Our hapless opposition leader Peter Dutton recently told the 2GB radio audience You can’t store renewable energy at the moment.

Really? I wonder if he might help me understand then, why our home battery has absolutely smashed our power and fuel bills?

In the 2020-21 financial year, our fuel and repair costs on our last fossil fuel powered car totalled $2333.89.  Electricity costs in our house were $1283.80: total $3617.69.

From mid 2018, we’d had a 15 panel 4.9kw solar array on our roof, significantly reducing our power bills.  From Aug 3, 2022 we added an Alpha ESS  battery capable of storing 10.3kw generated from the roof. We also added a further 6 panels (totalling) 2.22kw to our roof for a total of 7.12kw.  The fully installed cost of the  battery and the 6  additional solar panels was $11,232.

We took delivery of our Tesla 3 on Jul 26, 2021. After a $15,000 trade-in on our petrol car, the drive-away price was $52,346. In the 513 days since we’ve driven 13,783km at 26.9km/day. This has included a 10 day round trip from Sydney to the NSW north coast, a 4 day return trip to the central west of NSW and  two return trips from Sydney to Batemans Bay. Mostly, it’s urban trips in Sydney. We’ve had zero repairs and servicing costs on the car since we bought it.

The car included 1500kw of free Tesla supercharging, which we ran down by December 2021. In the 513 days we’ve had the Tesla we’ve spent all of $170.79 at Tesla superchargers. $133.62 of which was on the Sydney-Byron Bay trip plus local driving while up there. The return trip would normally cost us well over $200 in fuel.

For the rest of the time, we mostly charge the car in daylight hours in our garage on the many days when the sun is generating far more power than our house can use. We get a derisory feed-in tariff for excess electricity when we sell it to the grid, so topping up the car makes perfect sense. If it’s been raining or heavily overcast, we occasionally trickle charge the car overnight during the cheapest off-peak rated time.

So in effect, with the exception of buying power on occasional long road trips and lately having to pay power and grid connection charges during the shorter sunlight winter months, the car runs for free and our electricity bills are perhaps a tenth of what we might otherwise be paying.

Our power bills between the beginning of August 2021 when the battery was installed and today have totalled $384.35, all of which came in after the huge rises in June 2022. From August 2021 till June 2022, our bills were actually in credit.

With rising power costs, it’s hard to calculate exactly when our $11,232 battery investment will be paid for. But at savings of $3000 or so a year on household  power  and car running we are in clover.

The sun powers nearly all our car and household needs. The battery STORES the renewable energy, Mr Dutton. 33,000 Australian homes installed one like we did in 2021. How has this escaped you?  Perhaps you need to get out a bit more.