February2017

Why bad housing design pumps up power prices for everyone

Whether you’re a boatie or not, everyone realises the importance of keeping the water on the outside when you go sailing or fishing. The less leaky the boat, the less you have to rely on devices like bilge pumps to stay afloat. What does this have to do with houses? Well, Australia’s homes are notoriously […]

Size does matter: Australia’s addiction to big houses is blowing the energy budget

Australia’s houses are getting bigger, but usually not more sustainable. In our recent study, we looked at the energy use of Australian houses, including the energy required to build, maintain and power our homes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we found that more energy goes into bigger houses. This is bad news not just for the environment, but […]

Liberal Party re-election could benefit WA business by $40K

If Western Australia’s Liberal Party takes the State election next month, they are poised to continue their support of renewable energy, with a yet to be introduced rebate for businesses. The rebate is set to benefit businesses that install “large” solar systems and is valued up to $40,000. If re-elected, the Liberal Party will run […]

What can Australia learn from Germany’s remarkable energy transition?

The Australian government is reviewing our electricity market to make sure it can provide secure and reliable power in a rapidly changing world. Faced with the rise of renewable energy and limits on carbon pollution, The Conversation has asked experts what kind of future awaits the grid. The Finkel review of the National Electricity Market […]

To pay solar households fairly, we need to understand the true value of solar

The Australian government is reviewing our electricity market to make sure it can provide secure and reliable power in a rapidly changing world. Faced with the rise of renewable energy and limits on carbon pollution, The Conversation has asked experts what kind of future awaits the grid. This year many Australian households will find themselves […]

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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.