Solaray Energy is now called 1KOMMA5° Sydney and 1KOMMA5° Melbourne
If your main question about battery storage is around the return on investment (ROI) of a solar battery… don’t buy one. Battery storage isn’t for you.
It’s an obvious question to ask though. You’ve bought solar, realised how good the return on investment is, and now the logical next step is to buy a battery using the same mindset of “how much money will this save me”?
But solar battery storage isn’t just about saving money like it is with solar.
Let me explain…
My wife recently asked me if we could get a new kitchen. The price was going to be about $15,000.
In return, I said I’d rather spend the money on a golf trip to California and a new set of golf clubs.
A few months later, sitting over dinner in our new kitchen, I got to wondering about the return of investment on the new kitchen…
It’s difficult to put a dollar figure on the benefits of a new kitchen. Things such as my wife’s singing, the made-from-the-bottom-up lasagna, and afternoon sunlight pouring through the big new windows are nice, but they don’t have a clear monetary value.
With battery storage, there is a monetary value you can assign to the battery, however that only tells part of the story.
Here are 7 solid reasons people are installing Tesla Powerwalls, some of them have a financial value, but others don’t. Let’s go through them:
Reduce your power bill even further, or eliminate it completely
Blackout protection for when the power goes out
Future-proofing: lock in your power prices no matter what happens in the world around you (as feed-in tariffs continue to fall)
Store excess solar power to use at night
Buy power when it is cheap, sell it or use it when it is expensive
Join a virtual power plant
Saving the planet one house at a time
How much would you pay to not have a power bill for the life of your Tesla Powerwall? It’s an interesting question because it’s not the same as maximising your ROI (like we try to do for our solar customers).
This strategy is very appealing to new retirees, or for people who are about to retire. In a nutshell, you are using some of the money you currently have at your disposal to eliminate one of your main expenses for the next decade and beyond.
It also works well for people who are cashing in on the increase in equity in their home. We have many customers who have pulled out some equity for home improvement projects such as a new kitchen, and so naturally they are including a large solar system and a home battery on the shopping list as well – it’s one of the few home improvement projects that really does save you money.
The size of your future power bills will depend on how much solar power you are able to use in the home across the day, and this of course will depend on how large your solar system is as well as how much electricity you use in the home.
This is a big one, and it’s hard to put into words just how grateful our customers have been when they have been able to leave the lights on during one of Sydney’s many blackouts recently.
Large weather events are causing more frequent blackouts, and with many more people now working from home, having backup power has meant our Powerwall customers have been able to continue working without interruption.
Of course, it’s not just about being able to honour your Zoom schedule. We have Powerwall customers who have saved thousands of dollars worth of damage from being able to keep certain things running, such as:
Freezers full of meat
A fish tank with exotic fish
Basement water pumps that stayed on to help avoid a very costly flood
A small heater to keep the mum and newborn warm on a very cold winter night in the Southern Highlands
It’s not just the doomsday preppers that want backup power in an emergency. It’s also very handy to be able to keep the kids entertained with a zombie apocalypse movie while you run around in the storm tying things down and clearing debris.
For many of our customers, surviving just one wild weather event where the power has gone out for up to a week has been enough for them to say that the Tesla Powerwall has already paid for itself, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that we get dozens of calls from our customers after each big blackout event, and they really do appreciate it. The backup is so seamless a desktop computer will stay on when the grid goes down, which means in many cases people don’t even realise the power has gone out until they step outside.
A member of the 1KOMMA5° Team has family in Norway, where electricity prices are currently at record highs – to the point where the government has maid direct payments back to households to compensate people. He was saying his family has been paying an electricity bill of between $1000-$1500 a month all winter.
Obviously, there are some serious issues over in Europe at the moment, and it may even get worse, but just because Australia is further away, it doesn’t mean things can’t happen here as well.
Even if Australian energy prices stay stable, many see inflation as a real threat in the coming decade. If inflation was relatively low at 4% for the life of your Tesla Powerwall, that increases the average cost of electricity from 30 cents to about 45 cents per kWh.
By reducing your energy bills to $0 you are essentially locking in the price of electricity. That means you don’t need to worry about the future cost of electricity rising because of inflation, or because of a war breaking out nearby, like what has happened to much of Europe recently.
It gets even better if you integrate an electric vehicle, as you can also forget about the skyrocketing price of petrol.
Before we go much further, we should discuss the most important function of a solar battery; which is to store excess solar power to use at night.
By doing this, we can size up a solar power system to generate enough power to supply your home for 24 hours a day. It’s not a perfect formula because of seasonality, but we regularly set up our customers to be 100% self-sufficient for most of the year. The size of the winter power bill will often come down to how much electric heating a house uses, and it often isn’t worth over-sizing a solar system just to cover the heating (talk to us for more info about this).
Irrespective of the size of your solar system, most solar households don’t use all of their solar power in the home as it is generated. As feed-in tariffs continue to reduce, it is making more and more sense to store this excess solar power to then use at night, which leads on to the next benefit…
Most homes in Ausgrid are now on time-of-use billing, where you pay around 50 cents per kWh between 2 pm and 8 pm on weekdays. Solar will cover some of this period, however, a solar battery along with proper management can help you completely cover this peak billing period without the need to overthink it. For most people, it makes sense to design a system that doesn’t require much thought.
This is where we start getting into the energy management part of the system. A main reason why so many people are buying battery storage is because of the smart software that comes included with all 1KOMMA5° battery installations.
Evergen Intelligent Control Software optimises your solar & storage system to save you an additional 26.4%* on average on your power bills. Evergen can further reduce your power bill using an advanced algorithm that includes 42 different data points:
Weather Forecast: Evergen keeps an eye on the weather forecast and predicts your solar output to ensure your battery is adequately charged during wet weather.
Your usage patterns: Over time Evergen uses machine learning to predict how much power you use, and when. For example, if you need more power on certain evenings, Evergen will make sure your battery is fully charged for when you need it.
Tariff Awareness: If you are on time-of-use tariffs, Evergen will make sure you use as little grid power as possible during the peak billing period. It can even charge your battery overnight during the off-peak tariff if you need it or if wet weather is forecast for the coming days.
System Health: You no longer need to worry about the performance of your system. Evergen not only keeps track of system performance, it actively works to maximise the performance and longevity of your battery.
Intelligence data is also available through the app such as how much money you are saving and your solar generation. Daily monitoring by Evergen helps you to:
Save even more from your solar generation
Store and resell excess energy generated by your solar panels
Use your solar energy even when the sun goes down
Keep the power on even during a blackout with backup power
Participate in a Virtual Power Plant and earn money from your excess energy
Virtual power plants are a way for energy retailers and network operators to access additional electricity during peak periods, such as on hot afternoons in summer.
If you decide to sign up to a VPP through Evergen, you can sell your stored solar power through the VPP at a much higher rate than what you pay for your power, up to around $1 per kWh.
Typically VPP arrangements require households to sign up to a multi-year contract, but not with Evergen. With Evergen you can give it a try, and if you decide it’s not for you, you can opt-out whenever you like.
Ever since we got the new kitchen last year, we’ve hosted more dinner parties than in the past 10 years combined. I’ve also found myself showing off the new Tesla car in the garage and how it works with solar on the roof & a Tesla Powerwall battery sitting proudly on the wall.
The idea of designing an all-electric lifestyle powered by solar power is incredibly empowering. We’ve got customers that have whole podcasts on the idea, and for a growing number of people, this really is the future of how we should be powering our lives.
Australia is going to be powered by coal and gas for the foreseeable future. It’s just the way baseload power needs to be generated, with nuclear the only real alternative. Yes, renewables will play a major role, but the only way to truly divest from coal and gas (if that is important to you) is to take matters into your own hands and generate the power yourself.
It’s not that hard of a jump to an all-electric lifestyle. The EV is obviously the biggest step and a lot of people aren’t quite there yet, but the more people I take for a test drive in my new Tesla Model S, the faster my social circle is making the change.
That’s for you to decide. For my family, it’s probably about the same as the value my wife puts on the new kitchen.
For more information, talk to the friendly 1KOMMA5° Team today. We can help answer your questions without any annoying sales pressure.