Does your hybrid solar system really need backup?

Did you know that adding batteries to your solar does not automatically mean it is blackout proof?

The holy grail of affordable on-grid energy storage has finally arrived! Well, it’s almost arrived. Actually, it might be a couple of years before it really arrives and most Australians can get their hands on low cost energy storage systems such as the Tesla Powerwall, but they are coming and they will eventually be here. Adding batteries to your home solar (AKA a hybrid solar system) means that you will no longer be forced to sell electricity for 6-8c and buy it back, at night for 30c. Hurrah!

But when the holy grail does arrive you will have a choice, so take care that you do not choose poorly.

While a bad choice is unlikely to cause you to crumble into dust like the Nazi villain at the end of the second worst Indiana Jones movie*, if you what you decide is wrong for your particular circumstances you may live to regret it. Actually, I can almost guarantee that you will live to regret it, as it is really not a life and death decision. Unless you go about it in an astoundingly bad way, such as cutting power cables with an axe and then licking them to see if they are live, I can pretty much guarantee you will still be around to either rue or feel chuffed about your choice. [Read more…]

Interview: Finn Peacock talks solar battery storage in Australia (and more)

finn peacock

Finn Peacock talks shop with Rich Bowden

It’s been a big year for news on solar battery storage in Australia. With the imminent release of Tesla’s Powerwall onto the market and influential reports predicting a new way of accessing energy, the trend has not been “if” but “when” renewables will end up dominating new energy takeup in the country.

But how much of this is kosher and how much wishful thinking? Are we on the cusp of a solar battery storage revolution? Can we start tearing up our electricity bills? To find out the answers we asked Finn Peacock, SolarQuotes founder (and professional cutter through bullshit), his opinion on exactly what has made 2015 so important in solar power and what his predictions are for the near future.

His frank analysis is fascinating, sometimes controversial and may surprise some. [Read more…]

Plants and Meatballs inspire breakthrough in solar storage technology

meatballs and solar panels

What have meatballs and pasta got to do with solar storage? Read on to find out…

Recent breakthroughs have seen battery storage at the forefront of renewable technology news. Glitzy, much-heralded pressers in the past month or so have delivered announcements that have shaken the energy sector, giving us a hint that living free of fossil fuels may be commercially viable in the not-too-distant future.

However with less fanfare, scientists from UCLA have been working at their own version of solar storage technology, one based on ancient technology (and meatballs) which may have an even more far reaching effect than battery storage. [Read more…]

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

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 [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: The Tesla Powerwall 1 was released after this post and required a separate Battery Inverter and the existing solar inverter. The Powerwall 1 has since been superseded by the Powerwall 2, which has an integrated Battery Inverter – and AC couples to a solar inverter.

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[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…]

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…]

ARENA funds independent testing for battery storage

battery icons

Which battery is best for Aussie conditions? ARENA aim to tell you…

Just when you thought the news in battery storage was over following Tesla’s launch of the Powerwall, comes this little news gem.

Renewable energy consulting firm IT Power have been granted $450,000 from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) — remember them? — to conduct special independent tests to confirm the efficiency of eight different types of battery storage. [Read more…]

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