It’s been a record-breaking year for home battery installs. But are they worth it?

Jarrod Brown
By Jarrod Brown
5 Min Read

Australia saw a record number of batteries installed in 2023 as more homes and businesses “switched on” in a bid to slash electricity bills. 

According to the 2024 Annual SunWiz Australian Battery Market Report, a record 57,000 battery systems, or energy storage systems, were installed in Aussie homes last year – 22 per cent more than there were in 2022. 

Altogether, a record total of 2,468 MWh of energy storage capacity was deployed, which SunWiz claims is enough to meet the energy needs of 125,000 Aussie homes.

The company’s managing director, Warwick Johnston, said the new report shows how batteries are already “reshaping” the nation’s energy supply.

“2023 was the year of the big battery, with deployment levels at twice their previous record. 2024 will be even bigger, with the capacity currently under construction at six times the amount at the same point last year,” Mr Johnston said.

“Despite the massive year for grid-scale storage, home energy storage systems still remain the largest cumulative source of battery capacity, at least for the time being.” 

254,550 battery storage systems have been installed in homes in Australia from 2015 to 2023 inclusive, totalling 2,770 MWh of residential storage. 

Added to this is 593 MWh of storage at businesses and 2,603 MWh of storage at grid-scale big batteries over 10MWh. All combined, this is a total of 5,966 MWh of battery storage installed since 2015.

Why buy a solar battery?

With more than 3 million Aussie homes switched on with solar and electricity prices set to climb in the coming months, it makes sense that homeowners are trying to make the most out of their systems with the home battery packs.

In 2023, homeowners were forking out almost double what they were paying for electricity ten years ago. In city centres like Sydney and Brisbane, prices have skyrocketed a whopping 107 per cent and 73 per cent, respectively, with most of those increases coming within the last five years during the pandemic.

And more hikes are yet to come. According to parliament’s predictions, household electricity prices are expected to increase at an average of 3 per cent over the next year, varying from a high of 16 per cent in the Northern Territory to a 1 per cent fall in South Australia.

These batteries can help these homes slash their power bills by soaking up the excess energy built up by rooftop systems during the day to be used in the evening or the night, giving Aussies a chance to dodge those hefty peak-usage electricity prices.

Mr Johnston went so far as to call the batteries the key to “democratising energy storage,” giving homeowners more control over how they produce and use their energy.

“To generate and store electricity, you no longer need a coal mine or hydropower dam in your backyard, you just need solar panels and a battery,” he said. 

“Nor do you need an oil well or petrol station to power your car – a growing number of electric vehicle owners fuel their cars with solar energy, and are looking forward to the day their car can also help power their homes.

“The benefit of batteries reaches far beyond their owners: batteries can also help stabilise electricity grids and facilitate further installations of low-cost solar power,” 

But there’s a costly catch

However, while solar battery systems might be a worthwhile investment down the track, the steep price of entry means most of the models will need to be replaced before they pay themselves off. 

In 2024, homeowners are looking at coughing up at least $17,000 for a starting system, with these shooting all the way up to $30,000 as they increase in size. 

According to solar comparison website Solar Choice, the payback period for these batteries is still outpaced by the warrantied life of the system, even after factoring in additional benefits from various government rebate schemes.

In a typical household scenario, a battery takes 13 years to pay for itself, and most batteries have a 5-10-year product warranty.

Despite this, Johnston said last year’s spike in adoption combined with energy companies’ continually lowering payments for excess energy does paint a promising picture for the future financial viability of the technology. 

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.