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Solar Batteries: Everything You Need To Know (Prices, Paybacks, Brands)

By Finn Peacock, Chartered Electrical Engineer, Fact Checked By Ronald Brakels

Last Updated: 9th Jul 2024

This no-nonsense guide will walk you through solar battery prices, paybacks and brands in Australia so you can decide whether a battery is worth it for you. Then, I’ll show you how to pick the right home battery and get it installed by a reputable sparky—ensuring you make a savvy investment rather than a costly mistake.

Solar Batteries Compared

Here’s a table of all the home batteries I know of on the Australian market. As you can see, there’s a lot of choice. Scroll left to right to see them all, then scroll past the table to learn more…

Product Name
    Product Name Tesla Powerwall 3 Tesla Powerwall 2

    BYD Battery Box Premium HVM 13.8

    • BYD Battery Box Premium HVM 13.8
    • BYD Battery Box Premium HVM 11.0
    • BYD Battery Box Premium HVM 8.3
    • BYD Battery Box Premium HVS 12.8
    • BYD Battery Box Premium HVS 10.2
    • BYD Battery Box Premium HVS 7.7
    • BYD Battery Box Premium HVS 5.12
    • BYD Battery Box LVS 12 kWh
    • BYD Battery Box LVS 8 kWh
    • BYD Battery Box LVS 4 kWh
    Dyness Powerbox Energizer Homepower Enphase IQ Battery 5P

    Eveready Energy Vault 5.1

    • Eveready Energy Vault 5.1
    • Eveready Energy Vault 10.2
    GenZ 48V 3kWh

    Goodwe Lynx Home F G2 Series 12.8

    • Goodwe Lynx Home F G2 Series 12.8
    • Goodwe Lynx Home F G2 Series 9.6
    • Goodwe Lynx Home U Series

    Growatt Ark 10.2L-A1

    • Growatt Ark 10.2L-A1
    • Growatt Ark 10.2H
    • Growatt APX 10.0P-S1

    iStore Smart Battery (15 kWh)

    • iStore Smart Battery (15 kWh)
    • iStore Smart Battery (10 kWh)
    • iStore Smart Battery (5 kWh)

    Jinko SunTank 7.68 kWh

    • Jinko SunTank 7.68 kWh
    • Jinko SunTank 10.24 kWh
    • Jinko SunTank 12.8 kWh

    LG Chem RESU 6.5

    • LG Chem RESU 6.5
    • LG Chem RESU 10
    • LG Chem RESU 12
    • LG Chem RESU Prime 10H
    • LG Chem RESU Prime 16H
    PowerPlus Energy LiFe Premium Series

    Pylontech Force L2 10.65 kWh

    • Pylontech Force L2 10.65 kWh
    • Pylontech Force L2 7.1 kWh
    • Pylontech US3000
    • Pylontech US2000B
    SolaX Triple Power 5.8

    SunGrow SBR HV 12.8 kWh

    • SunGrow SBR HV 12.8 kWh
    • SunGrow SBR HV 9.6 kWh
    • SunGrow SBR HV 16 kWh
    • SunGrow SBH200
    Zenaji Aeon SolarEdge Energy Bank

    Delta BX 6.3AC

    • Delta BX 6.3AC
    • Delta BX 6.3AC + BX6.3EX

    Sonnenbatterie Evo

    • Sonnenbatterie Evo
    • Sonnenbatterie Eco 9.43

    Alpha-ESS SMILE5 13.3 kWh

    • Alpha-ESS SMILE5 13.3 kWh
    • Alpha-ESS SMILE5 10.1 kWh
    • Alpha-ESS G3 10.1 kWh
    • Alpha-ESS T10
    • Alpha-ESS SMILE-B3-PLUS
    Eguana Evolve

    FIMER REACT 2 (4 kWh)

    • FIMER REACT 2 (4 kWh)
    • FIMER REACT 2 (8 kWh)
    • FIMER REACT 2 (12 kWh)

    RedEarth Sunrise 6.5kWh

    • RedEarth Sunrise 6.5kWh
    • RedEarth Sunrise 13kWh
    SOFAR PowerAll

    Soltaro AIO2 5kW / 5kWh

    • Soltaro AIO2 5kW / 5kWh
    • Soltaro AIO2 5kW / 2 x 5kWh
    • Soltaro AIO2 5kW / 3 x 5kWh
    • Soltaro AIO2 5kW / 10kWh
    • Soltaro AIO2 5kW / 20kWh
    Sunpower Reserve VARTA Pulse 6 LAVO Storage S2
    Manufacturer Logo Tesla Tesla BYD Dyness Enphase GenZ logo GoodWe Growatt Powerplus Energy Pylontech Solax Sungrow Zenaji solaredge-logo Delta Sonnnen Alpha-ESS Eguana Fimer RedEarth Soltaro Varta
    Product Image
    Price excl. installation (Estimated Retail pricing in AUD incl. GST, unless stated otherwise) Estimated: $12,100 including Gateway $12,100 (Price includes 'Tesla Gateway') $11,600 $6,600 $8,000 $8,400 $6,000 $2,500 $8,100 $9100 $14,520 $8000 $4,800 $3,550 $11,000 $4,625 $9,500 $3,000 $13,000 $5,280 inc. VPP hardware $12,000 $9,372 $14,500 $8341 $9,625 $4,910 $8,000 $13,000 $7,000 – $7,200 $10,914
    In Depth Analysis Pre-release impressions here. Yes, review here. Not yet. Yes, review here Not yet Not yet Not yet Not yet. Not yet Not yet. Yes, review here. Yes, review here. Yes, review here. Not yet. Not yet. Not yet Not yet. Yes,
    review here
    Yes, review here. Not yet Yes, review here. Not yet Not yet. Not yet Not yet. Not yet. Not yet Not yet Not yet Not yet
    Battery Type LFP Lithium Ion (NMC) Lithium-ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium-ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium-ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium-ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium-ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium-ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium-ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium-ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium ion (Lithium ion phosphate) Lithium-ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium-Ion (NMC) Lithium-Ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium-ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium Ion (NMC) Lithium-ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium Ion (Lithium Titanate) Lithium Ion (NMC) Lithium-Ion NMC Lithium-ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium-ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium Ion (NMC) Lithium-ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium Ion (NMC
    – LG battery modules)
    Lithium-ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium Ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Lithium Ion Phosphate Lithium-Ion (lithium-mananese-cobalt-oxide) Lithium-ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate)
    All In One Unit? Yes Kind of. Includes AC battery inverter but requires solar inverter. No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No Kind of. Includes AC battery inverter but requires solar inverter Kind of. Includes AC battery inverter but requires solar inverter. Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Nominal Storage 14 kWh 14 kWh 13.80 kWh 9.6kWh 6.14 kWh 5.0 kWh 5.12 kWh 3kWh (per module) 12.8 kWh 10.24 kWh 15 kWh 7.68 kWh 6.5 kWh 3.3 kWh 10.65 kWh 5.8 kWh 12.8 kWh 1.93kWh 10 kWh 6.32kWh 11 kWh 13.34 kWh 13kWh 4 kWh 6.5kWh 5.12 kWh 5kWh 10.1 kWh 6.5 kWh 10.2 kWh
    Usable Storage Capacity 13.5 kWh 13.5 kWh 13.80 kWh 9.6kWh 6.14 kWh 5.0 kWh 4.6 kWh 2.7kWh (per module) 12.8 kWh 9.21 kWh 15 kWh 6.90 kWh 5.9 kWh 2.64kWh 10.1 kWh  5.8 kWh 12.8 kWh 1.93kWh 9.7 kWh 6.17kWh 10 kWh 13.3 kWh 12.2kWh 3.8 kWh 5.2kWh 4.75 kWh 4.5kWh 9.6 kWh 6 kWh 9.7 kWh
    Features 6 MPPT's, higher output current Advanced safety features minimise fire risk, charges batteries from solar when grid is down, impressive warranty Expandable in increments of 2.76 kWh Can be used in both off-grid and hybrid setups, compact design, modular expansion Modular Modular Modular Modular and scalable. Modular, scaleable Modular Modular - expandable Modular Can be used in both off-grid and hybrid setups, compact size, modular expansion. Self-managed and infinitely stackable. Rack mountable. Modular Modular battery with scalability of capacity & charge/discharge power, higher charge & discharge power, Plug and play installation Modular, expandable 20 year warranty, low battery degradation over time, designed to handle multiple cycles per day. Modular expansion up to 30 kWh Module made in Japan. Advanced safety features minimise fire risk, charges batteries from solar when grid is down. No cooling fans or cooling pumps. System, cell and cabinet have multiple safety features. Expandable to twice storage capacity with plug and play second DC coupled battery. More Master batteries stackable using gateway. VPP ready, Made in Germany , IP 56 rated, integrated backup, can charge batteries from solar when grid is down UPS, fast response, 24/7 monitoring Modular, flexible, outdoor rated design for easy installation. Remote commissioning and troubleshooting with manufacturer support. Advanced auto-recovery controls avoid manual resets. Manufactured in South Australia. VPP-ready EMS Modular (up to 12 kWh total) Made in Australia (battery cells from LG Chem), Expandable design, VPP ready, quick install. Modular, expandable, 10ms switchover in blackout DC & AC Coupled, Standalone, Wall Mountable, Expandable, Indoor or Outdoor, Low Noise All-in-one Ease of installation through "plug and play", German designed and manufactured. Modular
    Weight 130kg 125kg 205 kg 113kg 98.5 kg 78 kg 64 kg 35kg 154 kg 140 kg 163.8 kg 84 kg 52kg 41kg 119 kg 72 kg 147 kg 36kg 108 kg 77kg 163 kg 148 kg 168kg 72 kg 130 kg 74.5 kg 79kg 110 kg 65kg 122 kg
    Power 9.6kW likely 5kW steady, 7kW peak (10 seconds) 7.6 kW 4.8kW 3.6 kW 3.84 kW 3 kW 3kW 8.96 kW 5 kW 5 kW 3.84 kW 4.2kW steady, 4.6kW peak (for 3 seconds) 3.3kW 5 kW 2.9kW 7.68 kW 2.4kW 5 kW 3kW steady 5kW steady , 5.3kW (for 30 min), 7kW peak (for 60 sec) 5 kW 5 kW steady, 6kW (30 minutes), 8.5kW (3 seconds). 2 kW 5kW 5 kW 2.56kW charge, 5.12kW discharge 5kW 2.5 kW 5 kW
    Dimensions (WHD) 60 cm x 110 cm x 18cm 75 cm x 115 cm x 15cm 1411 x 585 x 298 mm 92cm x 55cm x 21cm 1244 x 420 x 183 mm 980 x 550 x 188 mm 738 x 650 x 186 mm 42cm x 8.8cm x 57cm 600 × 871 × 380 mm 650 x 260 x 728 mm 670 x 150 x 1320 mm 650 x 260 x 547 mm 45cm x 65cm x 12cm 43cm x 8.8cm x 62cm  600 x 380 x 700 mm 474 x 193 x 708 mm 62 cm x 67 cm x 33 cm 160cm x 15cm x 14cm 790 x 1179 x 250 mm 570 x 840 x 250 mm 710mm x 1400mm x 427mm 610 x 1443 x 236 mm 110cm x 78cm x 40cm 740 mm x 490 mm x 229 mm (inverter) 740 mm x 490 mm x 229 mm (battery unit) 104 cm x 97 cm 54 cm 708 x 170 x 890 mm 54cm x 105cm x 22cm 610 mm x 1226 mm x 212 mm 60cm x 69cm x 19cm 730 x 203 x 1270 mm
    Round Trip Efficiency TBD 90% when new ≥96% TBD 94% 96% TBD 96% TBD TBD TBD TBD 95% >96% TBD 95% TBD 96% 93.3% 96% 95% 92.72% >90% AC->AC TBD TBD 97.70% 95% 96% TBD 95%
    Off-grid Capable? TBD Yes - but Tesla won't provide support for off-grid applications. Yes Yes TBD TBD No Yes TBD TBD Yes TBD Yes Yes TBD No Yes Yes No Yes (back-up built in) TBD Yes (back-up built in) Yes TBD No No Yes TBD No TBD
    Designed for indoor or outdoor installation? (IP rating) Indoor/Outdoor (IP 67 for battery and electronics, IP56 for wiring) Indoor/Outdoor (IP 67 for battery and electronics, IP56 for wiring) Indoor/outdoor (IP 55) Indoor/outdoor (IP 65) Indoor/Outdoor (IP 65) Indoor/Outdoor (IP55) Indoor/Outdoor (IP 65) Indoor (IP 50) Indoor/Outdoor (IP 55) Indoor/Outdoor (IP 65) Indoor/outdoor (IP 66) Indoor/Outdoor (IP 65) Indoor/Outdoor (IP 55) Indoor (IP40) Indoor/Outdoor (IP 55) IP55 Outdoor Indoor/outdoor (IP 55)  Indoor/Outdoor (IP 65) Indoor/outdoor (IP 55) Indoor/outdoor (IP 65) Indoor/Outdoor (IP 56) Indoor/Outdoor (IP65) Indoor/outdoor (IP34) Indoor (IP 54) Indoor/Outdoor IP43 Indoor/outdoor (IP 65) Indoor/Outdoor (IP65) Indoor/Outdoor (IP65) Indoor (IP33) Indoor/Outdoor (IP 65)
    Operating temperature range -20°C to 50°C -20°C to 50°C -10 °C to +50°C -20°C to 50°C Charge: 0°C to 45°C -20º C to 50º C 0°C~45°C 0°C to 55°C 0~50°C -10°C~+50°C -20-℃~ + 55℃ -10°C ~ 50°C -10°C to 45°C Charge 0°C to 55°C / Discharge -20°C to 60°C 0°C to 50°C 0°C to 55°C -30°C to 50°C -40°C to 60°C -10-℃~ + 50℃ -10 ~ 45 ℃ -10°C to 50 °C -10 °C ~ 50°C* -10ºC to 45ºC -20 +55°C 0°C-45°C -10 °C to +50°C -20°C to 55°C 0 to 50 °C 5°C to 45°C -20°C ~ 54°C
    Warranty 10 years assumed 10 years 10 years 10 years 10 years 15 years 7 years 10 years 10 years 10 years 10 years 10 years 60% capacity at 10 years or 20,000 kWh throughput whichever comes first 10 years 10 years 10 years 10 years 20 years 10 years 10 years 10 years or 10,000 cycles, whichever comes first 5 years product warranty, 10 years performance warranty 10 years 10 years 10 years 10 years 10 years 10 years 7 years (inverter), 10 years (battery) 10 years
    Battery capacity remaining at end of warranty 70% assumed 70% 60% 70% 80% 60% 60% 80% 70% 50% 60% 60% 60% 80% 55% 70% 60% 80% 70% 50% 80% 80% 60% 60% 60% 60% 70% 80% 60% TBD
    Compatible with what hybrid inverter brands? (Non-All In One units only) N/A N/A Fronius Goodwe, Victron, Imeon, Solis, Growatt N/A N/A N/A Any inverter brand that handles lead acid battery with the the right charging parameter to suit the self managed lithium module. Goodwe Growatt iStore Jinko LGES, Goodwe, Sungrow, SMA, Selectronic, Solis Any brand that can handle charging self managed lithium ion batteries (Selectronic, Victron, SMA SI, Outback, Schneider, Studer, etc) SolaX, Goodwe, Imeon, Selectronic, Redback, Sungrow SolaX only Sungrow Victron, Goodwe, Sungrow, Schneider SolarEdge AS4777.2.2015 compliant inverters up to 5kw AC single phase N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A NA N/A N/A N/A
    AC or DC coupled? (All In One systems only) DC coupled AC coupled DC coupled N/A AC Coupled AC Coupled N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A AC Coupled AC coupled AC/DC/Hybrid coupling available AC coupled Can be AC or DC coupled DC coupled DC Coupled DC coupled
    and AC coupled
    DC coupled AC coupled DC coupled
    Total warranted kWh (1 cycle per day) 37,800 assumed 37,800 42,690 26,800 22,411 27,375 14,500 9855 32,700 33,616 49,350 21,045 16,100 9636 36,865 21,170 46,720 14,089 35,405 19,800 36,500 24,272 19,200 13,870 18,980 17,337 16,425 35,040 16,100 35,405
    Warranted usable throughput per kWh 2.8 MWh 2.8 MWh 3.1 MWh 2.8 MWh 3.65 MWh 5.4 MWh 3.15 MWh 3.65 MWh 2.5 MWh 3.65 MWh 3.3 MWh 3.05 MWh 2.7 MWh 3.65 MWh 3.65 MWh 3.65 MWh 3.65 MWh 7.3 MWh 3.65 MWh 3.2 MWh 3.65 MWh 1.8 MWh 1.5 MWh 3.65 MWh 3.65 MWh 3.65 MWh 3.65 MWh 2.92 MWh 2.68 MWh 3.65 MWh
    Datasheet Supplied? TBD Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Warranty Supplied? TBD Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Cost per Total Warranted kWh (1 cycle per day) $0.36 $0.33 $0.27 (+ inverter cost) $0.25 (+ inverter cost) $0.36 $0.31 $0.51 $0.25 (+ inverter cost) $0.24 (+ inverter cost) $0.27 $0.29 (+ inverter cost) $0.38 (+ inverter cost) $0.30 (+ inverter cost) $0.37 (+ inverter cost) $0.30 (+ inverter cost) $0.22 (+ inverter cost)  $0.20 (+ inverter cost) $0.21 (+ inverter cost) $0.37 $0.31 (+ inverter cost) $0.32 $0.39 $0.37 $0.60 $0.51 $0.28 $0.43 $0.37 $0.48 $0.31
    Modern slavery statement or forced labour policies?

    Yes, here.

    Yes, here.

    Yes, here.

    Seemed confused with request for details.

    Yes, here.

    Yes, here.

    Yes, here.

    Yes, here

    Yes, here.

    Failed to respond TBD

    Yes, here.

    Yes, here.

    Yes, here.

    Yes, here

    Failed to respond

    Yes, here.

    Yes, here.

    Yes, here. Yes, here.

    Yes, here (covered under Shell's).

    Claims to have a plan to manage the risks, but details have not been provided.

    Failed to respond

    Yes, here.

    Yes, here. Awaiting response Yes, here.

    Yes, here.

    Failed to respond TBD
    More information on brand Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here

    What kind of spreadsheet would you like?

    • For Analysts

      One product per row, with no images

    • For Consumers

      (Easy to browse)

      One product per column, with product images

    See the glossary for an explanation of each row on the table.

    Which Solar Battery Is Best?

    Every year I ask over 500 Australian battery installers to vote on the best batteries in Australia based on reliability, performance and value. I trust their judgement because they install them and provide support for their 10+ year warranties. In 2024, they voted for the Tesla Powerwall and BYD batteries, with Sungrow and SolarEdge tied for third place.  You won’t go wrong if you get one of those installed by a good electrician, and you understand the payback. Other brands I can recommend are on this chart.

    Table Of Contents

    1. Solar Battery Prices
    2. Battery Savings & Payback
    3. Are Solar Batteries Worth it?
    4. Battery Rebates
    5. Blackout Protection With Batteries
    6. Why Your Battery Will Be Lithium-ion
    7. What Will They Look Like On Your Home?
    8. Australian Battery Standards
    9. Does It Matter Where I Live?
    10. Watch A Professional Battery Install

    Solar Battery Prices

    A decent-sized solar battery starts at about $10,000 before installation. The table above shows the hardware retail price1 for most home batteries in Australia as of February 2024.

    The price tag hinges on two key elements:

    • Energy storage capacity, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh)—more energy storage, higher cost. I don’t recommend buying a battery smaller than 10 kWh.
    • The brand reputation—because not all batteries are created equal.

    On top of the hardware cost, the batteries must be installed professionally. DIY electrical work is not allowed in Australia.

    What Does A Battery Cost To Install?

    A simple installation normally adds at least $1,500 to a quote. A complicated battery installation (longer cable run, bollards for a garage, fireproof backing, etc.) can be $3,000 or more.

    Cost Of An Installed Solar Battery (March 2024):

    Category Brand Model Capacity Approx Installed Cost
    Budget Alpha ESS Smile5 13.3 $11,000
    Mid-range Sungrow SBR 12.8 $14,000
    High-End Tesla Powerwall 13.5 $15,500

    (For more detail, check out my comprehensive guide to Australian solar battery prices.)

    With a solar battery setting you back at least $10,000 installed, the next question is— how quickly will those dollars return to your pocket?

    Solar Battery Savings And Payback Periods

    Battery payback can vary from ‘no-brainer’ to ‘not bloody worth it’ depending on factors including:

    • your solar array size,
    • your electricity usage,
    • your electricity tariff,
    • what battery you buy and how it’s installed.

    Be wary of aggressive sales tactics. Always do your research before making a decision. Don’t buy from door-knockers or unsolicited mailings.

    If you already have solar and want to know if adding a battery is worth it financially, my ‘add-a-battery calculator‘ is your go-to. Using your smart meter data, it’ll work out how much spare solar you have for charging and how much energy you use overnight to give you an accurate battery payback period.  

    But if you’d rather skip the number-crunching, I’ll walk you through some ballpark payback figures.

    For example, if you have a $15,500 Tesla Powerwall, the savings below are typical2.

    Tesla Powerwall Annual Savings: Flat rate Annual Savings: Time-of-use
    Best case savings $1232 $2616
    Best case payback 12.1 years 5.7 years
    More realistic savings $730 $1677
    More realistic payback 20.5 years 9 years

    You can see how payback depends heavily on the type of electricity tariff you have, so it’s worth explaining the two types of tariffs Australians are put on and how they affect battery payback so differently.

    Recent changes to SAA guidelines now allow for more flexible solar setups, which could improve your battery payback. Check out our latest blog post on these updates for more information.

    Flat rate tariffs & solar batteries

    In simple terms, a flat rate tariff means you’re charged the same price for electricity, no matter what time of day it is—usually around $0.35 for each unit of electricity (or kWh).

    With a solar battery, you can store solar energy during the day and use it at night. Each unit of stored solar energy you use saves you the cost of buying that unit from the grid. However, keep in mind that using your stored energy means you’re also missing out on the money you’d earn by sending that energy back to the grid—aka. the feed-in tariff.

    bar chart: 24 hours of flat rate electricity tariff

    A flat rate tariff charges one rate all day, every day.

    So, if you pay $0.35 for grid electricity and your FiT is $0.10, you save $0.25 per kWh of battery energy used at night.  Many people – and some dodgy sales folk – forget to subtract the foregone feed-in-tariff when calculating their savings.

    Time-of-use-tariffs & solar batteries

    Time-of-use (ToU) tariffs have two or more rates, the most expensive being in the late afternoon and evening when electricity can be as high as $0.75 per kWh. Most of your battery savings will come from avoiding this peak pricing.

    Some ToU tariffs charge as little as $0.08 for daytime electricity, so you can top up your battery cheaply, even if there is not enough solar power available.

    With some ToU tariffs, late-night rates can be around 20 cents cheaper than in the morning.  On these plans, you can top up your battery overnight to ride through the morning peak.

    bar chart: a tou electricity tariff over 24 hours

    This time-of-use tariff has four different rates. Most only have two or three rates.

    Some compellingly cheap time-of-use tariffs are only available to owners of specific brands. e.g. Energy Locals’ Tesla Energy Plan is for Powerwall owners only, and Arcstream’s tariff requires a Q-Cells battery

    Getting Clever: Playing The Wholesale Market

    One electricity retailer (Amber) exposes you to wholesale electricity pricing that varies every fifteen minutes. The price can go up to $19 per kWh – which is terrible if you need to use grid electricity – but great for selling back to the grid.

    On the flip side, prices can go so low they go negative, which means you get penalised for exporting energy and paid to use energy (a great time to charge a battery). It’s a high-stakes game for serious players only. But if you want to play it, I know people who have made over $2,000 in one year using Amber tariffs.

    bar chart: wholesale price exposed tariff over 24 hours

    This is what a day might look like on a wholesale-exposed plan such as Amber Electric. Every day is unique, with a different price every 30 minutes. Exciting stuff.

    Now you know how batteries save you money, we can answer the $10,000 question…

    Are Solar Batteries Worth It?

    On a flat tariff – not so much.

    As you can see in the table above – a 12-year payback with a Powerwall on a flat tariff is typical. In my experience, that’s too long for most, although you can improve your payback by getting a rebate, joining a VPP, optimising your tariff or buying a cheaper battery (but don’t go too cheap).

    But on a time-of-use tariff, it’s much better.

    If you are on a time-of-use tariff and can get a 5-6 year payback, home energy storage starts to look like a good investment – especially if you value any of these bonus reasons for investing in a battery:

    • Protection from blackouts
    • Being green (by supporting a more renewable grid)
    • Revenge (you hate energy companies)
    • Love (you love owning the latest tech)

    I’ve written a detailed answer to ‘Are Solar Batteries Worth It?‘, which considers where you live, what tariff you are on, and what local VPPs are available to you.

    Battery Rebates

    Battery rebates make batteries cheaper, improving payback.

    Government Battery Rebates? NT only

    There is no federal battery rebate. The only state/territory rebates are:

    Subsidised Battery Loans

    VPP Rebates

    Local government subsidies aren’t the only way to get a cheaper battery. Some virtual power plants give you an upfront discount on a new battery:

    VPP Battery Subsidy Eligible Areas
    Origin Loop $1,500 SYD, BRIS, MELB, GOLD COAST metros (50km radius)
    Tesla/SA Govt Free Powerwall Housing SA properties only
    Simply Energy $800 SA, VIC, NSW, QLD
    SolarHub $4,950 Specific NSW Council areas

    The downside is you lose control of your battery, and it is is worked harder – which will likely shorten its lifespan.

    Nerd Fact:A Virtual Power Plant (VPP) is a collection of internet-connected residential batteries controlled by an energy company. This army of batteries charge and discharge in unison to support the grid.

    Pro-tip: My Virtual Power Plant comparison table details every VPP available in the country.

    I’ve been talking a lot about costs and returns, but let’s not lose sight of another massive perk—resilience. In an age of wild weather and unpredictable blackouts, a solar battery can be your home’s safety net, keeping the lights on when the grid throws in the towel.

    You’ll be surprised to learn that not all batteries come with backup, and not all backup is equal. Here’s what you need to know if blackout protection is important to you…

    Blackout-Proofing Your Home: What To Look For

    House with backup battery power during blackout

    Finn’s house during a blackout

    Most solar batteries available in Australia promise to keep you powered up during a blackout. But not all are created equal. Here are the must-know features that could make or break your blackout resilience:

    • Backup Current: Measures how many gadgets and appliances you can keep running simultaneously.
    • Surge Current: Check if the battery can handle the initial power spike when you start up an appliance.
    • Switchover Time: The momentary blackout you’ll experience when switching from grid to battery—this can range from milliseconds to a few minutes.
    • Solar Charging Without the Grid: Some systems cut off your solar charging capabilities when the grid’s down—watch out for this.
    • Failsafe Design: If the battery’s inverter goes kaput, will it mess with your regular grid supply?

    An experienced installer is your best mate in navigating these intricacies. And remember, if you’re eyeing a budget battery, scrutinising these features is even more crucial.

    Pro-tip: Some cheaper battery systems can interrupt the grid power to your essential circuits if the inverter hardware fails. Always install a $100 battery bypass switch to override it and keep the lights on if there’s a problem.

    Whole Home Backup

    Buying a battery system to back up an entire Australian home costs big dollars. I recommend saving thousands by choosing a handful of essential circuits and backing those up. For example:

    • Fridge (no one likes spoiled food)
    • Lights (for obvious reasons)
    • A few sockets, including one for your internet router (stay connected)
    • Small air conditioner (because our summers are no joke)

    By zeroing in on these essentials, you’ll get the most bang for your buck and still keep things civilised when the grid goes down.

    The Lowdown on Lithium-ion Batteries

    Wondering why Lithium-ion is the go-to for solar batteries? Let’s delve into that next.

    Almost all grid-connected solar batteries in Australia are lithium-ion because they:

    ✅ store more energy by weight and volume

    ✅ are higher power by weight and volume (can charge and discharge faster)

    ✅ are more efficient – typically only losing 10% of energy when charged and then discharged

    ✅ are maintenance-free

    The biggest disadvantage of Lithium-ion batteries is:

    ❌ in the unlikely event they catch fire, they burn like hell

    Types Of Lithium-ion Solar Battery

    Unless you want to go mega niche, you can choose from 3 types of  solar batteries (all sub-types of lithium-ion):

    • NMC
    • LFP
    • LTO
    Lithium-ion sub-type Battery Brands Pros Cons
    Nickel Manganese Cobalt: NMC3 Tesla Powerwall 2, LG Chem, SolarEdge, Q-Cells

    High capacity.

    High power.

    Less capacity loss in the first year.

    Catch fire more easily

    Lithium Iron Phosphate: LFP BYD, Sungrow, Enphase, Goodwe, Alpha ESS, and most other brands on the Australian market

    Catch fire less easily.

    ~32% cheaper4.

    Life = ~15% longer than NMC5.

    Lower capacity than NMC.

    Lose more capacity in the first year.

    Lithium Titanate Oxide: LTO Zenaji

    Lasts ~twice as long as NMC or LFP.

    One of the safest lithium chemistries

    Lowest capacity6.

    Most expensive.

    Niche manufacturer.

    Fun-Fact: The SolarEdge Home Battery uses Lithium-ion NMC cells and has a built-in automatic fire extinguisher.

    Insider-tip: The Powerwall 2 is an NMC battery, but Tesla has started shipping the Powerwall 3 in the USA with LFP battery cells and an integrated solar inverter – making it a true all-in-one battery system (see below).

    What Will A Solar Battery Look Like On Your Home?

    Your solar battery’s aesthetics will depend on whether it is:

    • an all-in-one system
    • a separate battery and inverter
    • a Powerwall 2 (which is a mixture of the above)

    All-In-One Battery Systems

    An all-in-one solar battery system contains almost everything you need in one big box:

    • battery
    • battery inverter
    • solar inverter
    • backup switchover

    In the marketing materials, you’ll see them with zero wires attached. Reality is not as neat:

    marketing vs real-life battery install

    In reality, you need isolating switches, power, comms cables, warning stickers and – if in a garage – a bollard. Install: JCW Electrical

    Separate Battery & Inverter

    A separate battery and battery inverter won’t look as tidy as a well-installed all-in-one, but a good installer can keep everything neat:

    Battery and hybrid inverter installation

    A separate Battery (bottom) and hybrid solar/battery inverter (top). Note the use of ducting and hard conduit to keep it neat. The grey box is a small switchboard for backup circuits and breakers.

    Tesla Powerwall 

    The Powerwall is almost an all-in-one. The big white Tesla box contains the battery and battery inverter. But it also needs a smaller ‘gateway box’, and your solar panels need a separate solar inverter. A good installer can make it look neat, but not quite as neat as the marketers want you to believe:

    tesla powerwall marketing shot vs real-life installation

    In real-In real life, your Powerwall needs a Gateway box (top left) and a solar inverter (top right). The battery inverter is combined with the battery, and the isolating switch is behind the white panel on the left with the stickers on it.

    Alright, so you’ve got a mental picture of your future solar battery. The next step? Figuring out where this beast can live in your home. Keep in mind, Australia’s got some of the toughest rules globally when it comes to placement.

    Australia’s Strict Battery Standards

    Australia has strict standards for how and where batteries are installed – specifically Australian Standard AS5139. You don’t need to understand the electrical details, that’s the sparky’s job – but you do need to know how it affects where you can put it.

    For example, places you can’t put a battery include:

    • within 600mm of a window
    • under the floor of a habitable room
    • on a wall shared with a habitable room without a ‘non-combustible’ barrier

    And you definitely can’t put one in your dining room, like some battery brochures would have you believe:

    soltaro battery installation

    Don’t do this. Image: Soltaro battery brochure

    Does It Matter Where You Live When Buying A Battery?

    Australia’s a big country, and where you live can effect which battery is best for you…


    The closer you live to Melbourne or Hobart, the lower your annual solar production, so you’ll need a larger solar system to reliably charge a battery all year.

    At the other extreme, heat is the #1 thing that will shorten your battery’s life. So keep it cool if you live in a particularly sunburnt part of Australia, and check its ambient temperature range in the battery comparison table at the top of this page before buying.

    Electricity Tariffs

    ‘Solar sponge’ electricity plans, which can turbocharge battery payback, and allow you to charge cheaply from the grid on low solar days are only available in WA, SA and QLD.  But they’re likely to appear in other states soon.


    Certain government battery rebates, interest-free loans, or Virtual Power Plants are area-specific.

    Grid Connection Rules Around Battery Inverters

    Some local DNSPs (Distributed Network Service Providers), like Essential Energy, still make it hard to add a battery inverter if you already have a solar inverter. A good local installer will be all over these rules.

    Watch A Professional Solar Battery Install

    A solar battery installation usually takes two people one day. Here’s exactly what’s involved:

    Useful Battery Tools

    Solar & Battery Calculator

    My solar & battery calculator estimates the savings and payback of solar and batteries for your situation. Crucially, it separates out the solar and the battery savings, so you can decide if home energy storage is worth the extra dollars.

    Add a Battery Calculator

    If you already own a solar panel system but want to calculate the potential savings of adding a battery, you can use my “Add a battery” calculator.

    Battery Reviews

    Read expert solar battery reviews and browse customer reviews for most battery brands sold in Australia.

    Hybrid Inverter Comparison Table

    Installing a hybrid inverter to control both your solar panels and your solar battery can save you money because you only need one expensive (~$2000) inverter. Here is a table comparing all hybrid inverters we know of available in Australia. If you choose one of these for your solar installation, adding batteries can be cheaper and easier in the future.

    Battery 101 Guides

    Understanding Batteries 101: This is a more in-depth guide aimed at technical understanding of home batteries, delving into how they work and comparing different technologies like lead-acid and lithium-ion. It also explains the difference between power and energy in the context of batteries and discusses integrating a battery with a solar system using AC or DC coupling.

    Buying Batteries 101: If you are serious about buying a solar battery – you should read this guide (or watch the video) so you can go toe to toe with any salesperson and get the right battery system at the right price.

    Owning Batteries 101: Once your solar battery is installed, here’s what you need to know for a decade or two of cheap, secure power.


    What Size Solar Battery Do I Need?

    If you are on a single-rate tariff, you want enough capacity to get you from sunset to sunrise. If you are on a Time-Of-Use tariff,  you must get through the evening peak – typically 4 pm – 10 pm. You can usually see your hourly usage through your electricity retailer’s online portal.

    Remember that most battery owners keep a 20% ‘reserve margin’ on top of that in case of a blackout. So a 10 kWh battery would have 2 kWh reserved for blackouts and 8 kWh for powering your home.

    Some prefer to maximise the financial return from their batteries by not setting a reserve.  There will usually be some energy in the battery when a blackout occurs but runs the risk you’ll wind up sitting in the dark.

    Smaller batteries cost more per kWh of usable storage.  This means you may be better off getting a larger one despite your low electricity usage.

    Here’s an even more detailed answer: How many solar batteries do you need?

    Should I Go Off-Grid?

    If you have access to a grid connection, do not go off-grid. Grid-connected solar and battery systems start at around $11,000. Dependable off-grid systems for typical Australian homes start at around $60,000 and require regular checks, careful energy management and generator backup.

    How Big Is A Solar Battery?

    The size of home batteries depends on their energy capacity and their ‘specific energy’, which measures how much capacity they can squeeze into a given volume. If space is an issue, Tesla and Sungrow make space-efficient batteries, whereas the Enphase solution is bloody huge. More details on battery dimensions here.

    How Long Do Batteries Last?

    A study in the journal Energies says in moderate climates (20-32°C) with daily use, lithium batteries should last 14-16 years. In climates up to 40°C, expect 12-14 years. Warranties range from less than two years (if you read the small print on some cheap batteries) to 15 years for NMC and LFP batteries and 20 years for more expensive LTO chemistry. More details on how long batteries last here.

    Those who join the Tesla Energy Plan VPP and stick with it will have their Powerwall 2 warranty extended by 5 years.  This suggests Tesla expects their home batteries to last at least 15 years.

    Which Solar Battery Is Best In Australia?

    Every year, I survey our network of ~600 installers and ask them. In 2023, Tesla won the best battery, followed by BYD and Sungrow.

    best batteries 2023

    Can Solar Batteries Be Recycled?

    Yes. Home battery recycling is an emerging industry – because there are not many at the end of their life yet – but the technology exists to recycle over 90% of a home battery. When yours finally dies, contact your installer or the manufacturer for details.

    Can Solar Batteries Catch Fire?

    Yes. Although extremely unlikely, I’m not gonna lie. If a lithium-ion solar battery catches fire, it will burn ferociously and can release nasty gases, which may include phosphorus pentafluoride, phosphoryl fluoride and hydrofluoric acid vapours.  

    You do not want to breathe these in – so evacuate the area and contact emergency services. Remain upwind and notify those downwind. No one should go near a smoking or burning home battery without full protective equipment, including Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA).

    I’ve written a whole page on home battery safety if you are concerned.

    I’m On A Legacy 40c+ Feed-In Tariff. Should I Get A Battery?

    NO! A battery will only lose money if your feed-in tariff exceeds your usage tariff.

    Do Insurers Cover Home Batteries?

    Yes. They usually go on your home insurance, not your contents insurance, because they are hardwired into your home. Just call your insurers and let them know you’ve added a home battery.

    I Have 3-Phase Power. Do I Need A 3-Phase Battery?

    No. You can happily use a single-phase battery on one phase of a three-phase home, but there are some 3-phase battery details you should know.

    What Is A ‘Battery-Ready’ Solar System?

    A ‘battery-ready’ solar system is a grid-connected solar power system designed for easy future integration of batteries.


    Battery Comparison Table Rows

    Price: Our best retail price estimate includes GST. For the required hardware only.

    Battery Type: Either LFP, NMC or LTO. See here for an explanation of the differences.

    All-in-one-unit: See here for a pictorial explanation of the difference between an all-in-one, a separate battery and inverter and a Powerwall.

    Nominal Storage: How many kWh a battery can store in theory. In practice, most won’t let you use all their energy capacity in order to prolong their lifespan.

    Usable Storage Capacity: How many kWh you can store in a battery in practice.

    Power (kW): The speed at which a battery can charge and discharge. Check yours doesn’t limit this in backup mode.

    Round Trip Efficiency: When you put a kWh in, how much do you get back out? Typically 90%.

    Ambient temperature range: What air temperature is the battery rated for? If it gets too cold or too hot, performance can take a hit, or the warranty can be reduced, or both.

    Off-grid capable: Does the manufacturer warrant the battery for off-grid?

    IP Rating: How well sealed from the elements is the battery? Can it go outside?

    Compatible Hybrid Inverters: A hybrid inverter is required for some battery systems – these are compatible ones. A hybrid inverter can also manage your solar panels – potentially saving a couple of thousand bucks.

    Warranty: the headline warranty – before caveats. Sometimes this is shortened depending on how hard you work the battery.

    Battery capacity remaining at end of warranty: This is how much of the original capacity you can pull from the battery under warranty. For example, a 10kWh battery that warrants 70% capacity at the end of 10 years would give you 7kWh.

    Warranty length (1 cycle per day): How long is the warranty if you fully discharge the battery every day? Those on a flat tariff rarely cycle theirs more than once per day.

    Warranty length (1.5 cycles per day): If you fully discharge the battery  1.5 times every day, How long is the warranty? This is typical for time-of-use tariffs where you charge during the day to get through the evening peak, and then again at night to get through the morning peak.

    Cost Per Warranted kWh: 1 Cycle Per Day: If the cycled once per day, this is how much each warranted kilowatt-hour of stored electricity will cost. It exposes good and bad warranties.

    Modern Slavery/Forced Labour:  Does the manufacturer have policies addressing modern slavery/forced labour risks.

    Home Battery Quotes

    If you’re ready to buy a solar battery, I can help you get quotes for quality home energy storage systems from pre-vetted installers quickly and easily:

    1. This is our best estimate of the retail cost, including GST.
    2. Assumptions: 90% roundtrip efficiency with no capacity loss.  In both the best case and more realistic situations, the flat rate usage tariff is $0.32 per kWh and the solar feed-in tariff is $0.07.  With a flat rate in the best-case situation, the battery is only charged with solar energy and is fully charged/discharged every day. In the more realistic case, the battery is not fully charged from solar in winter and not fully discharged every day.  With a time-of-use tariff in the best-case situation, the rates are super off-peak (daytime) $0.08, shoulder rate $0.33, morning rate $0.51, evening rate $0.75, and the solar feed-in tariff is $0.07.  It’s also assumed it is fully charged with solar energy during the day and the off-peak rate is used to top up on cloudy days.  In the more realistic case, the time-of-use tariffs are off-peak $0.16, shoulder $0.28, peak $0.55, and the solar feed-in tariff is $0.07.  The battery is charged with off-peak electricity if needed.
    3. Most likely a mixture of NMC, NCA & LCO – source Powerwall MSDS.
    4. LFP cells were 32% cheaper than lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) cells in 2023.
    5. Hector Beltran, Pablo Ayuso, and Emilio Pérez, Lifetime Expectancy of Li-Ion Batteries Used for Residential Solar Storage
    6. Source: Battery University
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