June2016

Less sunshine, wind and rain could cast shade on renewable energy

Fighting climate change will involve massive changes to the way we produce and distribute energy. Those changes are already happening. Several studies have looked at how our energy systems will change as clean energy increases and fossil fuels are replaced. But climate change must be planned into this transition. For instance, temperature is a key […]

Power to the people: how communities can help meet our renewable energy goals

The federal election campaign has highlighted the very different visions of Australia’s renewable energy future held by the major parties. The Coalition government supports the present Renewable Energy Target (RET) of 33,000 gigawatt-hours from large-scale projects in 2020, which it negotiated with the Labor opposition in 2015. It’s expected to deliver just over a 23% […]

Getting more energy from the sun: how to make better solar cells

Global demand for energy is increasing by the hour as developing countries move toward industrialization. Experts estimate that by the year 2050, worldwide demand for electricity may reach 30 terawatts (TW). For perspective, one terawatt is roughly equal to the power of 1.3 billion horses. Energy from the sun is limitless – the sun provides […]

Where could Australia genuinely innovate?

There is a lot of talk about innovation these days, but are we really innovating in the areas where we could generate the most benefit for Australia and the world? What is clear is that the decline in mining revenue, the elimination of manufacturing jobsand climate-dependent uncertainties in agricultural productivity mean Australia’s future prosperity cannot […]

Share the light

As the local power grid was overloaded one extremely hot January day this year, the neighborhood lost power, as it does once or twice each summer. Unfazed, I reached for my trusty, D Battery powered flashlight under my kitchen sink, which only makes an appearance during these summer blackouts. And you guessed it, batteries were […]

2016 is likely to be the world’s hottest year: here’s why

We’re not even halfway through the year but already you may have heard talk of 2016 being the hottest on record. But how can scientists be so sure we’re going to beat the previous record, set just last year? Even before the end of 2015, the UK Met Office was forecasting with 95% confidence that […]

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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.