November2017

Solar Batteries: Are They Worth It?

There is a lot of discussion this year around the benefits of installing a battery device to household solar panel systems. In essence they are a great idea, storing energy to save the environment as well as household costs and excess electricity. But is the investment worthwhile at this point in time, when the system […]

What’s the net cost of using renewables to hit Australia’s climate target? Nothing

Australia can meet its 2030 greenhouse emissions target at zero net cost, according to our analysis of a range of options for the National Electricity Market. Our modelling shows that renewable energy can help hit Australia’s emissions reduction target of 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030 effectively for free. This is because the cost of […]

Energy ministers’ power policy pow-wow is still driven more by headlines than details

A quick scan of this week’s headlines shows the government’s new energy plan would “slash A$120 off power bills” and that the “Turnbull government plan to address energy crisis predicts A$400 price drop”. Yes, the initial findings of the modelling of the federal government’s National Energy Guarantee (NEG) are out. Cue the latest round of […]

Six compelling reasons to seriously consider investing in a solar PV system

Australian Power prices are out of control. Solar is the best way to protect your lifestyle going forward. Power prices in Australia have doubled over the last 2 years and there doesn’t seem to bemuch relief in sight. There are things that you can do such as using less electricity and installing more efficient appliances […]

Will the National Energy Guarantee hit pause on renewables?

The federal government’s new National Energy Guarantee (NEG) proposal looks likely to put the brakes on renewable energy investment in Australia. And based on the sparse detail so far available, there are serious questions about whether the plan really can deliver on its aims of reliability, emissions reductions and lower prices. The broad mechanism design […]

Subsidies for renewables will go under Malcolm Turnbull’s power plan

The government is set to unveil its long-awaited energy plan that would scrap subsidies for renewables and impose obligations on power companies to source a certain proportion of “reliable” supply. While the plan emphasises reliability and reducing power prices, the government is also confident it would allow Australia to meet its commitments under the Paris […]

Australian household electricity prices may be 25% higher than official reports

The International Energy Agency (IEA) may be underestimating Australian household energy bills by 25% because of a lack of accurate data from the federal government. The Paris-based IEA produces official quarterly energy statistics for the 30 member nations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), on which policymakers and researchers rely heavily. But […]

Power bills can fall – but the main attention must be on affordability: ACCC

The chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Rod Sims, holds out the prospect of an absolute fall in electricity bills over coming years – but says this will require focusing centrally on affordability, not just reliability and sustainability. In its Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry preliminary report into the electricity market, released on […]

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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.