Solar batteries: how far they’ve come, and where they’re going next
Solar panels and batteries have seen a surge in popularity over the last decade, as technology rapidly evolves and consumers demand for a clean energy future. With prices dropping and governments injecting financial incentives across Australia, rooftop solar is becoming more of an expectation rather than a luxury choice, and solar batteries aren’t far behind.
So, what’s changed? And why should you invest in a solar battery now?
A brief history
While lead-acid batteries, the oldest example of a rechargeable battery, have been around for over 100 years, it was in 1980 when rechargeable batteries took a giant leap forward with the invention of lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries are more compact, lighter, require lower maintenance, with greater storage capacity. In 1991, big tech-giant, Sony, produced the first commercial rechargeable battery, changing the tech market forever. With rechargeable batteries came the introduction of mobile phones, laptops, hybrid and electric vehicles, and now – residential solar batteries.
In just the last eight years, lithium-ion battery technology advanced yet again with household battery storage systems. This has allowed home owners to make better use of their rooftop solar systems, reduce their reliance on the regulated electricity grid, or go off grid entirely.
Smaller, more capacity, and cheaper
Solar batteries are evolving faster than ever before. In 2015, Tesla launched the anticipated Powerwall 1.0, the leading household solar battery system at the time. Less than a year later, they launched the Powerwall 2.0, with double the battery storage capacity, at the same price.
Other well-known household names, such as Samsung and Sony, have also followed in Tesla’s footsteps, manufacturing quality household solar battery systems that are accessible and efficient for consumers. While household solar batteries were virtually unknown ten years ago, they have quickly become a readily available consumer product, just like its rooftop counterpart.
What does the future hold?
The variable nature of wind and solar energy means that batteries are of the utmost importance, with its ability to store energy quite literally for a rainy day. The innovation continues here in Australia – now home to the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery – as scientists uncover new, efficient, and sustainable battery storage technology.
Rapid technology advancement will continue to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of household solar batteries. We are already seeing many different types of solar batteries outside of your standard lead-acid and lithium-ion ones. More common ones include the liquid-based flow battery that can be almost instantly recharged, and sodium nickel chloride batteries, favoured for their range of environmental and safety benefits.
While lithium-ion remains the leader, batteries are evolving fast so it’s likely we’ll have more choice in the market over the next decade.
There’s never been a better time
We’re already seeing solar batteries in action all over Australia, both residentially and commercially. In Victoria, we’ll be seeing up to 10,000 households with new solar battery systems installed over the next 12 months, with the second round of the Solar Homes program commencing on 1 July, 2019. The package provides rebates of up to $4,839 on a new solar battery system, saving households thousands of dollars in upfront costs.
And it’s not just in Victoria – many of our state governments are leading in this space, providing financial incentives to install solar batteries in homes and businesses all across Australia. So, there’s really never been a better time.
This article was first published on www.knowyourbattery.com.au