The Basics: How does solar power work in Australia?
In Australia, the overwhelming majority of household solar power systems are connected to the grid and do not include a solar battery.
Having a grid-connected system allows you to remain connected to the grid and purchase power during nighttime and cloudy days. Your solar inverter will seamlessly work with the grid power to utilize all available solar power before drawing any power from the grid. Additionally, grid-connected solar systems provide the option to sell power back to the grid. Disconnecting from the grid entirely is typically not practical or financially feasible.
An off-grid system is a self-sufficient power source that combines solar panels and batteries to provide 24/7 power, without relying on a connection to the grid. This type of system is more common in remote, rural areas of Australia, where it can cost over $50,000 to connect to the grid. In these cases, installing a standalone solar and battery system to power a new home may be a more economically and environmentally sound choice. Although there is a substantial initial cost, typically starting at around $25,000, the system will provide free power for its lifetime.
A hybrid solar system is a grid-connected setup that includes a solar battery to store excess solar energy for use during times when there is no solar power, such as at night. Solar batteries offer a reliable backup power source and the ability to make better use of your solar power. However, their current cost does not provide a strong return on investment. In a recent analysis of 48 scenarios across all states in Australia, none showed a payback period of less than 8 years, with most scenarios being over 20 years. Given that the typical lifespan of a modern battery is 10 years, it’s not surprising that fewer than 1 in 10 households currently choose to install a battery with their solar system.