Are micro inverters & battery backup compatible?

3 microinverters and 2 batteries

Can you combine micro inverters with batteries? Yes you can!

Can you use a micro inverter off grid? Or even for grid connect with batteries?

With the growth in the use of micro inverters, I’m starting to get more and more emails asking: can micro inverters be used in off grid (or hybrid) solar power systems? [Read more…]

Panasonic Wants the Sun to Fill Your Car’s Fuel Tank

Powertree Services Inc. is teaming up with Panasonic to build 68 electric-vehicle charging stations that will use solar power to recharge the cars’  batteries. While this venture will be tested at various multi-unit residences in San Francisco, they hope to create more and be ready as the appeal, cost, and availability of electric cars increases. To read more on this story, click here.

Will Enphase Revolutionise Solar Power Storage?

Yesterday, Enphase revealed the Enphase Energy Management System that they claim could revolutionize solar power and its integration into the grid. The new Gen 5 “S Series” micro-inverter is bi-directional, allowing for more energy to be stored, managed, and controlled. The system’s AC Battery is a modular, plug and play battery. This will allow you to simply add storage as you go (and as your funds allow) instead of ponying up for a massive battery storage system all at once. Thirdly there’s an app (gotta have an app!) that allows users to match loads to energy generation, store energy when it is most profitable to do so, and other controls. Read more about it here.

Commercial Solar Storage Developed By Stem/Kyocera Team-Up

Stem Inc. and Kyocera Inc. have collaborated to develop a more cost effective and efficient way to store solar electricity for commercial users. Using Stem’s behind-the-meter storage and analytics in conjunction with Kyocera’s solar panels, many commercial customers should be able to massively reduce their imports from the grid. This also includes the ability to inject additional power during peak demand, potentially reducing peak usage charges.

Stem believes it can predict power usages up to 30 days in advance in order to properly prepare.  Pretty cool. For more on this story, click here.

Focus on solar microgrids as fossil fuel wavers

microgrid with solar and PV

Taking whole streets (or villages) off the grid is likely to become more common.

What role will community-based solar microgrids play as Aussies look for environmental and affordable energy alternatives?

First, I should explain what a microgrid actually is. It is simply a cluster of buildings, all connected together electrically, but not connected to the wider electric grid. An example would be taking your whole street off the grid instead of simply your own home. If you do this, you can share solar generation and battery storage among other things. As feed in tariffs get lower, this becomes more attractive. Wouldn’t you rather your sell excess solar energy to your neighbour for a fair price than be forced to sell it to someone like Energex for a miserly 6c per kWh?

According to analysts Frost and Sullivan’s report “Analysis of the Asia-Pacific Microgrid Market” the microgrid electrification (including solar programs) is expected to reach a sales figure of $813 million by 2020, growing at an expected astonishing rise of 38.3 percent over that of 2013. Countries surveyed by Frost and Sullivan include Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and (yes!) Australia. [Read more…]

Solar storage breakthrough spoils nark’s party

solar power station and solar nark

Solar has gone 24/7 – and on a massive scale.

When it comes to policy backflips on alternative energy sources it’s been a nark’s world here in Australia. It would be incorrect to generalise, but I’m going to anyway; there is now a preponderance of knuckle-dragging, climate deniers in office in state and federal governments. Many of whom are looking to increase subsidies to their favourite fossil fuel energy source of choice and winding back any previous legislation that could be called remotely progressive. [Read more…]

‘Walk for solar’ latest to demonstrate grass roots support for Port Augusta solar power

port augusta solar thermal plant

Can people power get one of these built in Port Augusta?

The Victorian solar industry and supporters are the latest to suffer what is becoming an event as predictable as Gerry Harvey whinging about online retailers at Christmas time. This was when Premier Ted “The Blade” Baillieu’s government announced a slashing of the state’s feed-in tariff from 25 cents per kilowatt hour down to 8 cents.

However despite being hammered left, right and centre by newly-installed conservative governments across the nation, solar energy in this country has always enjoyed massive support from ordinary folk.

So why don’t the pollies (like video refs) see the game the same as the punters? [Read more…]

Hybrid Solar Systems Part 3: Costs and Payback

solar panels and a dollar sign

What’s the payback?

In my previous 2 posts I looked at the concept and design of Hybrid Solar systems.

The main conclusion of those 2 articles was that

a) Hybrid solar rocks!

b) But you gotta pay for it!

So the question this post will try to answer is:

How Much Extra Does Hybrid Solar Cost?

and bearing in mind the extra costs:

What is the payback of Hybrid Solar Compared To Regular Grid Connect Solar?

So let’s look at the cost of a quality 5kW system and then see what it costs to upgrade it to “Hybrid”. [Read more…]

Hybrid Solar Part 2: How To Future Proof Your Solar System

Hybrid badge

Hybrid Solar Too?

In my previous blog post on hybrid solar systems (aka grid connect with battery backup) I promised to follow up with a post that went into more detail on the costs and give examples of inverter hardware that can be used to make such a beast.

I’ve realised that if I go into the costs and paybacks then this blog post may be longer than War and Peace. So in this post I’ll cover the hardware and I’ll save the financials for next time.

As I said in the previous post, your motivation for spending more on a hybrid solar system will likely be either: [Read more…]

Grid Connected Solar Panels with Battery Backup (aka Hybrid Solar)

A solar panel charging a battery

Batteries + Solar?

A few weeks ago I blogged about my mate who really hates his electricity company. In fact he hates them so much he wanted his new house to have an expensive off grid solar system with battery backup, diesel genset, the works.

I blogged how the cost of going off grid with solar would be over $50,000 compared to about $12,000 for a standard, grid connect 5kW system and that it would be economically barmy to go completely off grid if your home already has a connection to the grid which you can use.

[Read more…]