A residential solar + battery system can cost between $15,000 - $30,000. How do you choose the size of your solar system, and how much will your system cost you?
The solar industry continues to grow yearly, with solar panels and batteries becoming common around Australia. In fact, one-third of Australians have solar – the highest rate in the world! With renewable energy being our clear avenue towards minimising the severest impacts of climate change, realistically, it’s in our collective best interest that as many Aussies install solar as possible.
A solar + battery system allows a household to gain greater energy independence, free themselves from blackouts, and have the opportunity to save money on their electricity bills. For most people, a major impediment in the way of getting a solar + battery system is the upfront cost. So, how much does it cost for solar panels and a solar battery?
Buying a solar + battery system is a significant upfront cost, but what if it was different?
Solar + battery systems range in price, but you can expect to pay between $15,000 – $30,000 for a residential system, inclusive of installation costs. Of course, there are small systems that fall just under this range and large ones that will go over it. Unfortunately, the cost of solar batteries has been driven up by increasing costs of necessary raw manufacturing materials.
That’s why Plico disrupted the solar industry with a new payment model. Members receive an industry-leading solar + battery system for one low weekly fee and no big upfront costs. Plico specialists also provide support and maintenance for 10 years. As we’ll see below, solar is a renewable energy resource that can help everyone, while helping the planet! It shouldn’t be privileged to just those with the capital to purchase a system.
Why would you want to purchase solar panels and batteries?
Let’s start with the most topical reason: everyday life is getting increasingly expensive. The war in Ukraine has contributed to high fuel, gas and electricity costs; food prices and interest rates have also seen a spike and could continue to rise. More than ever, Australians are feeling the financial pinch of running a household and having to reassess how they live. That’s why more people are turning to solar. The future of the Australian household is energy autonomy, made possible by clean renewable energy. A solar + battery system that generates and stores solar energy, which can charge an electric car (and save households a whole heap of money in the process).
The integral ingredient in this prophetic vision is a solar battery. Having the right-sized battery allows you to continue to power your home with affordable and clean energy through the evenings and on cloudy days. It also frees you from blackouts – you’ll still have usable power while homes using grid energy will be in the dark. Solar systems without a battery create solar energy when the sun’s out but force households to pull from the grid when there isn’t enough generated energy.
Are solar batteries worth it in 2022?
Solar batteries have never been more worth it! With feed-in tariffs now just 2.25 cents between 9 pm and 3 pm, it doesn’t make sense to get solar without a battery. The feed-in tariff is the few cents a homeowner receives for each kWh they push to the electrical grid. In the early days of solar, owners received more significant financial rewards for exporting energy to the grid. This money could be used to repurchase energy from the grid when it was evening or overcast, and the solar panels weren’t generating energy (yes, it does seem counterintuitive…). Now that the feed-in tariff is so low, it would mean that homeowners pay the upfront cost of solar and then still pay for a portion of their energy from the grid. A significant amount, mind you, as evenings are a peak power consumption time.
Batteries completely change the narrative. A solar battery lets you control where your energy comes from and how you use it. In sunny Australia, it’s not hard to see how many Aussies have saved big on their electricity bills by switching to a solar + battery system.
How much are solar batteries?
There’s a decent scale when it comes to the cost of solar batteries, with the initial expense ranging from $4500 to $18,000 (and beyond). There’s also the cost of an inverter (although some solar batteries come with an in-built inverter) and installation on top of this figure. The price of solar batteries tends to rise with their kWh capacity. You need to get the right-sized battery to get the most out of your solar + battery system.
If you get an undersized battery – one that is too small for the amount of electricity you use – you’ll still be paying for a large portion of your power from the grid. On the other hand, if you get an oversized battery, you’ll have spent more than was necessary and won’t be filling the battery’s capacity.
Read our article What Size Solar Battery Do I Need? for help calculating the suitable battery capacity for your needs. This will be a major factor in how much it will cost for solar panels and batteries in your home.
What type of solar battery should I choose?
Lithium-ion batteries have come to dominate the solar battery market, but there are other types of batteries that you can use to store solar energy. Lead-acid batteries are the longest-standing rechargeable batteries; until recently, they were the only choice when storing solar energy. However, as technology has improved, they’ve become somewhat obsolete due to their lower lifespan and longer charging times (among plenty of other reasons). This being said, you’ll still see them regularly utilised in off-grid solar setups. Flow batteries and hydrogen fuel cells have also taken up a small percentage of the market.
Read our blog What Are the Different Types of Solar Batteries? to delve deeper into the pros and cons of a selection of battery types.
Residential solar battery set-up of three Pylontech US3000 batteries stored in Redback inverter housing.
How do solar batteries work?
Solar batteries play an integral part in the interconnected process of a solar + battery system. This is the typical process of a solar + battery system:
- Your solar panels absorb the sunlight and create direct current (DC) energy.
- This energy is sent to the inverter, which converts the DC energy into alternating current (AC) energy. This is because household appliances run on AC.
- Your switchboard directs the power where it’s needed.
- If you’re generating more power than you’re using, the excess will be sent to your solar battery. Because it’s sent directly, it stays as DC power.
- Your battery stores the electricity.
- When needed, the battery will push the stored power to the inverter, which will convert it to AC for household use.
- Your switchboard will distribute the electricity.
- When your battery is full, and you’re producing more energy than your household needs, the excess will be exported to the grid. (For which you’ll receive the feed-in tariff.)
- If you run out of stored power, you’ll pull your electricity from the grid.
Want to learn more? Read our article How Do Solar Batteries Work? for more information.
How much are solar panels?
The cost of solar panels varies greatly, based upon how many panels you need and how great the power output you’ll need to power your home. Higher quality panels will also cost more but will provide greater efficiency and solar energy generation. However, a ballpark figure would be around $900 – $1200 per kilowatt (kW) size. Typically, you’ll see the cost of solar batteries conveyed in kWh, but solar panel prices per kW or W.
How many solar panels will I need to power my home?
If you’re looking at investing in a solar + battery system, there are a few different factors to bear in mind when calculating what size system you’ll need.
Understanding kilowatt (kW) and kilowatt-hour (kWh) ratings.
Within the metrics of your solar + battery system, units will be described in two measurements: kilowatts (kW) and kilowatt-hour (kWh). Kilowatts are a thousand watts, and kilowatt-hours are the total kilowatts consumed over an hour. So if your television is rated at 1.25 kW of power consumption, and you’re in the mood for two hours of Stranger Things, a basic calculation would look something like this:
1.25 kW x 2 hours = 2.5 kWh.
You should be able to find your appliance’s energy rating, conveyed in kWh, on an Energy Rating sticker or in the instruction manual.
How much electricity do you consume?
Knowing how much power you consume gives you an idea of how big of a solar + battery system you’ll need if you’re to meaningfully reduce your electricity bills. Fortunately, this isn’t too arduous – your electricity bill will display an ‘average daily use’ in kWh.
If your household’s daily electricity use is 16 kWh, and four of your solar panels produce 4 kWh of useable power, you’ll need 16 panels to power your home. It’s pertinent to bear in mind that electricity is lost in the transfer of energy on the journey between your panels to the inverter to appliances to the battery and back to the appliances. Your inverter is also limited in how much energy it can deliver to your home at any one time.
For more information on running appliances with solar power, read this blog.
How much roof space do you have?
The size of your roof may restrict the number of panels you can have, so bear it in mind when working out how many solar panels you’ll need on your home. Panels vary in size, but the industry standard size is around 1.7 m x 1 m. Different panels will have different efficiencies and outputs.
The quality of your solar panels impacts your energy output.
Quality matters when it comes to solar panels. The higher the quality, the greater the efficiency in converting sunlight into power. A solar + battery system is an investment, and you don’t want to cut corners – a reputable provider and installer are essential to getting the most out of a solar + battery system. Read our article on how to choose the best solar provider.
Roof positioning plays a part in how much power your solar panels generate and is a key reason why a Plico specialist will perform an obligation-free site visit – assessing what direction and angle are optimal. For example, in the southern hemisphere, we get our maximum amount of sunlight from the north, so solar panels are positioned accordingly.
How long do solar panels last?
In Australia, solar panels have a lifespan of between 20 to 30 years; however, multiple factors contribute to how long they last.
The biggest of these is the quality of your panels. The overwhelming consensus in the solar industry is that you get what you pay for. High-quality panels with an inclusive warranty will save you more in the long run than their cheaper counterparts.
Becoming a Plico member makes solar + battery affordable.
Renewable energy is imperative for a better future for everyone. By switching to solar now, you’ll be ahead of the pack. We’re going to see massive overhauls in national infrastructure (which has the potential to drive up energy costs further). By investing in a solar + battery system, you can become more self-reliant and be responsible for providing for your own energy needs. But what happens if you don’t have the money for the hefty upfront price tag of a solar + battery system?
Plico believes that renewable energy should be attainable for everyone. That’s why we’ve disrupted the industry with no big upfront costs, one low weekly fee and 10 years of maintenance and support. You can look at some of the Plico products here.
We’ve helped countless members reduce their electricity bills and gain greater energy independence. You can use our Solar Savings Calculator to estimate how much you could save or have a chat with one of the switched-on Plico team members on 1300 175 426.
Curiosity piqued, and want to learn more? Read our blog on how solar works in winter.