Posts By Ronald Brakels, Author & Fact-Checker At SolarQuotes

Powerwall Vs. Lead Acid Batteries. Which is best for off grid?

powerwall and a lead acid battery

Does the Powerwall make sense for off grid applications?

I recently wrote about how my parents could save money by going off-grid in sub-tropical Queensland under close to best case conditions, and how it made no sense at all for them to do this as the return from having grid connected rooftop solar is so much better.

The recently announced Tesla Powerwall doesn’t change this. However, it will still be a very useful option for people who have no choice other than to live off grid, and for those who want to go off grid for non-economic reasons. It has a number of advantages over currently used lead-acid batteries, and in my opinion, for many applications the Powerwall knocks lead-acid batteries into a cocked hat, which will soon be squashed very flat, as lead-acid batteries are really heavy. [Read more…]

An Off Grid Solar System Can Pay For Itself But Can’t Beat On Grid Solar

Ronald's parents

Lot’s of folks are wondering if it is time to leave the grid.

Home energy storage has gained a lot of attention recently, and many people think making homes independent from the grid by using batteries to store electricity from rooftop solar is an idea whose time has finally come.

So will home energy storage soon be like rooftop solar in that it will pay for itself and be used in homes across the nation, or is it like a porn star?  Always coming, but probably not something you would actually want in your house.

To gauge its prospects I decided to investigate whether or not a household that is well-suited for energy storage could save money right now by installing an off grid solar system.  And entirely through good fortune and not at all because I am too lazy to bother doing real research, my parents just happen to fit into this category.  If they can’t save money by going off grid then probably no one can. [Read more…]

Are millions of solar roofs making solar farms pointless?

solar roofs and a solar field

Are solar roofs making solar power stations uneconomic?

Utility scale solar, or solar farms, are fields of PV panels which generate electricity that is fed directly into the grid.  Currently we don’t have much of this in Australia.  Over 99% of our solar capacity is point of use which is mostly on rooftops and the juice it does produce is first used to power the household or business it is on top of and then after that the excess is generally fed into the grid. [Read more…]

Is midday the new off peak – thanks to solar?


Pylons carrying electricity at $0.005 per kWh. Last Saturday.

I was at home on a cloudy Saturday morning in Adelaide last week, performing some much needed repairs on my puppets in between refreshing my knowledge of chemistry. (Apparently everything is still made of atoms.) Then I noticed through a crack in the wall that the sun had come out and I opened the electrically operated steel shutters to see that, although there were still patches of cloud around, most of Adelaide was bathed in glorious noon sunshine.

On a whim I decided to check what effect this break in the weather had on grid demand and so I went to the Australian Electricity Market Operator’s site. Fortunately I could do this via internet and so didn’t have far to walk. I saw there had been quite a steep decline in demand which apparently had gone hand in hand with the clearing skies. [Read more…]

Tindo Solar’s Support For An Anti-Dumping Investigation Is Bad For The Australian Solar Industry And The Environment



Today I’d like to welcome a new contributor to the SolarQuotes blog – Ronald Brakels. Ronald is technically minded and has a lot of passion for the Australian renewable energy industry, and is not afraid to put his opinion forth. I’m not always going agree with every opinion Ronald holds – but I always enjoy how he articulates those opinions. I think you will too. Over to you Ronald:

Tindo Solar is Australia’s only solar panel manufacturer and its Adelaide facility employs a total of 25 people. They produce high quality solar panels specially designed for the harsh Australian environment. Finn tells me he has 24 of them on his roof and they are working great. They are panels that I highly recommend.

Or at least, I used to be able to recommend them. I’m not sure I can do that with a clear conscience any more. Why? Because Tindo Solar has embarked on a course of action that I believe may well harm both Australia’s solar industry and the world’s environment. [Read more…]

Get The SolarQuotes Weekly Newsletter