Origin Energy Backing Pretty Pricey Plug-In Battery – Orison Panel

Orison Panel plugin battery

A battery system you can simply plug in to an electrical outlet and take with you when you move house has gained backing from Australia’s Origin Energy.

Orison is a US-based company developing a modular energy storage system named Panel that can be mounted on any wall “or concealed behind furniture and appliances”. Installation by an electrician isn’t required as it just plugs in to a wall socket like most other electrical appliances in your home.

The Panel is designed to store energy when electricity is cheap and discharge when rates are higher. In the case of households with solar power systems, the battery can store solar energy during the day and discharge at night, or when otherwise required. The Panel can also provide some backup power in the case of a blackout.

Added July 3: The Orison website states:

“During a power outage, an Orison storage unit isolates itself from the home circuit and supplies power directly to devices plugged into its UPS port.”

A single Panel module has 2.2 kWh capacity and a 1.8kW continuous power rating. Up to an additional five Panel+ units can be added to the primary Orison Panel device for a maximum storage capacity of 13.2kWh per main device.

After around 7 years in development, which included a Kickstarter program that had what turned out to be an optimistic delivery date of 2016, Orison says the Panel is just about ready for prime time.

Orison was a participant in Free Electrons, an energy startup accelerator program co-founded by Origin Energy. Origin has also recently become an investor in the company and announced yesterday it is looking to offer Orison batteries exclusively in the Australian market “sometime in the near future”.

Orison Panel Plug-In Battery Simple Payback

While Origin hasn’t mentioned Panel pricing at this point, the Orison website indicates a cost of USD $2,499 including the energy monitor (USD $300) through direct purchase. At current exchange rates, that works out to around AUD $3,600.

For solar owners and based on an Adelaide example with mains grid electricity costs of 35c per kilowatt hour (imports) and forgoing a feed-in tariff of 14.5c per kilowatt hour (exports) to charge the battery, the Orison Panel will save 20.5c per kilowatt hour.

Assuming the Orison Panel is cycled once per day, the battery will save around $165 per year and simple payback works out to more than 21 years. The Orison Panel is accompanied by a 10-year/5,000 cycle warranty, so the payback period is likely far longer than the battery will last.

For some solar owners, the reassurance of backup power may override the fact that currently in most circumstances a battery with this feature (whether it’s an Orison Panel or another system) simply won’t pay for itself within the warranty period. In the case of the Orison Panel, its backup capabilities are also pretty limited unless extra modules are added; increasing the cost.

On a related note – if you’re going solar and also considering having energy storage installed at the same time, check out SolarQuotes’ solar and battery calculator. It will show your overall payback, but also how savings are affected by a battery and solar panels separately. The calculator can also be used by solar owners to determine estimated simple payback on adding a battery to an existing PV system.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. “The Panel can also provide backup power in the case of a blackout.”

    Sounds like a lineworker’s worst nightmare. 4777?

    • Finn Admin says

      It only provides backup to devices plugged into it directly. If the grid goes down it does not send backup power into the house’s mains wiring.

    • You would think the ‘panel’ would have a dedicated in lead (from Wall) and a built in GPO for blackout power, so you can plug directly in with the TV for instance.

      This would create an automatic anti-island from the grid.

      “But what’s stopping people making a $15 male-male extension from bunnings”? You ask. Answer, Darwin’s theory or hopefully an over limit protection that blows a non-replaceable fuse…

    • Michael/Finn,
      Could you please update the article to remove ‘(added: we’re still not clear how the blackout feature works; i.e. whether devices need to be directly plugged into the unit)’ as per Finn’s clarification above.

      I only scrolled down to the comments because I had already read the Renew Economy article (30/6/20) that states ‘In the case of an outage, the battery can not island the home, but can still power devices that are plugged into it’.

      • Michael Bloch says

        Thanks for flagging this Rod. I wasn’t totally clear on how the backup feature worked and contacted Orison about it. I didn’t hear back, but I dug around on the Orison site again this morning and found the answer in their FAQs. The article has been updated.

  2. Tom Morley says

    Hi Michael
    Thanks for this and all your other articles.
    Where it says “1.8kWh” continuous power rating” might it be meant to say “1.8kW”?

  3. Chris Thaler says

    Without prejudice,

    Beware of any Origin offerings as they hold back some pertinent facts. I recently had a 3.2 Kw system installed, via Origin, and was assured I would only be charged for any power in excess of my actual metered usage. Not quite true as I find I am producing in excess of 10KWh over 24 hour day yet still being charged approx. 6KWh of grid supply despite my daily usage being around 6-8KWh per 24 hour day. Something about $0.08 for ‘exports’ and $0.24 for ‘imports’. I am paying for my exported energy to return via the grid.

    • And never overlook the ‘service-to-property’ charge! Sort of like some sleazy car-saleman selling you an expensive car……. and then charging you (a variable-at-will) extra sum for a set of wheels!
      … And apart from that, have a close-up read of the ‘Terms and Conditions’/ Privacy Policy’ of Origin and the rest of ’em. Sell your soul and ALL your private information held ANYwhere~ and accept change of conditions ~ including prices ~ about which you can do nothing. YeahI Right!………. It’s no wonder so many Australian consumers are football fans!
      ps… If any of you are interested in buying a Coat-Hanger- shaped bridge at a discount, and wow all your neighbours, bring your money around to my place. (Small unmarked notes only, please.)

    • Your expectation seems to be that they were going to provide a free battery service for you. That is, you export power during the day – they store it for you – and then get it back at night for no charge.
      A better way to look at the process is not to average things out over 24 hours but what is happening every minute (and probably they do it every millisecond). So for each individual minute you look at whether you were net importing power (ie using more than you were producing) or net exporting power (ie using less than you were producing) power. And then that’s the bill for the minute. Net export gets you whatever the export rate is (in your comment $0.08/KWh), and net import is what ever that rate is ($0.24/KWh). then add up all the individual outcomes of all the minutes.

  4. Mark Byrne says

    $3600 for 2 hours of guilt-free space heating in winter for 10 years? I’d pay for that.

  5. Well DOH!. I put together a system like that years ago ~ and operated the switching manually, to suit, which saves on a lot of complicated and expensive bullshit.
    As for :- “a battery with this feature (whether it’s an Orison Panel or another system) simply won’t pay for itself within the warranty period.” the above set-up will EASILY pay for itself IF you use L/A battery-banks (as mentioned before) bought at something UNDER $2 per Amp (say $160 per kW) with an unconditional 3-year warranty. (and an expected 5-year life if it’s sized to get a smallish DOD.
    As always:- KISS!

  6. We bought a good 5kw genie from trade tools which I use around the farm and if the power goes out we turn the mains off and it connects in with 20 amp plug to the house. A lot cheaper

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