Solar and battery installations predicted to peak in spring

Solar panels on roof (agl electrification)
Image: Shutterstock

Cost of living pressures coupled with a change in season will drive this year’s spike in new energy installs, and energy retailers are gearing up in preparation of their busiest months for solar and battery installations during spring.

Research shows a majority of Australians (94%) feel that cost of living has increased in the 12 months, with 61% most concerned about electricity and/or gas bills. While more homeowners consider solar and battery due to recent energy price rises, seasonality also plays a role in driving the shift to new energy options.

Spring is the peak season for solar installations, with 2022 figures revealing September to November installations were up 21% when compared to autumn, and 4% up on winter figures. Spring installations accounted for 27% of total solar installations in 2022.

NSW leads in solar installations with current installations sitting at 50,523 units, followed closely by QLD (41,512) and VIC (30,667). Interest in adding a battery to a solar installation is also predicted to rise. Figures reveal that battery installations with small-scale systems from 2021 to 2022 jumped 64%.

“There is some seasonality to home solar and battery installations. We find that September and October are our busiest months for installations, with the return of sunshine and longer days a cue to many homeowners to investigate solar power options for their homes,” energy retailer Nectr’s Louisa Sumagui says.

“Traditionally, solar and battery enquiries tend to jump for us at the beginning of spring. However this year, with more Australians looking for ways to reduce their energy bills, homeowners are using the winter months to complete the install process to then reap the benefits of solar power leading into the sunnier months.”

Related article: Electricians say home batteries can save ailing grid

Ahead of the peak solar install season, Nectr has shared advice about what Australian homeowners should consider when starting out with solar and battery for their home.

  • Size and capacity: The number of people in the household and the average household energy usage will help identify the size of solar system to suit the household’s energy needs. For instance, a person living on their own or a couple may suit a 6.6kW system with around 17 solar panels compared to a household with four or more occupants that would benefit from a 13.3kW system with around 34 solar panels.
  • Installation and warranties: Ensure solar panels are installed by a Clean Energy Council (CEC) approved installer and check product and performance warranties. Minimum 10-year product warranties and 25-year performance warranties are standard.
  • Cost: The cost to install solar panels has decreased over the years and home battery costs are also showing signs of lowering. Many retailers offer no upfront cost, interest-free, fixed-rate electricity rates for the duration of the contract to make home solar and battery more affordable for Australian households. There are also government-led assistance schemes for eligible households for solar and battery installation, as well as state based rebates and incentives such as those in NSW, VIC and ACT.
  • Consider a battery: The solar panels will harness the power of the sun and the home battery will store this energy to power the fridge, washing machine, air conditioning at peak usage times for the household or at times when the sun is not shining. Household battery storage capacity is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). 1kWh is equal to one hour of electricity used at the power of 1kW. For example, using a 2000W oven for an hour would equate to using 2kWh of the battery’s capacity. As a comparison, a 200W TV would need to be used for 10 hours to add up to 2kWh. Generally, a typical home with solar panels exporting over 2MWh per year could meet its needs with battery systems of 5kWh through to 9kWh capacities.
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