Should you go off grid with a Powerwall 2?

 

bloke with powerwall 2 cutting the wires to his house

Thinking of getting a Powerwall 2 and taking yourself off grid? Then you need to read this first.

 

Note from Finn:

Since this post was published Tesla have canned the DC Powerwall 2 in Australia. We will now only be able to get an AC Powerwall 2. A regular AC coupled battery is no good for off grid because it can’t talk to the solar inverter to balance energy demand and supply. So if you live in Australia and want to go off grid do not use a Powerwall 2.


 

 

A long time ago, back in the days before we knew how lame the original Powerwall was compared to its hype or how good the Powerwall 2’s hype is compared to the original Powerwall, I wrote about whether or not my parents in sub-tropical Queensland could save money by going off-grid using lead-acid battery storage.

My conclusion was they could not save money even under almost ideal circumstances.  The benefit of staying on-grid and receiving even a low feed-in tariff for surplus solar electricity was too great to make saying sayonara to the grid connection wire worthwhile. [Read more…]

Going off grid with Redflow’s ZCell? Here’s how to handle the ‘maintenance purge’.

simon and 2 batteries

Simon Hackett with an early customer’s double Zcell off grid system.

Yesterday, Aussie solar veteran Tony Smith left an interesting question at the bottom of our ZCell battery review. Tony asked, for an off grid application, how to handle the fact that the ZCell battery needs to shut down so it can perform maintenance mode every week or so: [Read more…]

How solar energy is revolutionising microfarming

a solar powered micro farm

A solar powered 2 hectare farm that arrives in a shipping container. Pic: Farm-out-of-a-box

The advantages of solar energy in rural communities is well documented. Particularly those who are located in more remote parts of the land and countries where access to the grid is difficult, if not impossible.

For isolated communities in developing countries face enormous problems, both financial and logistical, to access centralised energy. To remedy this, aid organisations now supply people with solar panels for energy, lighting and heating. However this week saw news of a partnership between solar inverter leader SMA and practical aid group Farm from a Box that promises to take solar energy and micro-farming to a new level. [Read more…]

We ask five experts: Will battery storage change the way we live?

In the first of a series from SolarQuotes, we ask five eminent experts in the clean energy field to discuss four questions on a selected topic. This month we’ve selected “battery storage” as the launching pad for some fascinating discussion and advice.

Solar and battery storage has been one of the clean energy talking points of 2015 following the dramatic unveiling of the Powerwall by Tesla’s Elon Musk. However as we’ve seen, the Powerwall isn’t the only option out there in the marketplace and the best battery storage option will differ depending on your situation whether on-grid, off-grid or hybrid solar.

With this in mind we’ve asked our experts what these battery storage breakthroughs mean for Australian households and small businesses and what the future holds for energy independence. [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

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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…]

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…]

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) systems?

The short answer is yes they can! In fact a number of micro inverter battery backup systems are already operating here and abroad.

The longer answer gets a bit technical – but I’ll try to keep it as simple as I can!  [Read more…]

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