How The Cost Of Powerwall Storage Doubled In 11 Months

cost of powerwall

The cost of a storing each kWh in a Tesla Powerwall is much more than you might think.

 

[Update: on Oct 28 2016 Tesla announced the Powerwall 2 ]

[Update: In June 2016 Tesla updated the Powerwall warranty – details here]

11 months ago Elon Musk jumped on stage and announced the Powerwall.  The Tesla data sheets released after Musk’s presentation proclaimed we would soon be able to buy a 7kWh daily cycling Powerwall for US$3,000. It would be guaranteed for 10 years with an optional 10 year warranty extension available. Treehouse, one of the companies who Tesla announced would be first to sell it in the US declared that $3,000 was the retail price – not the wholesale price and we all went “Wow! Cheap batteries have finally arrived.”. [Read more…]

Adding Solar Panels To Existing System? Here’s What You Need To Know.

solar panels with space for adding more

Here are your options and gotchas when adding solar panels to an existing system.

So you’ve got solar panels on your roof and you want more so you can get your bills even lower?

(Note: If you are on a premium Feed In Tariff then you need to understand how solar upgrades can affect your eligibility. 

If you are on the NSW solar bonus scheme, then your FiT is ending on 31 December 2016 – and you should time your upgrade to happen as close to this date as possible)

[Read more…]

The Truth About Battery Ready Solar Systems

Do you want your new solar system to be battery ready? First you have to know what that means...

Do you want your new solar system to be ‘battery ready’? First you have to know what that actually means…

Most homeowners I speak to are really keen to get batteries.

Just not right now.

They want to wait a few years until the price has come down substantially. And who can blame them when a typical battery system in 2016 has a payback of 20 years but only carries a 10 year warranty.

So clued up homeowners looking to buy solar are really keen to get a system that they can easily add batteries to in the future.

Solar companies have caught on to this and we are starting to see solar systems sold without batteries but advertised as ‘battery ready’.

Here at SolarQuotes we are getting more and more questions about what ‘battery ready’ actually means in these adverts, and the best way to buy a solar system that really is battery ready.

The truth is that ‘battery ready’ can mean lots of things. Many of the ads I have seen are technically correct – in that you can add batteries in the future – but probably not as easily, or with the functionality that many people will be expecting.

In my opinion if you are going to claim a specific solar system as battery ready then you must be more specific and explain the basis on which you are making the claim.

In this post I’ll go through 3 different interpretations of ‘battery ready’  – make sure you understand which one you are being offered. [Read more…]

Powerwall Alternatives That You Should Consider as Tesla Battery Hype Reaches Fever Pitch

powerwall alternatives

Just 3 of the Powerwall alternatives now available in Australia.

Manufacturers of Powerwall alternatives struggled to be heard last week as the mainstream media went crazy over the beautifully stage managed, first residential Powerwall battery storage installation in Australia. 

The mood was one of expectation and excitement — mixed with a tinge of dread in fossil fuel circles – as it heralded the advent of affordable home batteries from Tesla and its many competitors in the home battery market. [Read more…]

Tesla Powerwall vs. Enphase AC Battery

powerwall and Enphase AC battery

How the Tesla Powerwall and Enphase AC battery specs compare.

Tesla Powerwall
Approx $10,000 fully installed on compatible solar system
6.4 kWh
3.3 kW
single or 3 phase
no inverter included
no UPS features included
10 year Warranty
350 – 450 volts DC
Enphase AC Battery
About $2,000 fully installed on any existing solar system with any brand inverter
1.2 kWh
260W continuous, 270W peak
single or 3 phase
micro inverter included
no UPS features included
10 year Warranty
240 volts AC

In terms of good marketing in Australia, two batteries stand head and shoulders above the rest in Australia right now: the Tesla Powerwall and Enphase AC battery. Both of which are due for mainstream release in 2016.

(There are lots of alternative batteries around – many of which are worth considering – but this article is about Tesla vs Enphase due to the volume of enquiries we get about them.) [Read more…]

Do Electrolytic Capacitors Cripple Microinverter Reliability?

Part 1 of an interview with Enphase VP of Quality & Reliability: Ciaran Fox

In my experience solar installers either really love microinverters, or are incredibly wary of them. There seems to be very little middle ground.

Those who love them talk about their ease of installation, increased power output, flexibility of panel layout, panel level monitoring and shade performance.

Those who are wary of them generally worry about their reliability.

A microinverter is a box of sophisticated electronics that sits on your roof (under each solar panel). In Australia your roof gets hot! And if a microinverter fails, replacing it means climbing on the roof and removing the panel. So installers’ concerns are understandable.

an Enphase microinverter

A microinverter. You generally use one per solar panel instead of a single large central inverter. They are about as big as an iPad mini

To get some authoritative answers, I asked installers that I know to send me their toughest questions about microinverter reliability.

I then put those questions to Ciaran Fox who is the Vice President of Quality & Reliability at the world’s biggest microinverter manufacturer, Enphase. [Read more…]

The High Cost Of Very Cheap Solar

warning tape

Caution – extremely cheap solar has a high cost

The best deal is very rarely the cheapest deal. This is something we all understand intuitively.

So why do we get so easily get seduced by unbelievably cheap solar deals that appear so totally believable?

Let me be totally up front with you. I did not set up SolarQuotes as a tool for people to find the absolute cheapest solar systems on the market. [Read more…]

How To Find Solar Friendly Electricity Tariffs By Hacking Government Data

data hack

Learn how to hack the government’s electricity bill data for fun and profit…

If you own a solar system but haven’t shopped around the electricity retailers in a while, your bills are probably higher than they need to be.

The big gentailers, Origin, AGL and Energy Australia have made their disdain for solar very clear. They all lobbied to scrap government support for small scale solar during Tony Abbott’s RET review in 2014. And unsurprisingly their electricity tariff offers for solar owners are pretty ordinary.

Luckily there are lots of smaller retailers around these days that often beat the big names. And a handful of those offer solar Feed In Rates that are higher than the rates mandated by your state government. [Read more…]

Will Turnbull Practice What He Has Preached about Solar?

malcolm turnbull and solar panels

Malcolm Turnbull talks the talk but has consistently voted strongly against increasing investment in renewable energy.

The quote above comes from a video of Malcolm Turnbull giving a speech to launch the Beyond Zero Emissions Stationary Energy Plan in Sydney in 2010. The plan was (and still is) a blueprint to affordably go to  100% renewables in Australia within 10 years. [Read more…]

Microinverters Vs DC Optimisers – which is best? [infographic]

For those of you that want an easier way to understand the differences between microinverters (such as those manufactured by Enphase or APS) and DC optimisers (such as Solar Edge or Tigo), and don’t want to read this long post I published a couple of weeks ago then this 2 part infographic is for you!

The first part explains the difference between conventional, string inverter systems, DC optimised systems and microinverter systems (seasoned solar nerds may want to skip this and scroll straight down to part 2)

Microinverters vs DC Optimisers. Part 1

Microinverters vs DC Optimisers. Part 1

Part 2 goes into the pros and cons (and even picks a winner based on my humble opinion).

MIcroinverters vs DC Optimisers. Part 2

MIcroinverters vs DC Optimisers. Part 2

 

If you want to republish any of these infographics, no worries. All I ask is that you link back to this original post. I also have higher res versions which I can provide. Just ask!

* Note: the 2nd graphic has been updated to include 2 features of full Solar Edge systems (i.e. systems with Solar Edge optimisers coupled to Solar Edge Inverters) . Specifically Arc protection and individual fault bypass circuitry.

** This is only an opinion! If you vehemently disagree with my analysis, please leave a comment, or even write a well articulated blog post with your differing opinion, and I will happily publish it.