October2017

Construction industry loophole leaves home buyers facing higher energy bills

  Home buyers across Australia could face higher energy bills because of a loophole that allows builders to sidestep energy efficiency requirements. Since the early 2000s, all new homes built in Australia have to meet minimum thermal performance standards. In about 70% of cases, these homes are accredited using star ratings under the federal government’s […]

French and Australian experts on solving the world’s sustainability challenge

The Conversation and the Australian French Embassy presented a panel between French and Australian experts at the University of New South Wales in March, opened by the French Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault. In his opening remarks, Ayrault celebrated the signing and coming into force of the 2015 Paris Agreement, under […]

‘No one is steering the ship’: five lessons learned (or not) since the SA blackout

A year ago, the power system went down in South Australia. Homes and businesses across the state were without electricity for hours, some for days. While its specific causes have already been worked through, the nation’s most widespread blackout in decades quickly became a symbol of “Australia’s energy crisis”. One year on, it is time […]

Renewables will be cheaper than coal in the future. Here are the numbers

In a recent Conversation FactCheck I examined the question: “Is coal still cheaper than renewables as an energy source?” In that article, we assessed how things stand today. Now let’s look to the future. In Australia, 87% of our electricity generation comes from fossil fuels. That’s one of the highest levels of fossil fuel generation […]

More coal doesn’t equal more peak power

The proposed closure date for Liddell, AGL’s ancient and unreliable coal power station, is five years and probably two elections away. While AGL has asked for 90 days to come up with a plan to deliver equivalent power into the market, state and local governments, businesses and households will continue to drive the energy revolution. […]

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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.