Australia’s Storms Build Buzz For Home Energy Storage

Recent and more frequent fierce weather in Australia would be making some Aussie households think more about acquiring a home energy storage system.

ABC News reported more than 230,000 homes were without power on Monday after at least 2,000 transmission wires were blown down in high winds; another nasty effect associated with ex-tropical cyclone Oswald. These ‘once-in-X-years’ severe weather events seem to be occurring more frequently.

Whether it’s torrential rain, howling winds, lightning strikes, baking temperatures or even just human error; electricity infrastructure can be severely affected for extended periods.

For those with grid connect solar power systems; while saving a bundle on power bills under normal conditions, when a blackout occurs households with solar panels are often in the same boat as their non-solar neighbours – powerless.

Safety mechanisms built into grid connect solar power systems shut down energy supplied by a solar panel array to prevent electrocution risks to electricity company workers attempting to restore services in an area.

However, there are ways solar households can keep the lights on during a blackout event. Some choose to incorporate a small deep cycle battery based off grid solar power system for emergency supply; but the Next Big Thing is the fully integrated home energy storage system.

Housed in a cabinet the size of a fridge and containing Li-ion or LiFePO4 batteries, these computer controlled residential battery systems allow a household to store energy for use when required. Aside from providing backup power during a blackout, stored solar electricity can be tapped during peak periods when the sun isn’t shining and mains electricity is expensive; then switching back to mains during cheaper off-peak times if desired.

Currently around $30,000 for a system that can store a 24 hour supply; home energy storage isn’t within the reach of most households at present, but as has been the case with solar panels over the last few years, the cost of these systems is expected to drop substantially in the near future.

Given the increasingly crazy weather Australia is experiencing and coupled with skyrocketing electricity prices; there’s sure to be a substantial market for residential battery storage systems once that happens.

National solar power provider Energy Matters says it is currently investigating and evaluating the new generation of home energy storage solutions, with view to adding systems to its extensive range of renewable energy products when they become more affordable.