Question: How close are we to price parity for off-grid battery solutions? How much higher will electricity prices need to be to make it add up to get a home battery and solar panels?
Hugh Saddler from the Crawford School of Public Policy says: If by off-grid you mean a location without an existing connection and outside an urban are, we are already there, because of the high cost of building a connection. If you mean cutting off an existing connection, the main driving factor will not be higher electricity prices but falling battery costs. And then it will depend on what rate of return on investment you are looking for.
Petra Stock from the Climate Council of Australia says: In many off-grid locations in Australia, renewable and storage solutions are already cost-competitive or cheaper than alternatives (e.g. reliance on diesel). It is expected than home solar and battery systems will reach this point in the next year or two.
Ben Eade from Manufacturing Australia says: Others will comment for households, but for industry, its a long way off. Many manufacturers use a combination of batteries and diesel generators as backup where they have remote locations or where outages present high risks to equipment. But it's very expensive. For most industrial applications it will likely be at least a decade before that changes, and for some it might not ever be feasible. The mega-battery being built in South Australia would keep an aluminium smelter running for less than 8 minutes!
Kate Farrar from McKinsey and Company says: In some rural locations across Australia, off-grid battery solutions are already cheaper than establishing a new connection to the electricity grid. For existing grid-powered houses, falling battery prices over the next 3-5 years are expected to make solar+battery competitive to grid supply at current levels, and even more quickly for larger installations.
Joel Gibson from One Big Switch says: It's only a matter of time. Batteries still cost over $10,000 in most cases which means that despite all the hype, they're still for well-heeled early adopters. But we only need to look at how quickly solar panels came down in price to see how quickly that could change. Without the same generous government incentives that solar panels attracted, we expect to see more gradual take-up of batteries than we saw for panels. But batteries could be the next big game-changer for those lucky enough to be able to afford them