FactCheck Q&A: is Australia the world leader in household solar power?

The Conversation is fact-checking claims made on Q&A, broadcast Mondays on the ABC at 9:35pm. The Conversation is fact-checking claims made on Q&A, broadcast Mondays on the ABC at 9:35pm. Thank you to everyone who sent us quotes for checking via Twitter using hashtags #FactCheck and #QandA, on Facebook or by email. Excerpt from Q&A, […]

Queensland Power & Solar Update

Here’s a quick round up of the latest news items around QLD power prices and solar power. The QPC (QLD Productivity Commission) investigation into providing a “fair price for solar” has released a draft report saying (no big surprise) that they see no need to reward solar home owners for providing any sort of benefit […]

Tesla Day: Video Roundup of the Tesla Powerwall Battery System

Welcome back to Tesla Day. First we did the Model S roundup, and now we’re onto the Powerwall video roundup. With the advent of the Powerwall, Tesla has thrown the proverbial cat among the pigeons in the solar PV industry. While battery storage systems for solar PV installations have been around for many years, the […]

Tesla Day: Video Roundup of the Tesla Model S Electric Car

Just for a bit of fun, we thought we’d call today Tesla Day and present a selection of cool videos on all things Tesla. In this case, it’s the 4 wheeled Electric Dream – the Tesla Model S. Our first video is Alex from Car Throttle with his P85 Model S test drive. For you […]

How much does wind energy cost? Debunking the myths

Dylan McConnell, University of Melbourne Are renewables pushing up the cost of electricity? That’s the claim made by Alan Moran in an opinion piece for the Australian Financial Review this week. Moran, executive director of Regulation Economics and a former director at the Institute of Public Affairs, argues that increasing investment in renewables and particularly […]

Five ways we can harness the original renewable energy source – human power

Daniel Shin, Nottingham Trent University Human power used to be all the rage. 150 years ago, products that relied on human energy such as the bicycle, pedal-powered lathe or sewing machine could be found in most households. But as electro-mechanical motors developed, reliance on human-powered products gradually diminished. Today, human power is not appropriately recognised […]

After Paris, the future of Australian coal is downhill

Gary Ellem, University of Newcastle The ink is barely dry on the Paris climate agreement and the debate has already started on how the deal will affect the future of fossil fuels, particularly coal. Following the deal on Sunday, the mining industry has responded that Australian coal will remain an important provider of affordable energy […]

Australia’s energy productivity plan promises more bang for our buck, but lacks commitment

Alan Pears, RMIT University In December last year, all climate and energy policy eyes were on the successful Paris climate summit. So you might have missed a new part of Australia’s energy policy, the National Energy Productivity Plan released by the Council of Australian Governments’ Energy Council (chaired by federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg). The […]

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.