“Battery Ready” Solar Systems, And How To Buy One

A ‘battery-ready’ solar system is basically a conventional grid-connected solar power system, installed in such a way that it’s easy for an installer to add batteries in the future and create what’s referred to as a “hybrid” system. 

Think of it as a way to future-proof your home for the coming golden age of energy storage. 

While it sounds like a good idea, for most it isn’t worthwhile.  This is because…

  1. You can always add batteries later whether your solar system is battery ready or not.
  2. It can be cheaper to get solar and batteries installed at the same time.
  3. If you’re on a budget, you are better off putting your money towards getting a larger solar system rather than making it battery ready. 
  4. Because home batteries are new technology and continually changing, money spent making a solar system battery ready may be wasted by the time you get around to adding them.

While this makes it sound like sound like nearly no one should get a battery ready solar system, I’ll mention a major exception.  If you decide to get a battery ready hybrid inverter simply because it’s a good inverter, then that’s fine.  Even if you never use it to add a battery you’ll still receive the benefit of having a high quality solar inverter.

But apart from that, I’d normally only recommend investing in a battery ready system if…

  • You know what batteries you want.
  • You’re very confident you’ll get them within two years.
  • You have a reason based on your individual circumstances for not just getting solar and batteries now.

You can add batteries at any time

A major reason you don’t have to worry about getting a battery ready solar system is because you can still add batteries at any time.  This is done by AC coupling a battery, which allows it to operate independently of the solar system.

The most famous example is the Tesla Powerwall 2 which has its own built-in battery inverter.  But it can be done with a wide range of batteries.  If the solar battery you want is AC coupled then there’s no point in getting a battery ready solar system.

Installing solar & batteries together can cut costs

If you know you want batteries in the future — and your budget stretches far enough — then I recommend getting solar and batteries installed at the same time because it can save money.  Not only can an installer do it all at once it can also potentially increase the size of the “solar rebate” your system can receive.

Big solar is better than battery ready

If you want batteries at some point but you’re on a tight budget, my advice is to not spend money on getting a battery ready system.  Instead, you should focus on getting a good quality solar system that is the largest you can reasonably afford and fits on your roof.  I recommend getting at least a 10kW solar power system.  This will let you make the most of a battery when you do get one because you’ll have enough solar generation to keep it charged in winter and through periods of cloudy weather.    You can also put the money your large solar system saves towards your future battery.

Don’t make the mistake of only getting small or modest sized solar system so you’ll also be able to afford a battery.  This will reduce the savings you get from both the solar system and the battery.

Battery ready systems can rapidly become outdated

Home batteries are a new technology and still undergoing rapid change.  If you install a solar system with a hybrid inverter now with the intention of adding a battery to it in a few years, when you get around to it you may find the ones it’s compatible with are no longer available.  Or they may be available, but a newer battery that doesn’t use that inverter may be a better deal for you. 

Along with technology, standards and regulations also change.  So you could end up with a system that can accept a battery but you’re not allowed to add one.  For these reasons, I don’t recommend getting a battery ready system unless you are very confident you’ll get batteries within two years.

Battery ready may make sense for some organisations

While spending money on a battery ready system won’t make sense for most households, it can be a good idea for some organisations.  There are businesses and charities that find it suits the way they’re funded to get solar installed one year and batteries the next.  Because there’s generally only a one year delay there’s little chance the system will become outdated.

Good quality battery ready hybrid inverters are fine

While my advice to most people is to not spend extra money to make their new solar system battery ready, spending a little extra to get a battery ready hybrid inverter is not a problem — provided it’s a good inverter.  An example of this is the Fronius Gen24 hybrid inverter.  Fronius inverters are well regarded by most installers and the Gen24 can support a battery.  This feature isn’t free, you’ll have to pay a fee to unlock it, but it’s still a useful option to have.  Even if you never use it to add a battery, you’ll still have a high quality, reliable, inverter.  

Consider battery location

While most people don’t need to worry about getting a battery ready solar system, I still recommend considering where your batteries will go if you decide to get them in the future.  The regulations on where they can be located are very strict.  It’s worthwhile to tell your installer if you intend to get batteries so they can give consideration to this when they design your system.

Can we arrange quotes for a battery-ready solar system?

We sure can! If you decide you do want a battery ready system, simply click here to visit our quotes form, and then select the “solar + batteries for your home”, then the “battery ready” option. We’ll then arrange quotes for you.

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