A battery powered future is closer than we think
“Get set for the powerhouse combination of battery storage and photovoltaic cells to transform our homes, businesses and communities” writes NDY global director of sustainability Tony Arnel.
A report from the Climate Council, Powerful Potential, has found this potent double act could be the cheapest way to source electricity within just three years.
With battery storage capacity expected to grow 50-fold within a decade, the Climate Council says going completely “off-grid” could be cost-competitive as early as 2018. In fact, Australia could emerge as the world’s leading spot for home battery storage, with the market predicted to reach $24 billion.
Rechargeable batteries already power our smartphones, laptops and toothbrushes, but recent advances in lithium-ion battery technology have seen a rapid reductions in manufacturing costs, making them more affordable to consumers than ever before.
When Tesla’s Powerwall lithium-ion battery arrived on Australia’s shores in January, it changed the renewable energy game forever. Each Powerwall, with its 7kWh lithium-ion battery system, stores electricity generated from rooftop solar panels. With the sleek system available in a number of colours, punters are saying Tesla’s design will do for batteries what Apple did for smartphones.
Tesla’s offering is not the only battery storage product on the market, and a growing number of storage systems that apply different technologies and battery chemistries are now available.
Analysis of the various battery options for the telecommunications sector, for example, has found that lead crystal batteries offer similar advantages to that of lithium ion batteries, but at a lower cost per kWh. Melbourne-based Hybrid Aus uses lead crystal battery technology in its all-in-one 8.2 kW hybrid battery storage system, aimed at the residential sector.
At the same time, the costs of solar panels have dropped dramatically, with the Climate Council estimating a massive 75 percent decrease in prices over the past five years.
And so, enter the technological vanguard, keen to capitalise on this emerging market.
In Perth, for example, the first trial of large-scale battery storage for households is underway. The $6.7 million pilot project, which is being funded by the state and federal governments, is being undertaken at Lendlease’s Alkimos Beach development in Perth.
Solar panels are mandatory on the roofs of each household within the nation’s first 6 Star Green Star Communities-rated development. A 1.1 MW lithium battery, housed in a shipping container, will enable households to store excess power from their solar panels during the day and withdraw it at night.