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.

If you want a 5kW solar system in QLD – consider getting it before Sept 30 2015!

map of qld

Rules for installing solar in QLD change after 30 September

 

The Queensland electricity networks (hello Ergon and Energex!) are a fussy bunch. At the time of writing (August 2015) if you want to install a standard grid connect solar system bigger than 5kW, you need to jump through all sorts of technical hoops. And then the networks may also insist that you install a box of electronics that stops any of your excess energy being exported. That’s right you have to waste any excess clean energy instead of letting your neighbours use it! [Read more…]

Microinverters Vs. Dc Optimisers: Which option is best?

optimisers and microinverters

If you’ve decided on panel-level optimisation, which is the better choice, microinverters or optimisers?

Good grief this article is going to get me into trouble with some solar installers.  Why? Because by the end of it I will give my humble opinion on whether microinverters (e.g. Enphase) are better than DC optimisers (e.g. SolarEdge or Tigo). [Read more…]

Solar Systems in ACT to increase by $400 from 1 July 2015

a meter and $400

$400 extra from July 1. Ouch.

ACTEW AGL have just announced that they are increasing the cost of installing a solar compatible, import export meter from July 1 2015.

Basically – if your application to connect is received after 30 June, instead of paying $66, you will be charged $500 for a new meter.

So if you live in ACT and have decided to go solar, it makes sense to sign up as soon as possible. You can get quick quotes from up to 3 ACT installers here.

ActewAGL General Manager Asset Management Stephen Devlin said:

“Charges for meter installation will be increasing. This change has occurred because of new National Electricity Rules that have been introduced that restructure the provision of metering in the industry.

 

As part of the Australian Energy Regulator’s final decision released on 30 April 2015, ActewAGL Distribution is required to move to full cost recovery for metering services from 1 July 2015.

 

Therefore, from 1 July 2015 ActewAGL customers will be required to pay the full up-front cost for new meters, including installation. Applications for any connection received before 30 June 2015 will be treated under the old pricing regime, where customers only pay for installation.

 

For solar customers, the cost of a new meter and installation would change from about $66 to $500.”

Solar meter charges will also be increasing by around $200 in NSW if you are on the Ausgrid network from July 1 thanks to the AER’s decision.

Tony Abbott vs. Elon Musk

Who do you think has it right – Tony or Elon?

Posted by SolarQuotes on Thursday, June 11, 2015

 

 

Tony Abbott is convinced that solar and wind cannot power an industrial economy. Elon Musk believes it is very feasible to power the entire world with batteries and renewables.

Watch the video above and let us know who you agree with:
[yop_poll id=”1″]

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