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…]

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…]

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…]

Tesla to shake up solar battery storage

tesla battery

The Tesla Model S battery shown here is coming to your house. (pic: cool-electric-cars.com)

Solar energy’s Great Leap Forward in efficiency and viability is about to be joined by its natural twin, solar battery storage.

This scenario, which was hinted at by electric car manufacturer Tesla during the week, will reverberate around the energy community and send shudders down the collective spines of fossil fuel providers and their defenders in the halls of power. [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 there are many people who 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…]

Solar will be the dominant energy source by 2050 (thanks to batteries)

solar battery

Batteries are getting 15% cheaper every year.

More evidence emerged this week of the imminent arrival of the solar storage revolution. First was a report by the Deutsche Bank, the latest to predict that solar will become the dominant energy source by 2050, displacing other traditional energy such as fossil fuels.

“Over the next 20 years, we expect the electricity market to double to $US4 trillion and expect the solar industry to increase by a factor of 10. During this timeframe, the solar industry is expected to generate $5 trillion of cumulative revenue,” said the report.

[Read more…]

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…]

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…]

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