May2016

Direct Action not giving us bang for our buck on climate change

Direct Action is the centrepiece of Australia’s current greenhouse gas reduction efforts. To date, A$1.7 billion in subsidies has been committed from the government’s Emissions Reduction Fund to projects offering to reduce emissions. The scheme replaced Australia’s two-year-old carbon price in 2014 and is a key part of the government’s plan to reduce emissions by […]

Carbon taxes, emissions trading and electricity prices: making sense of the scare campaigns

Yet again, electricity prices are set to be a key point of contention in an Australian federal election. The Coalition responded quickly to Labor’s election commitment to an emissions trading scheme (ETS), with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull warning of “much higher electricity prices” and a “very big burden” on Australians. Other ministers joined in. Treasurer […]

How will the reduced Renewable Energy Target affect investment?

After months of uncertainty over the future level of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET), the federal government and opposition have reached a compromise agreement to scale back the target. The deal will see the RET wound back to 33,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy by 2020, down from its previous level of 41,000 GWh. The […]

Rapid transition to clean energy will take massive social change

Global climate change, driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases, is already affecting the planet, with more heatwaves, droughts, wildfires and floods, and accelerating sea-level rise. Devastating impacts on our environment, health, social justice, food production, coastal city infrastructure and economies cannot be avoided if we maintain a slow and steady transition to a zero-carbon […]

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Beginners Guide to Solar Power

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Includes detailed explanations and diagrams of the various types of solar systems and their parts, solar battery storage systems, Government incentives, expected ROI periods, finance, energy saving tips and more!

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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.