Coupling solar panels with home battery storage could be the cheapest way to get electricity within three years, according to a report by the Climate Council.

The environmental not-for-profit found battery storage would “revolutionise” the way Australians accessed electricity, allowing homes to become more independent of the traditional grid.

Report’s key findings:

  • By 2018, going “off-grid” could be cost competitive with traditional grid
  • Coupling solar panels with home battery storage could be cheapest option
  • Half of all Australian households tipped to adopt solar
  • Switch to solar expected to accelerate as battery cost drops

With battery storage capacity expected to grow 50-fold within a decade, the report found going off-grid could be cost-competitive with staying connected as early as 2018.

As feed-in tariffs are phased out and grid electricity becomes more expensive, Australia could be the number one market for home battery storage by the same year, the report found.

“Anyone who has PV [photovoltaic cells] on their roof knows they’re paid a fraction – maybe a tenth – of what it costs them to buy power off the grid,” the Climate Council’s Andrew Stock said.

“If they have a tool, a battery, that can allow them to store the surplus power during the day and use it at night, it means they’re going to get greater control than they already have over their power bill.”

In April, US-based technology and automotive company Tesla unveiled Powerwall, a cheap lithium ion battery, soon to be churned out on a massive scale in a giant factory being built in Nevada.

The battery is estimated, with add-ons, to cost about $5,500.

By 2020, the factory is expected to produce 35 gigawatt hours (gWh) of lithium-ion battery storage each year, more than the entire worldwide production of the batteries in 2013.

Tesla, along with another of the world’s biggest home battery manufacturers, EnPhase, has announced Australia will be its first market.

By Robert Baird

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