July2016

The suburb of the future?

It’s been said that it isn’t easy being green. Well, that won’t be the case for the residents of Melbourne’s newest suburb, YarraBend. Icon Status The suburb is located at the previous site of the Alphington paper mill, just 6.5 km from the CBD and is being promoted as “an iconic new suburb” on its […]

Get more out of your solar power system by using water as a battery

When the sun shines at its brightest, many of Australia’s 1.3 million homes with rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar panels generate more electricity than they use. When this happens, excess electricity is exported to the grid. In the old days (say, about 2009), most householders would be pretty happy with this, given that in Victoria, for […]

6 Solar Myths

If you’re interested in installing solar, but have some doubts or questions about popular solar myths, have a read below. We’ve answered six popular solar myths just for you. After  a solar panel is depleted, it is actually bad for the environment. The average lifecycle of a solar panel is 25 years.  Panels are created […]

Tips for keeping your solar panels clean and properly maintained

Ok, all the hard work is done. You’ve researched panels and inverters, sought out a few different quotes [hopefully from us *wink * ] and finally made that big decision to go solar. Now what? Well, you could look at the panels from a real “set and forget” point of view, but you might be […]

The hidden energy cost of smart homes

Light globes that change colour with the tap of an app, coffee machines you can talk to, and ovens that know exactly how long to cook your food: our homes are getting smart. These devices, just a few examples of what is known as “the internet of things” (or IOT), have been called the “next […]

Solar Powered lifestyle: The Good, the Bad and the Ridiculous

I recently read about an innovative new solar product from BMW, the I solar carport, which will produce electricity for BMW owners to charger their electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The release of this product got me wondering about what other new,  solar powered lifestyle items are now available to eco-friendly consumers. Here’s a short […]

Where are the female tradies?

Male domination of trades and trade courses in the automotive, construction, mining and energy sectors is entrenched above 95%, despite the substantial pay advantage compared to other trades such as hairdressing and hospitality. In an effort to uncover why so few girls pursue the male-dominated trade careers, I set off to schools with my pink […]

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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.