May2017

Do you really want to purchase solar from your energy provider?

We conducted our second, bi-annual Australian Consumer Solar Survey back in February of this year and were surprised by the sentiment towards consumers purchasing solar systems from their current energy providers. 37.45% of respondents stated that they would not purchase a solar system from their energy retailer.  A further 30% were unsure. Here’s a breakdown […]

We don’t have a gas shortfall worth worrying about

Australia was warned earlier this year that a shortage of gas could create an energy crisis. A report from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) suggested a shortfall could occur in 3 of the next 13 years. This report was widely reported in the national media, with sensational headlines like “AEMO warns of blackouts as […]

Climate Council: climate, health and economics are against Carmichael mine

Despite the overwhelming evidence that fossil fuels are killing the Great Barrier Reef and making many extreme weather events worse; despite the emphatic thumbs-down from the finance sector; and despite the growing awareness of the serious health impacts of coal, the proposed Carmichael coal mine staggers on, zombie-like, amid reports it has been offered a […]

The solar panel and battery revolution: how will your state measure up?

A new roadmap for Australia’s electricity networks outlines a national plan to keep the lights on, make sure bills are affordable, and decarbonise our electricity industry by mid-century. The plan, by CSIRO and Energy Networks Australia, sets out measures that could save households A$414 a year on average, by generating their own electricity through “distributed” […]

Five things the east coast can learn from WA about energy

It’s an interesting time to be involved in energy policy. Thanks to the east coast energy crisis, the closure of Hazelwood power station and South Australia’s blackouts, the broadsheet-reading public suddenly finds itself conversant with all sorts of esoteric concepts, from gas peaking to five-minute price settlements. Amid all the disruption, it’s perhaps not surprising […]

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Beginners Guide to Solar Power

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Includes detailed explanations and diagrams of the various types of solar systems and their parts, solar battery storage systems, Government incentives, expected ROI periods, finance, energy saving tips and more!

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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.