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Choosing a battery to suit your needs

When choosing a battery for your home, think about how you want to use it.

For example, you may want to:

  • store and use your solar energy (instead of exporting excess power to the grid)
  • provide back-up power during a blackout (this may require special wiring and you may need a different inverter)
  • buy and store energy at (cheaper) off-peak times and use your battery during (expensive) peak periods
  • power your entire home (i.e. go off grid)
  • use a renewable energy source and your battery energy storage if it is expensive to connect to the electricity grid, or the electricity grid is not available.

It will also be helpful to consider:

  • how much electricity you currently use
  • what time of day you use it
  • the tariffs you are charged to buy electricity from the grid
  • the size of your solar system (if you have one).

After gathering this information, use the checklist below to help you choose the type and size of battery that will best suit your needs.

Solar with storage: case study video

This video explains more about choosing the right sized battery for your needs and how battery storage can work with a solar system to save money on electricity costs. A video transcript is available on YouTube, under the 'More actions' menu.

Disclaimer

Checklist

Before choosing a battery, you should:

  • read about the types of battery energy storage available
  • including maintenance and disposal
  • check with your installer and/or electricity distributor before agreeing to buy a battery system - connecting your battery to the electricity grid may require approval (this depends on what has already been approved by the distributor, as some may have approval for battery ready systems and then install the battery at a later date)
  • check the licence and accreditation details of any electrical contractor involved in the installation
  • read the battery manufacturer's technical and safety information, including installation location/requirements
  • if you already have solar on your roof, ask if you need your current inverter replaced or a second inverter installed to retrofit the battery to your system.

Finding an installer

When looking for an installer, you should ask:

  • Is the installer a registered/licensed electrical contractor in Queensland?
  • What battery design and installation accreditation does your installer hold? This is different from their qualifications and accreditation to install solar.
  • How much experience does your electrical contractor have designing and installing battery storage systems?
  • Does your installer work for a reputable business that will be around long term in case you have warranty issues?

A good place to start is the Clean Energy Council's register of accredited installers. The Council is currently developing guidelines and an accreditation regime for grid connected battery storage system design and installation.

Questions to ask your installer

Ask your installer the following questions:

  • What is the length and what are the terms of the battery warranty?
  • What maintenance regime is required under the terms of the warranty?
  • If problems arise with the battery, who is responsible for conducting repairs or replacement under the warranty?
  • What happens to the warranty if the supplier goes out of business?
  • Do they provide an optional service agreement to maintain/service the battery system regularly?
  • What performance guarantees do they offer for the battery system?
  • What workmanship and product guarantees do they offer?
  • How long has the product manufacturer or importer been making batteries? Do they have an Australian office?
  • What safety hazards relate to the battery technology and how does their installation address the safety hazards?
  • Does the battery comply with standards for safety and performance?
  • Has there been independent accredited testing and certification of the batteries and other components?
  • Do they check their products to ensure the quality is ok and the batteries are the same as those tested by the manufacturer?
  • Can the manufacturer track down batteries by batch number if they find a quality assurance fault, to rectify the issue?
  • Does the installer register the batteries installed with the battery supplier/manufacturer?
  • Do they or the battery supplier have Australian recall insurance or can they prove that they can afford to conduct a recall?
  • Do they install components (other than the battery) from reputable suppliers who have Australian certification, or adequate testing, for their components and have recall insurance (or can afford to conduct a recall if needed)?
  • Where do they locate the batteries so as to not inconvenience the home owner, and prevent inadvertent access or damage?