Is it worthwhile charging a battery from the grid at off-grid prices?

Part of our series “What is the best strategy to maximise the Return on Investment for your battery?”

In this article we demonstrate that batteries can’t pay for themselves without being coupled with solar power.

Have we discovered a perpetual profit machine hidden within the electricity network? Those greedy electricity retailers charge a fortune for power during peak periods (right when you’re using most energy), and much less during off-peak periods (when you’re asleep). What if you could charge a battery overnight from cheap off-peak electricity, and use the battery to supply your needs during expensive peak periods? Making money during your sleep, night after night, Genius! Right?

Read more: What is the best strategy to maximise the Return on Investment for your battery?

In case you hadn’t noticed, the return on investment of batteries isn’t flash. Thankfully there’s plenty of early adopters out there who will buy batteries regardless of ROI, because early adopters like the technology and the independence it offers. The way to sell batteries to them is to target sales message to the reasons they like batteries, which include:

  1. Using their excess solar energy at night rather than exporting it to the grid for a pittance.
  2. Avoiding ridiculously high peak electricity prices by charging their battery at low off-peak prices (or from the sun) and discharging their battery during peak price periods.
  3. Reducing their dependence on the grid
  4. Having protection against blackouts
  5. Going completely off grid.

So if you’re going to successfully sell to early adopters, you need to be able to demonstrate that your battery will do each of these. Because early adopters like facts and figures you’re also going to need to quantify how much your battery will do each of these.

Read more: Selling Batteries to Early Adopters

The following article was published recently on Solar Choice and gives insight into their experience with SunWiz's software, PVsell


Let’s say that, like most Australians, you live in a grid-connected home. You’re thinking about installing batteries for your solar PV system, but aren’t clear about how much storage capacity you need. While you may have preferences and goals that go beyond simply saving money, you’ll still probably want to choose a battery system with a decent return on investment. We’ve taken a look at the numbers using PVSell and determined that a smaller battery bank is probably a better investment than a larger one (at least for now).

Making batteries make financial sense

Although solar PV systems are quite affordable on their own, battery storage is still on the pricey side. For virtually any battery product with a 10-year warranty, you’re looking to pay in the range of $2,000 per every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of storage capacity. These costs are likely to fall sharply in the near future (especially for lithium batteries), but are unlikely to move much during the remainder of 2016.

Let’s say you want batteries now, but in addition to the many other reasons a battery bank might already be attractive, you also want to ensure that they’re a solid investment. Fortunately, there are a few situations in which batteries already tick both of these boxes; in the case of a grid-connected solar system, the key is keeping it small.

Read more: Solar Choice Using PVsell - Size matters: Why Aussie homes may be better off with smaller battery...

Could this tool double your profitability?

We recently posted an article on the  . We established the importance of cutting soft costs to ensure a profitable business operation, and introduced PVsell as a tool that helps you cut soft costs and improve profitability. In this article, we’re going to share some survey results that illustrate the plight of the average PV retailer when it comes to commercial PV. Along the way, we’re going to demonstrate how PVsell can increase business profitability by as much as 50%.

In mid April, SunWiz surveyed its readers on their Commercial PV retailing experience. The results were very interesting:

  • The success rate of the typical solar retailer when it comes to commercial PV sales is 20%. This means 4 out of 5 pitches for commercial PV sales are unsuccessful. If you’re doing better than this, pat yourself on the back – 25% of companies reported a success rate of 33% or higher, and 25% reported a success rate of 10% or lower.
  • The typical solar retailer spends 6 hours on each proposal they put together for commercial PV. (PVsell can cut this to 5 minutes). Interestingly, 25% of respondents spent 3 hours or less, and 25% spent 10 hours or more. The typical solar business is therefore spending a lot of time preparing proposals that are mostly unsuccessful.
  • Now, when they are successful, the typical business has a 22% Gross Profit Margin – and 50% of businesses have a GP in the range of 20%-25%.
  • The typical business pays its commercial salespeople $70,000, through some combination of salary and commission, though again there is a large variation in the amount paid.

Read more: Cutting Soft Costs – double profitability of commercial PV sales

Dear solar colleagues, 

I'm writing with great news: your voice has been heard by the CEC board. At the most recent CEC AGM, the solar industry voted in record numbers, but managed to secure only one of the five seats up for re-election. Apparently the vote was very close and I narrowly missed out on being voted in. 

Since then, a casual vacancy arose on the CEC board when Douglas Smith resigned from the Mark Group. In these circumstances the remaining Board members decide who should fill the casual vacancy, as per the CEC constitution. Today, in recognition of your voice, I have been appointed a director of the board of the Clean Energy Council.

I wouldn't be on the board without the record number of solar companies that voted in the CEC AGM - thank you sincerely! I am honoured to represent you and the entire solar sector on the CEC board. I promise to ensure the needs of the solar industry are heard at the board level of the Clean Energy Council, so that it continues to be a strong voice for all renewable energy technologies. I will to continue to represent you on the CEC's PV Leadership Committee and within my activities at other solar organisations including the APVI, the ASC, and Solar Citizens

Because I am filling a casual vacancy, I will be up for re-election at the next AGM (instead of the usual two-year term). I hope I can count on your support at this time, as we together strive to ensure a vibrant and competitive solar industry can continue to thrive.

Sunniest regards,

Warwick Johnston


Page 2 of 10
Join our newsletter!
Please wait