October2016

The A$1.2 billion saving Australia’s electricity rule-maker just knocked back

The governing body for our energy market, the Australian Energy Market Commission, has just missed a major opportunity to modernise our electricity networks. Last week the commission rejected a proposal to pay credits to small, local generators (such as small wind, solar and gas). Our research shows that this could save electricity consumers A$1.2 billion […]

Attacks on renewable energy policy are older than the climate issue itself

The recent battles over the budget of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and before that over the size of the Renewable Energy Target, are the latest skirmishes in a long-running war over support for technologies that harvest Australia’s abundant wind and solar resources. Perhaps surprisingly, the conflict even predates the popular awareness of climate […]

Electric Vehicles in Oz

In 2006 Sony Pictures Classics released a documentary film called Who Killed the Electric Car? The film suggested that since the average driving distance of Americans in a day is 30 miles or less and so for 90% of Americans, electric cars would work as a daily commute car or second car. This was deduced […]

Australian Renewable Energy Agency saved but with reduced funding – experts react

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has been granted a funding lifeline of A$800 million over the next five years, after the federal government and opposition came to an agreement that will save the agency. ARENA had faced being wound down as a result of the government’s earlier proposal to strip A$1.3 billion from the […]

Renewables are getting cheaper all the time – here’s why

The stars are aligning for Australia to transition to 100% renewable electricity. Our fossil fuel infrastructure is ageing, which means we will soon need to invest in new power generators. New technologies such as battery storage could revolutionise long-standing business models. With care, the transitions away from fossil fuels could offer greater job opportunities. Our […]

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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.