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″]

Elon Musk Announces Powerwall Upgrade Before It Is Even Released

elon musk

Elon Musk announces Powerwall V1.1

Earlier today, in the 2015 Tesla Motors shareholder meeting Elon Musk announced that the Powerwall will be upgraded from 2kW to 5kW steady power output (and up to 7kW peak) and keep the same price. He said that they were responding to criticism that the original 2kW was not enough to cope with the peak power demand of a typical home. [Read more…]

Solar Battery Storage Explained [Infographic]

I’ve written about hybrid solar and off grid solar systems before, but Tesla’s latest announcement about its new PowerWall battery is a real game changer for solar battery storage affordability – Morgan Stanley has a report that attests to this in greater detail. For those of you that don’t feel like slogging through an in-depth report, I’ve summarised the important distinctions between Hybrid and Off-Grid solar systems below. Enjoy!

infographic explaining solar battery storage

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Tesla Powerwall vs. AGL’s PowerLegato

So AGL have thrown their hat into the solar battery storage ring with the AUO PowerLegato manufactured by Taiwanese Solar and Electronic conglomerate, AU Optronics.

So how do they compare on specs?

a powerwall and a powerlegato

Tesla Powerwall Daily Cycle Model
AU$3,800 (wholesale price, not installed)
7kWh
3.3 kW
single or 3 phase
no inverter included
no UPS features included
10 year Warranty
92% round-trip DC efficiency
350 – 450 volts
Operating Temp: -20°C to 43°C
100kg
1300 x 860 x 180mm
AGL/AUO PowerLegato
AU$9,990 fully installed on an existing DC solar system (updated 8 July)
7.2kWh
3kW continuous, 4.5kW peak
single phase only
4.5kW PV Inverter included
UPS feature built in
unknown warranty
unknown round-trip DC efficiency
48 volts
Operating Temp: -20°C to 40°C
138kg
672x688x384mm
[Read more…]

The cheap & cheerful way to add a Tesla Powerwall to your exisiting solar system?

a powerwall on a wall

What might be the cheapest way to install a Tesla Powerwall + solar?

[Note: This blog post is an educated guess on how the Tesla Powerwall might work based on stuff Elon Musk has publicly said and the press section of their website. So bear that in mind if making any decisions based on this post. Tesla have released sketchy and often contradictory technical details about the Powerwall, so it is impossible to be sure how the thing will work or integrate into an existing system. I’ve tried asking Tesla US and Tesla Australia for clarification, but with no luck.]

Since Tesla announced their low cost home battery, many solar installers have been looking for the cheapest way to integrate one into your home’s electrical system.

This has led to the emergence of a whole new category of residential solar system, that had never really been considered here in Australia before the Tesla announcement – the not-very-catchy “Hybrid Solar Without Backup” system.

This is a system which, to save thousands of dollars on the install, removes the ability for the batteries to power your home if the grid goes down. The batteries are only used to store solar energy. They cannot be used in an outage. [Read more…]

Will The Tesla PowerWall let you go off grid for $3500 ?

tesla powerwall

Will the Tesla Battery lead to a stampede of people leaving the grid? Photo: Tesla

[Update: Since I wrote this post (on the day the Powerwall was announced) Tesla have added some technical details that open up the possibility of installing the Powerwall for a much lower price than this blog post estimates. But – and it’s a big but – the cheaper installation will not allow you to go off grid. More details on the alternative install option here]

 

So Tesla has just announced a 10kWh home battery pack that costs US$3,500 (AUD$4,500) . The Tesla PowerWall will mount unobtrusively on the wall of your home and store your solar energy, so you can use it at night or when the grid goes down.

Lots of twitterers are proclaiming that Renewable Energy utopia has arrived. You’d be forgiven from thinking that, thanks to Tesla founder Elon Musk, all we have to do to divorce the grid is shell out three and a half grand.

Look – I don’t want to piss on anyone’s parade. This announcement is massive in lots of ways which I’ll get to soon. But you won’t be able to go off grid for that kind of money (yet).

Here’s what Aussie homeowners should know about the Telsa Powerwall [Read more…]

Looking for a Tier 1 Solar Inverter? Sorry, no such beast!

sma inverter

A good inverter is essential in the Australian sun.

Picking great inverters; Tier 1, 2 or 3?

Savvy solar customers are quickly realising that there is a very real difference between the quality of products and services you can find in the solar industry.

As a general rule, the old adage “you get what you pay for” generally holds true but the plethora of offers and solar companies can make selection tricky. Here at SolarQuotes I’ve helped make this choice a little easier by developing its own ranking system for installation companies.

But how do you choose a great inverter? [Read more…]