September2016

The real lesson from South Australia’s electricity ‘crisis’: we need better climate policy

Australia’s energy markets got a big shock in July this year, when wholesale electricity prices spiked in South Australia, alarming the state government and major industrial customers. Commentators rushed to find the immediate culprits. But the real issues lie elsewhere. As shown by the Grattan Institute’s latest report the market worked. Having soared, prices fell […]

50% renewable energy would put Australia in line with leading nations

Opposition leader Bill Shorten told the Labor Party conference that the party’s policy should be for 50% of electricity to come from renewables by 2030. This would bring Australia abreast with its international competitors such as California, with its recently announced target of 50% of electricity from renewables by 2030, and Germany, where the Energiewende […]

Solar households to lose subsidies, but it’s a bright future for the industry

Solar households in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales will this year cease to be paid for power they export into the electricity grid. In South Australia, some households will lose 16 cents per kilowatt-hour (c/kWh) from September 31. Some Victorian households will lose 25 c/kWh, and all NSW households will stop receiving payments […]

Sunshine on a cloudy day | How solar panels work in cloudy weather

As solar power, battery storage and renewable energy targets continue their upward trajectory, there are still a lot of misconceptions surrounding solar panels and solar systems. Back in July, we addressed 6 popular solar myths. We’re going to delve a bit deeper into one of those 6 myths: Solar power only works on sunny days. […]

People power is the secret to reliable, clean energy

Australia’s energy watchdog, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), has issued a stark warning: more wind and solar power will demand new approaches to avoid interruptions to electricity supply. In its annual Electricity Statement of Opportunities, released this week, AEMO indicated that the overall outlook for reliability has improved. So far, so good. However, South […]

Four tips for looking after your solar panels

Keep them clean and you’ll be evergreen You don’t have to wash your car in order for it to run, but it certainly helps. It’s the same with solar panels. If you live in a neighbourhood that has a lot of dirt and sand, ongoing construction or is particularly windy you’ll want to keep a […]

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Beginners Guide to Solar Power

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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.