for those who only use a small amount of power and usually have a small solar system. Many customers install 2 or even 3 Enphase batteries (making it 2.4kWh or 3.6kWh) but if you want more than that, it is usually smarter to install a Tesla Powerwall.
The Tesla Powerwall costs around $13,000 to $14,000 depending on your location and installation factors, while the Enphase AC Batteries cost a little over $2,000 each for Enphase Solar installations (or if you don’t have an Enphase solar system you need to add around $600 to the total cost for the gateway).
Automated, compact and stylish, Tesla Powerwall is far and away the market leader in Australia, with the most advanced features, highest technical specifications, fabulous design and smart software the rest of the industry dreams of. All of this from the company that has transformed the car industry and is now doing the same to the solar industry.
Tesla Powerwall has a capacity of 13.5kWh which is enough for many households to run almost entirely on solar power.
Tesla Powerwall is a beautifully functional storage solution that inherits Tesla’s proven automotive battery technology to power your home safely and economically. Completely automated, it requires little to no maintenance and is specifically designed for residential and small commercial installations.
Price Guide: $13000 to $14000 fully installed including the Tesla Energy Management App.
Enphase AC Batteries
The innovative Enphase AC Battery is designed for lower usage households or those that have a small solar system.
Each battery stores and discharges 1.2kWh so it suits those who only use a small amount of energy each day – or who only export a small amount of excess solar power each day (you can check this on your bill).
The battery contains its own inverter (the award-winning Enphase micro-inverter) and has been designed to be modular, expandable, easily installed and tailored to each customer’s usage profile.
Price Guide: $5000-$5500 for 2 x Enphase Batteries, fully installed with consumption monitoring (less if you already have an Enphase Envoy monitor).