Just as Tesla secretly increased the price of its Powerwall 2 home Solar battery in Australia by $800, a new domestic energy storage product has arrived on the market, giving about the same capacity for up to $5,000 less.
The new Alpha ESS product debuted in Australia in the first week of November, boasting 13.3kWh of storage capacity, a 10-year guarantee, and a solar battery design life of approximately 15 years thanks to an 8,000 cycle rating.
The cost of the lithium-ion phosphate battery, however, draws attention. An Alpha ESS Smile 5 13kWh battery may be installed in an Australian home for less than $10,000 ($9,900) – that’s also including installation.
The 13.5kWh Powerwall 2 costs $12,500 – up from $11,700 – from Tesla devoid of installation, which may range between $1,150 and $2,900 depending on region and installer.
The Impact of these Solar Battery Prices on the Australian Market
This is good news for those Australian households that have been holding off on investing in battery storage due to cost. Although it’s still a big splurge for most households, with certain state subsidies and VPP offerings, the payback can be brought to around the seven-year mark – which is where rooftop solar started to take off.
These, at least, are the numbers that ShineHub CEO Alex Georgiou has come up with, modeled on a typical house on the NSW Ausgrid network, and signed up to ShineHub’s Community Virtual Power Plant, which pays $0.45/kWh for any battery power used for the VPP.
“The most significant reason this solar battery is crucial is that it unlocks the market up for those who have panels, particularly the larger systems, as [feed-in tariffs] go down,” he told One Step in an interview on Wednesday.
“In Australia, people speak about $15,000 batteries.” This is no longer the case. With this release and the VPP combo, we now have a fiscal model that works for a huge percentage of Australian households.
“Adoption will accelerate, just as it has with solar.”
The interest is there; it’s simply a matter of making it profitable and straightforward.”
Georgiou is a great supporter of Alpha ESS – he’s had one of the latest Smiles put at his own Sydney house, which has 8kW of rooftop solar – and has collaborated with the battery maker for some years, building up the VPP community.
Alpha ESS is one of the worldwide solar battery manufacturers that established a presence in Adelaide in 2018 as part of the South Australian government’s home battery and virtual power plant program (VPP).
The agreement at the time required Alpha-ESS to manufacture more than 8,000 of its earlier model SMILE 5 home batteries in Adelaide each year in exchange for priority access to the government’s Home Battery Scheme.