April2017

After 25 years of trying, why aren’t we environmentally sustainable yet?

In 1992, more than 170 countries came together at the Rio Earth Summit and agreed to pursue sustainable development, protect biological diversity, prevent dangerous interference with climate systems, and conserve forests. But, 25 years later, the natural systems on which humanity relies continue to be degraded. So why hasn’t the world become much more environmentally […]

South Australia’s energy plan deals a blow to state-federal relations

South Australia has unveiled an energy plan in which the state takes a much greater role in the energy industry. The plan includes storage, a new gas plant and greater powers for the state over the National Electricity Market. SA has the highest proportion of wind energy in Australia – and the federal government has […]

How electric cars can help save the grid

A key question amid the consternation over the current state of Australia’s east coast energy market has been how much renewable energy capacity to build, and how fast. But help could be at hand from a surprising source: electric vehicles. By electrifying our motoring, we would boost demand for renewable energy from the grid, while […]

South Australia’s energy plan gives national regulators another headache

The keenly awaited new energy policy unveiled by South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill features a range of headline-grabbing items, such as a plan to spend A$150 million on a 100-megawatt battery storage facility to help stave off the danger of future blackouts. On page 7 of the policy document, Weatherill explains part of his underlying […]

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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.