Can I store the energy my solar system generates instead of exporting it?
Most solar systems in Australia are grid-connected to the poles, wires and power companies. This means excess solar electricity is sold back to the grid and when power demand is more than solar output, the grid automatically picks up the difference.
They cannot store power in the home for use at night without adding storage batteries to the solar system. Solar batteries are generally lithium or lead acid chemistries and add a significant extra expense to the cost of a solar system in most Australian states.
Solar batteries will reduce power bills, however, it's marginal whether the extra financial savings will cover the cost of the battery before it fails after 8-15 years. All solar batteries have a finite life. Looking into the near future, batteries are getting cheaper, their service life is getting longer and with power prices continuing to rise, the day when batteries are a solid financial proposition is not far away.
Many households are already purchasing solar batteries to be more independent from the grid and to reduce future uncertainty of ongoing power bills. Most solar battery systems offer a power-cut back-up facility and this can have a high value beyond money in areas prone to blackouts where, for example, essential medical equipment, fridges and freezers must be kept running.
Off-grid or 'stand alone' solar power systems are common in remote areas where there are no poles and wires connecting the home. The hardware technology involved in being totally self-sufficient is more complicated than a simple grid connect battery and solar system. Generally the pv and battery capacity needs to be much bigger and automatic starting back-up generators are needed to get through long cloudy periods in winter.
The price of off-grid solar systems starts at around $35,000+ and while this seems expensive it is frequently a lot cheaper than a km of power lines to connect to the grid.
Many LG Solar Authorised Dealers can design on-grid and off-grid solar systems with batteries.