The Billionaire’s Gambit – Why we should politely decline.


Note from Finn:

This post is Ronald’s considered opinion of Elon Musk’s offer. My personal opinion (with caveats) is that we should accept the offer. I’ll publish a post later today with my reasoning.


Elon Musk has offered to sell South Australia large scale Tesla battery storage of 100 megawatt-hours or more.  He says it will cost $250 US dollars at the “pack level” per kilowatt-hour which is around $333 at today’s exchange rate.  What’s more, he has promised it will be installed within 100 days of the contract being signed or it’s free.

This may be the best offer that has ever been made for large scale lithium battery storage.  But despite the small chance we would get it for free, I think our reply should be a polite, “No thank you.”

South Australia doesn’t need a large amount of battery storage to solve its current electricity supply problems and so there are better alternatives to spend the money on.  If in the future it turns out it would be useful we can get it then and it should be even cheaper. [Read more…]

SA Power Networks’ Shonky Voltages Causing Headaches For Adelaide Solar Owners

Most solar inverters will shut down at 257V.

Most solar inverters will shut down at 257V.

I’m getting reports that lots of solar owners in Adelaide have seen their inverters shut down over Christmas.

No, the inverters are not taking a break to eat mince pies and open their presents – they are shutting down because the grid voltage seems to be regularly going higher than 257V. Many inverters are designed to shut down when the grid gets this high, in order to protect the inverter electronics.

According to the Australian Standard (AS 60038-2012), the grid should be kept at 230V -6% / + 10%. So the highest it should get is 253V. [Read more…]

Why connecting your solar system to the grid is harder in NSW

grid connect solar

What are the rules for connecting to the grid in NSW?

Australians love their rooftop solar and believe it or not, despite our relatively small population we have collectively installed more household solar systems than almost any other country in the world.

For consumers, it’s a no brainer but the electricity companies seem to be making things more difficult as time goes by. Is this justified and are their technical issues we need to understand as solar owners, or are they just profiteering?

The grid is a complex beast and the electricity industry is even more complicated, so the answer is ‘a bit of both’. In fairness to the utilities, and because I’ve had a heap of emails from frustrated NSW folks, I thought I would highlight the New South Wales Service Rules as one example of how technical issues need to be considered. [Read more…]

Solar intermittency can be managed: CSIRO report

Sun and clouds

Do those pesky clouds mean we can’t use solar as base load power?

One of the chief criticisms fossil fuel narks level against solar power is its alleged inability to provide baseload power. This is defined as the minimum amount of energy needed over a 24 hour period to satisfy the utility’s customers. What about cloud cover? This is the critics’ plaintive cry and rallying point as they call for further subsidies for their beloved, earth-destroying coal and oil fuelled energy sources.

They have a point though, what of cloud cover (known as solar intermittency) reducing solar’s effectiveness? According to the aforementioned narks, solar power is unable to provide energy reliability due to this factor preventing the full exploitation of the sun’s energy potential and therefore cannot be considered a reliable form of energy. [Read more…]

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