The Tesla Powerwall has brought a lot of hype to solar batteries. The average customer could be forgiven for thinking that it’s the only battery on the market.
It’s cool, it’s sexy and it’s backed by the super charismatic Elon Musk.
However, while Tesla has succeeded in building hype around the Powerwall, making it popular with early adopters, its $10,000+ price point and 10+ year payback period have simply not been strong enough to bring solar batteries to the mainstream.
As cool as it may look, it just doesn’t make good financial sense for the average Australian.
Where Tesla has failed to take solar batteries to the mass market, a new, UK-designed battery may just have the tech and the numbers to succeed.
Marketed as the Energy Storage Australia BP-5000 and being sold through local retailer Solar Shop, this new battery boasts an installation cost and an estimated payback period of as little as half that of the Tesla.
To see just how this new battery stacks up where it really matters, we’ve taken a look at its pros and cons and compared it with the two biggest players currently on the market – Tesla’s Powerwall 2 and LG Chem’s RESU.
Tesla Powerwall 2
Tesla has taken a page out of the Apple playbook and put a lot of effort on the Powerwall’s outside appearance. Credit to them, it looks good in a catalogue and they’ve perfectly tapped into the emotional element which drove the early adopter phase of the market.
It’s fair to say as well that it’s a good product which backs up the hype, to a degree at least.
- Advanced safety features to minimise fire risk.
- Competitive pricing and warranty of $0.25 (+inverter cost).
There are some downsides though… And for consumers less interested in design and branding, these will likely rule it out of the running as a realistic option.
- It’s BIG. At 13.5kW, it’s more capacity than all but the largest residential homes will require. For most, it will be paying for more than necessary and it will be much more cost-effective to buy a smaller, cheaper battery.
- AC coupled: This basically means that another grid-tied inverter is required in installation, lowering efficiency and adding a further $1,500+ to the cost.
LG Chem RESU
Considering the hype of the Powerwall, you may be surprised that LG Chem’s RESU has actually been one of the most popular batteries in Australia so far. Some estimates suggest that around half of all battery installs in Australia have been the RESU. The reason for this can probably be down to a few main factors.
- LG is a strong brand people trust.
- Relatively low cost per total warranted kWh of $0.29 (+inverter cost).
- Can be used for those wanting to go fully off-grid.
The RESU isn’t perfect, however. It’s on the expensive side, and has some limited functionality.
- Expensive install price.
- Limited functionality. E.g. it cannot charge from the grid.
- Relatively slow charge and discharge rate.
Then there’s the new challenger in Australia, Energy Storage Australia’s battery product.
Energy Storage Australia BP-5000
The battery is a fraction of its main rivals in Australia at an incredible $4,000 installed. It is scalable (5kWh battery packs), comprises premium Lithium-ion Phosphate battery cells and enables real-time software monitoring (five-minute intervals).
This is one of the reasons why the ESA battery has estimated payback periods of 4 to 8 years as opposed to the 10+ of many others.
Sure to be a major drawcard for South Australians, in particular, is that the ESA battery can be used during a blackout. This is because, unlike some other batteries, the ESA unit can automatically detach itself from the grid and continue operation.
- Low installation cost.
- Industry-leading payback period of as low as 4-8 years, compared with the 10+ of its rivals.
- Can be used during blackouts.
- Can’t be used to disconnect from grid completely.
- A marginally lower depth of discharge of around 80%.
For those in the market for a solar battery which can provide a return on investment, Energy Storage Australia’s BP-5000 is definitely worth a close look.
Energy Storage Australia’s battery product is only available through Solar Shop, you can request a quote by clicking the button below and entering your details.