Worried about the booming cost of electricity and gas bills? One Brisbane couple has beaten the energy cost crunch - and reduce their monthly power bill by a massive 90 percent.
Brad Parmenter and his wife live with their three dogs in Griffin, just over half an hour north of Brisbane, using electricity for air-conditioning, heating the pool and charging their electric car.
Following frustration with high energy bills, in August last year Brad upgraded his solar system and added a home battery through Australian energy retailer Nectr.
Since installing the 14.94kW solar system and Sungrow 19.2kWh battery, Brad’s monthly bills of more than $550 per month have reduced to $48, a saving of roughly $6,000 a year.
“Adding solar panels and a battery system to our home has significantly reduced our power bills.," Brad said.
"As we head into the summer months, using solar to power our home gives us the peace of mind that we can continue to enjoy the lifestyle that we’re used to, without worrying about a high energy bill at the end of the month.”
Australia sits in the top spot for global solar PV uptake with more than 3.6million small-scale solar systems installed to date, however just 1.6% of homes with solar panels have also installed a battery.
A spokesperson for Nectr says it’s unsurprising that more homeowners are turning to renewable energy to power their homes.
“Australians are doing the heavy lifting to support Australia’s renewables transition. Households are investing in solar and battery for their homes which is reducing pressure on the energy grid, and in turn also saves them money on their power bill,” the spokesperson said.
“As the demand for home battery storage increases, we will continue to see battery prices fall, making the option of battery add-on for homes with existing solar systems more attractive.
“We’ve seen a peak in home solar and battery installations over spring, which we predict may continue over the summer months.
"Shifting to renewables for your home is more affordable than ever, with no upfront cost and fixed electricity rates for the life of the contract on offer.”
Thinking about going solar? Here are 5 key points to consider.
1.Size and capacity: The number of people in the household and the average household energy usage will help identify the size of a solar system to suit the household’s energy needs.
For instance, a person living on their own or a couple may suit a 6.6kW system with around 17 solar panels compared to a household with four or more occupants that would benefit from a 13.3kW system with around 34 solar panels.
2. Installation and warranties: Ensure solar panels are installed by a Clean Energy Council (CEC) approved installer and check product and performance warranties. Minimum 10-year product warranties and 25-year performance warranties are standard.
3. Cost: The cost to install solar panels has decreased over the years and home battery costs are also showing signs of lowering.
Nectr offers no upfront cost, interest-free, fixed-rate electricity rates for the duration of the contract (3 or 5 year periods) to make home solar and battery more affordable for Australian households.
4. Consider a battery: The solar panels will harness the power of the sun and the home battery will store this energy to power the fridge, washing machine, air conditioning at peak usage times for the household or at times when the sun is not shining.
Household battery storage capacity is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). 1kWh is equal to one hour of electricity used at the power of 1kW. For example, using a 2000W oven for an hour would equate to using 2kWh of the battery’s capacity.
As a comparison, a 200W TV would need to be used for 10 hours to add up to 2kWh. Generally, a typical home with solar panels exporting over 2MWh per year could meet its needs with battery systems of 5kWh through to 9kWh capacities.
5. Join a VPP (Virtual Power Plant) network: For those with solar panels and a battery system, energy harnessed from the sun can fill a home battery.
Connecting to a VPP network will allow any excess energy to be fed back into the energy grid to be used by others – even earning homeowners extra money!
By connecting a home’s solar batteries to a VPP network, homeowners can help support the electricity grid with renewable solar energy, on the occasions when the grid requires additional power.
This helps provide more reliable energy supply to communities, reduces wastage of precious solar energy, and can also be an added bonus for homeowners’ hip pockets.