Five questions before you buy a battery

From accelerating Australia’s renewable energy transition, to saving on your energy bills and gaining greater energy independence - there’s a ton of reasons why a solar battery is a brilliant and worthwhile addition to your home energy set-up. 

Aussies are increasingly getting energised about batteries’ benefits. In 2020, 23,796 Australian homes installed a battery, according to the Clean Energy Council. Meanwhile, some 21 percent of Aussies say they are interested in buying a battery in the future, reports Energy Consumers Australia. This interest has further picked up in recent months in light of the recent energy crisis, which brought with it a "perfect storm" of high power prices, blackouts, environmental concerns, and "lost faith in the grid".

Many Aussies are losing faith in the grid.

“Combining a home battery with a solar system is the best way to maximise savings. With a battery, solar energy used to charge your battery during the day can be used in the evening - reducing the amount of energy you consume from the grid when prices tend to be highest,” says Amber Energy Optimisation Analyst, Aleksis. 

“If you don’t use a huge amount of energy and your solar system is big enough, it’s possible that adding home battery storage means you don’t need to import energy from the grid on most days - reducing your energy costs to zero (excluding fixed costs, such as daily supply charges). And then there’s the option to generate further savings/income by automating your battery to discharge to the grid, too.”

As Independent MP Dr Helen Haines said when she introduced her Cheaper Home Batteries Bill into parliament in February 2022, batteries can not only lower energy bills for all, but also support a smoother renewable transition

These are some of the reasons why we’re working hard on our SmartShift battery automation technology at Amber, given our mission of taking Australia to 100% renewable energy.

Questions to help clarify if a battery is right for you

The reality is that batteries promise the biggest pay off if you can tick certain boxes before you buy. Our Energy Optimisation Analyst Aleksis shared a few things to think about when you’re considering whether to invest in a battery.

Take the solar battery quiz 

1. Do you use all the energy generated by your solar, or is there some leftover? To maximise the value you get from your battery investment, it’s best if your solar system is big enough to meet the energy needs of your house and also fully charge your battery during the day. This will allow you to offset peak wholesale prices in the evening with your stored battery energy.

2. Do you use more electricity during the day, or the evening? Electricity prices tend to be low during the middle of the day when there’s lower demand and more renewables in the grid, and higher in the evening. If you tend to use more electricity during the middle of the day, a battery might not save you much money because you’re already consuming when prices are low. However, if your household uses most of your energy in the evening, a battery can help reduce the amount of energy you need to buy from the grid when prices are high, adding to your potential savings.

Tip: Think about when you run your most energy hungry devices. This guide will give you a sense of which home appliances tend to use the most power.

3. Does the cost of your electricity vary throughout the day or are you on a fixed plan? Before you decide to move ahead with buying a battery, it’s worth checking if you're on a Time-of-Use (TOU) tariff or if you get access to wholesale electricity pricing (Amber is one of only a couple of retailers offering direct access to wholesale pricing).

This price variability will allow your solar battery to make the most of variable prices throughout the day. Particularly if you decide to automate your battery to charge when prices are low and energy in the grid is greener, and discharge to the grid when prices and demand are higher.

In general, potential savings delivered by a battery tend to be even higher in states where wholesale electricity prices tend to be more volatile, as the opportunity to generate extra returns by charging when electricity is cheap, and selling energy back to the grid when prices are high is greater.

4. Are you interested in automating your battery? By automating your battery to discharge to the grid during peak times, you can significantly improve the return on investment and reduce the payback period. Automation can be achieved by joining a VPP or Amber’s SmartShift. SmartShift passes on the full upside of your export earnings while giving you the option to maintain control over your battery if needed.

We can do some of the heavy thinking for you

If you’re an Amber customer and want to know if a battery is right for you, you can find out more easily than ever with our free, personalised battery assessment (conducted by our energy data wizard, Aleksis).  

Leave it to Aleksis to analyse your load curve and tell you straight whether a battery is right for you - based on an assessment of the factors outlined above. If your answers to the questions above suggest a battery is well worth it for you but you still can’t afford the upfront cost, we’ll also share financing options. Drop us a line at and we can book you in for an assessment.

Not yet an Amber customer but interested in a battery?

We can help you buy one at a fair cost, through our partnership with UPowr. Head over here to find out more and we’ll be in touch.

I'll leave you with these tweets from happy Amber customer who have linked their battery with our SmartShift tech. Thanks Pete and Scott! 

Check out Scott's full thread here.

Creating a bigger climate and savings impact

SmartShift is all about helping people bring out the best in their battery, by automating their battery’s ability to charge and discharge in response to wholesale price signals

  • Your battery will automatically charge when electricity prices fall (generally when more renewables are flooding into the grid).
  • You consume your battery’s energy and export your solar power when wholesale energy prices rise, maximising returns and reducing fossil fuel demand. 

In January, we took a huge step forward in our mission to help more Aussies benefit from access to greener, cheaper energy when we launched SmartShift to Amber customers everywhere after a successful trial in SA. Learn more about the launch in this article on One Step Off The Grid or if you're already an Amber customer - sign-up for SmartShift here (it's free!).