People powered energy
Veda Dante, March 2017
Using batteries to store excess electricity to use later on is no longer considered a new or unattainable concept. In fact, technological advancements have not only resulted in substantial cost reductions but also a range of energy storage solutions offered by companies like Inhouse Energy, 360Energy and OffGrid Energy, to name a few. In a 2016 survey of 2500 energy consumers by Energy Consumers Australia - the largest ever conducted in this country - a growing disappointment and disillusionment with the outcomes they see from the energy market was clearly evident. "The overwhelming majority of consumers told us they were not getting good value for money for their electricity services, indeed they believe they get better value for money from services such as mobile phones, internet, insurance and banking," Rosemary Sinclair said at the time. "Consumers are craving control and options to manage their energy use, [which] is why we see one in five consumers already adopting solar photovoltaic (one in three in some states) and it's why our survey shows another one in three looking to do so in the future," she explained. "These people are not extremists. They are consumers from all walks of life looking for a way out, an alternative to passively accepting continuing price increases." This was reiterated by Australian Solar Council CEO John Grimes, who last year told HomeHub that Aussies would “run not walk” towards home battery providers. “The power companies have treated their customers badly and I see real anger towards them across the Australian community,” he said. [caption id="attachment_7269" align="alignnone" width="690"] Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems with added battery storage are predicted to become the most economical solution to provide electricity.[/caption]
Reducing electricity costs with battery storageAccording to this Climate Council report, solar panels with home battery storage could be the cheapest way to get electricity within three years. Battery storage capacity, which it predicts will grow 50-fold in less than a decade, can reduce electricity costs for residents and business owners in a number of significant ways, including:
- Home battery systems can allow a household to store electricity from the grid when prices are lowest (during off-peak periods) and then rely on their battery for power (rather than the grid) during the most expensive peak time, thereby reducing their overall electricity costs.
- A battery storage system can almost double a household’s self-consumption of solar PV. Adding a 4 kWh battery to a 5 kWh solar system can increase the amount of self-generated solar electricity a household consumes from 30 to 60 per cent.
- By 2018, going off-grid by installing battery storage could be cost-competitive with staying connected as the price of battery storage falls and grid electricity remains expensive.
- As feed-in tariffs are phased out and households receive far less for the solar electricity they put into the grid and electricity prices remain high (particularly at peak times), solar PV systems with added battery storage will become the most economical solution to provide electricity.
- Battery storage will reduce energy costs and boost reliance on renewable energy for the vast areas of Australia that are not connected to the grid and therefore rely on expensive imported fuels.