March2017

Solar households in Victoria set for cash infusion

July 1, 2017 will be a date worth celebrating for over 130,000 solar households and businesses in Victoria. Why the massive popping of champagne corks you ask? From July 1, any household that sells solar-generated power back to the grid will then receive a minimum of 11.3c/kWh for their feed-in tariff [FiT].  This is the first […]

The case for renationalising Australia’s electricity grid

The public debate over the problems of electricity supply displays a curious disconnect. On the one hand, there is virtually universal agreement that the system is in crisis. After 25 years, the promised outcomes of reform – cheaper and more reliable electricity, competitive markets and rational investment decisions – are further away than ever. On […]

How South Australia can function reliably while moving to 100% renewable power

Despite the criticism levelled at South Australia over its renewable energy ambitions, the state is nevertheless aiming to be carbon neutral by mid-century), which will mean moving to 100% renewable electricity over the next 15-20 years. The biggest challenge will be meeting the 2-3 hours of peak demand during the evenings, when wind generation happens […]

Shorten goes on front foot over 50% renewables ‘target’

Australia could be the “energy capital of Asia” but instead it is going backwards, Bill Shorten will say in a speech on Thursday, vigorously defending Labor’s target of 50% of Australia’s electricity coming from renewables by 2030. As the government floats the prospect of help for cleaner-coal power stations and attacks Labor for committing too […]

Australia’s electricity market is not agile and innovative enough to keep up

On the early evening of Wednesday, February 8, electricity supply to some 90,000 households and businesses in South Australia was cut off for up to an hour. Two days later, all electricity consumers in New South Wales were warned the same could happen to them. It didn’t, but apparently only because supply was cut to […]

Labor’s climate policy could remove the need for renewable energy targets

The federal Labor Party has sought to simplify its climate change policy. Any suggestion of expanding the Renewable Energy Target has been dropped. But there is debate over whether the new policy is actually any more straightforward as a result. One thing Labor did confirm is its support for an emissions intensity scheme (EIS) as […]

Crisis, what crisis? How smart solar can protect our vulnerable power grids

Some commentators seem to be worried that our electricity networks are facing an impending voltage crisis, citing fears that renewables (rooftop solar panels in particular) will threaten the quality of our power supply. These concerns hinge on the fact that solar panels and other domestic generators can push up voltages, potentially making it harder for […]

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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.