With electricity prices on the rise and an uncertain future ahead for Australian electricity, it’s not surprising that more and more Aussies are looking at the option of home batteries. What is surprising is just how fast the market is progressing — batteries are rapidly coming down in price and the numbers suggest they aren’t just for early adopters anymore.
Before the Tesla Powerwall burst onto the scene less than two years ago, batteries were seldom considered an option for houses with solar panels, unless they were remote or off-grid. Powerwall installer Natural Solar says that only 2-3 per cent of customers even asked about batteries prior to 2015. “Since adding Tesla Powerwall to our energy storage range, the volume of consumer enquiries for battery power and Tesla Powerwall specifically has grown to more than 95% of customers,” explained Natural Solar CEO Chris Williams.
Even the difference between the first, somewhat experimental Powerwall and Tesla’s newer, bigger, better Powerwall 2 is clear. Williams sums it up quite succinctly when he says that the original Powerwall buyers were the early adopters, while their experiences have helped the Powerwall 2 hit the mainstream.
“This is exciting,” Williams said, “as it represents the typical Australian household and consumer, who are making educated decisions based on financials and are trying to offset the skyrocketing electricity bills expected to increase by 20 per cent in the coming weeks.”
While the Tesla brand has something to do with it, there are other reasons Australians have become so interested in powering their homes via batteries. Australian energy retailers recently announced an impending increase on the price consumers pay for electricity — in some places astronomically. On July 1, South Australia will overtake Denmark in having the world’s most expensive electricity. With some new Powerwall 2 customers expecting their power bills to come down to almost nothing, it’s not surprising to see more and more people looking to make that leap.
South Australians in particular have even more motivation to install batteries, in the wake of the state-wide power failures that happened last year. Demand in South Australia has increased by 300 per cent compared to the rest of Australia with 98.5 per cent of those wanting a power back-up in case of further instability. It’s not just households either — commercial enquiries for Natural Solar have seen an 800 per cent increase, with businesses wanting the option to keep their doors open and their lights on even when the grid is down.
Read more: Gizmod