Do your homework before purchasing batteries

Do Your Homework A4

One of the biggest problems with the efforts to use renewable energy to produce large amounts of the energy consumed on a daily basis has been its inability to reliably supply power at the times it is most needed. This can and will be addressed with the installation of battery systems that allow households and businesses to store renewable energy for use in peak periods.

Then when you need to use the power you are buying it from the grid at a much higher cost.

With an energy storage battery you can utilise the majority of the output of your solar system and minimise these expensive evening electricity rates.

This is definitely a market that is set to thrive in 2017 and following years, however not all batteries are the same.  Most battery suppliers won’t tell you the downside of their batteries and will only tell you the things that are most likely to sell their batteries, so you need to ask questions and compare batteries.

To start with ask for a safety data sheet which is required to point out all the operating conditions of a battery. FIAMM is one of the few battery suppliers that actually provides this and if you would like to get access to this please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Also consider the size and operating conditions required of each battery. Most batteries are quite large and may need ventilated to make sure no toxic gasses build up.

Another major consideration in Australia  is the temperature range they can operate within before the battery will deteriorate. The majority  of batteries need to be cooled to keep them below specific temperatures so that they don’t deteriorate. This adds to the cost of operating the battery.

When you are looking at the cost of installing a renewable energy system it is critical you take into account all costs involved, including health costs associated with air pollution, environmental costs of coal powered energy production and all production and disposal costs of equipment and the lifetime operating costs of any renewable energy system. These costs are not necessarily easily quantified financially but they remain costs just the same.

There is no point asking for the price of a battery only without looking at the other installation costs.

If a battery installation takes 10 hours the labor costs involved will add a lot to the price compared to an installation that takes 1 hour.

If a battery needs special housing to cater for heating or cooling or outgassing this will all add extra costs.

What inverter will the battery work with and what are the costs associated with the inverter. Most batteries only work efficiently with specific inverters.

With respect to price, sodium nickel chloride (SoNick) batteries are competitive today with other battery technologies if you compare on a total lifetime kWh basis.

While other battery technologies might be cheaper on day 1 they certainly will not be cheaper over the life of the system. For instance, most lead acid batteries cycle between 500 and 1500 cycles which means that you would need to replace a lead acid battery system from 2 to 6 times more than you would need to replace a SoNick system.

Lithium Ion batteries are more expensive than sodium nickel chloride batteries when one considers the safety, fire suppression, management and environmental effects of lack of recyclability that is required for this chemistry.

Flow batteries have pumps that will require replacing every 5 – 10 years.


If you would like to know more about getting safe, reliable and recyclable SoNick (heated salt) battery storage for your own home, business or micro-grid to increase your energy independence visit us at We have a number of different sized systems that can cater to your budget and household needs.

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