Australia is quickly becoming one of the leading markets for residential energy storage.
There are a few key reasons for why this enthusiastic uptake of home batteries is happening:
- Australians already love solar power. Government incentives over the last 10 years have helped enable the installations of more than one million residential solar roofs. So, solar PV technology is in just about every neighborhood.
- Australians use a lot of energy with a significant portion driven by air conditioning loads.
- Some generous solar feed-in tariffs (rates of up to 60 cents/kWh for all energy created) have now come to an end. This means that for many households excess solar generation is now earning them very little.
Additionally, solar-plus-energy-storage can reduce the dependency on the grid and enable backup power solutions. Protection from electricity outages has recently become more of a focus since 1.7 million South Australians were left without power for nearly 12 hours during a network outage created by severe storms in September of 2016. A recent install of Fusion Power Systems’ Titan SmartStorage system featuring Aquion batteries enabled one homeowner to be the only house with the lights on during a power outage in the first week of ownership.
As Australian consumers deliberate a variety of home battery storage technologies, safety concerns about lithium-ion batteries (most recently, issues with Samsung phones) have given many cause to consider the safer Aquion AHI technology.
This was the case for a property in Dalkeith, Perth which installed nine Aquion batteries in a three-phase set-up to increase utilization of their solar whilst using the most sustainable and safest battery available.
The data for this home from December 2016 show that grid-purchased energy has been reduced to less than 5% of the total energy consumption, with solar and battery providing more than 95%.
Figure 1: Christmas Day 2016 energy balance as shown by SMA Sunny Portal. System installed by Unlimited Energy.
The results were even better at another home with 10 Aquion batteries in Joondalup, Perth. Here, batteries enabled
renewables to make up 98.5% of the energy mix for the month of November.
Figure 2: Monthly energy mix data from SMA Sunny Portal, installed by Ecologic Estates.
Beyond increasing solar self-consumption, energy storage can enable homeowners to go off the grid. Below is an example of data from a larger home that wanted to be virtually off the grid by using renewable energy and batteries to cover most of the load in regional NSW with 16 Aquion batteries. This graph shows the operational detail for a three day period:
Figure 3: Battery SOC (left axis) and AC coupled power (solar), battery power and load (right axis kW). Data from Selectonic. SPLink installed by Beyond Solar.
These on–grid storage examples were sized to deliver enough capacity for average consumption patterns, which makes sense in a flat solar feed-in tariff environment. However, some regions in Australia charge higher prices for the peak-consumption hours of the day. These time-of-use tariffs spur homeowners to use battery storage as much as possible during the peak hours and save money. For smaller-sized battery systems, this means discharging batteries fully when loads (and rates) are high during the evening is a more effective discharge strategy.
A small site with three Aquion batteries in Melbourne was sized to align the battery discharge with the peak electricity tariff times at the location. You can see how this works below:
Figure 4: Daily power and battery SOC chart from Goodwe portal, installed by Specialized Solar.
As the Australian storage market expands, Aquion’s saltwater batteries are proving to be a popular choice with consumers across a variety of applications, chiefly driven by the advantages of a safer, more sustainable and more reliable chemistry.