PowerBank trial for WA Homes | Tesla PowerPack

An official announcement by the Government of Western Australia on Wednesday notes that they will partner with Western Power and Synergy to offer a Tesla PowerBank trial via a 105kW (420kWh) Tesla PowerBank battery.

PowerBank trial for WA Homes.

 

PowerBank trial for WA Homes.
Tesla PowerPack Commercial Battery – PowerBank trial for WA Homes (source: Tesla)

The 24 month trial period means that customers participating will be able to ‘virtually’ store excess power they generate during the day (it’ll be fed into the utility-scale 105kW Tesla PowerPack Battery). They can then use 8kWhs of the PowerBank’s battery storage without needing to install their own power bank. According to the press release (and it’s true!), “8kWhs is enough to power the average suburban home for over one hour during peak time.”

Energy Minister Ben Wyatt discussed the Tesla PowerBank trial in a series of interesting quotes which explain how helpful this trial could be to Mandurah residents:

“PowerBank is an ‘in front of the meter’ storage trial which allows invited local customers to store excess electricity from already installed solar PV systems to then use it during peak times.

“This is another Australian milestone for the application of utility-scale batteries for the benefit for customers, drawing on the groundbreaking work by Synergy in its Alkimos Beach energy storage trial.

“For the first time in Australia, a utility-scale battery will be integrated into an established suburb’s network, like Meadow Springs, that has a high level of existing solar PV uptake.

“At the cost of one dollar a day, customers will have access to 8kWh of battery storage to use any time after 3pm each day.

“This trial shows that the WA Government is serious about working with renewables, delivering for taxpayers and planning for our energy future.”

Click here to view the media statement from the WA state government.

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Solar Battery Rebates in Victoria | Solar Homes Program

Solar battery rebates in Victoria will be rolled out as part of the Andrews’ government’s $1.34b Solar Homes program. The program also includes half price solar panels for 650,000 households and a $1,000 discount on solar hot water installation for 60,000 households. 

Solar Battery Rebates in Victoria – Solar Homes Program

Solar Battery Rebates in Victoria
Solar Battery Rebates in Victoria (source: solar.vic.gov.au)

Victorian home owners who fit the criteria (it’s means tested) will get a 50% rebate to install battery storage. The rebate will be capped at $4838 in the first year and will slowly decrease to $3714 by 2026, factoring in the inevitability that prices will decrease and energy storage technology will improve. The Age are reporting that this policy will cost an estimated $40m, with around 10,000 Victorian households expected to take advantage of the fantastic subsidy offer. 

According to the SBS, it’s part of Labor’s wider plan to increase renewable energy use and decrease the cost of living – with the plan being to work with energy distributors and invest $10m to help ‘renewable-proof’ the state grid over the next ten years. 

“This is a game changer for Victorian families fed up with big corporations that have been price gouging and ripping consumers off,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“Only Labor will put solar panels, solar hot water or solar batteries on 720,000 homes – saving Victorians thousands of dollars on their electricity bills with renewable energy.”

Solar Homes Victoria Subsidy Breakdown

We’ve previously written about Labor’s half price solar for Victorians scheme- looks like there are some great plans coming to fruition for the state. 

Solar Panels – $1.2b for 50% of solar system installation costs for 650,000 homes.

Solar Hot Water – $60m for $1000 subsiddies to install solar hot water.

Solar Batteries – $40m for 50% of solar battery installation costs for ~10,000 homes.

It’ll be very interesting to see how these solar battery rebates work in Victoria and if the other states (especially the ones with a high solar panel update) follow suit. Watch this space – we’ll keep you updated! 

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Tesla in Australia 2018/2019 – Facts & Figures

Tesla have announced their Q2 earnings which notes that they have a ‘crazy’ growth outlook despite cell shortage and a slow deployment of their solar roof. Tesla in Australia is still very far behind the USA, but what can we expect the future to bring?

Tesla in Australia – 2018/19

What can Australians expect from Tesla over the next financial year? We’ve had an agonisingly slow rollout down under and there are many people waiting to see how long it takes for the solar roof to make its way out here.

With the cell shortage that has crippled availability of the Tesla Powerwall 2 in Australia, is it worth waiting for the Powerwall 3 instead? There hasn’t been any announcement yet so it really depends on your personal situation. 

The Tesla Gigafactory in Buffalo, New York is in working on speeding up production of the Solar Roof. They hope to produce 1 GW of solar products at the site annually beginning in 2019, and Tesla has said that it could even reach 2 GW/year down the track. The Gigafactory produces standard solar panels, along with the Solar Roof.

So if you have a bit of patience and are happy to wait until 2019, it’s fine to wait. Solar batteries still have a bit of a ways to go before they are a no-brainer for people to install, let alone the solar roof. But in the meantime, there are certainly solar roof alternatives like the Tractile solar roof tile or the Sonnen/Bristile partnership which they’ve called ‘Solartile‘. Have you got any questions or any experience with any of these solar shingles? Please let us know in the comments. 

Where is the Tesla Solar Roof?

Tesla in Australia - Solar Roof via @Toblerhaus on Twitter
Tesla in Australia – Tesla Solar Roof 2018 Installation (California) (source: @Toblerhaus on Twitter)

We’ve written about the Tesla Solar Roof before – and we’ve also written about its place in the Australian ecosystem, given that they’re rare as hen’s teeth in America, let alone over here. According to PV Magazine USA, it’s probable that the Tesla Solar Roof will not help their bottom line (Energy Generation and Division Revenues) until halfway through 2019 at the earliest. The reasons for this are for safety and the time lag it’s taking to get all their ducks in a row.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk clarified:

“It takes a while to confirm that the Solar Roof is going to last for 30 years and all the details work out, and we’re working with first responders to make sure it’s safe in the event of a fire and that kind of thing. So it’s quite a long validation program for a roof which has got to last for 30, 40, 50 years, but we also expect to ramp that up next year at our Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo. That’s going to be super exciting.”

According to Musk ‘several hundred’ Solar Roofs have been deployed, are being installed or scheduled for install, and international expansion (i.e. Australia!) is slowly rolling out.

PV Magazine have also written about some of the first solar roof installations in the USA – please click here to read some more about them.

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Western Australia Solar Subsidies may be cut – Wyatt

Western Australia Solar Subsidies look like they’re in the firing line right now – with Energy Minister Ben Wyatt advising that he supports either completely scrapping or winding back rooftop solar panel subsidies.

Western Australia Solar Subsidies

Western Australia Solar Subsidies - Synergy
Western Australia Solar Subsidies – Synergy (source: synergy.net.au)

Earlier this year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission called to axe rooftop solar subsidies Australia-wide by 2021. Ben Wyatt said he has asked the Public Utilities Office to have an in depth look about the buyback scheme which could probably do with a bit of an overhaul, or at least a step in the right direction, technology wise.

“While the cost of solar PV systems has reduced significantly since the introduction of the Renewable Energy Target and is now considered economically viable in the absence of government subsidy, the implications of such a change need to be fully thought through, including the impact on the local solar industry,” Mr Wyatt said.

In WA, Synergy currently pays a feed-in tariff of 7.1c/kW to 240,000 households with solar – and over 70,000 customers entitled to the premium solar feed-in tariff which is 40c/kW (there’s no indication that the gov’t is looking at winding back the premium FIT). This is known as the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS). Mr Wyatt said that Synergy are paying ‘over the odds’ for this power during hte middle of the day, when demand is low and output high. If you’d like to learn more about WA’s unique energy situation please have a look at this article.

We’re all for furthering the cause of solar, but is it worth taking a look at maybe moving some of the subsidies and tariffs towards energy storage rather than energy generation?

Ray Challen, who was the top energy adviser as the head of the Public Utilities Office up until the end of last year, said he thinks it’s time to consider the best way to continue improving our renewable generation:

“The reason for subsidising any form of behaviour is to produce some sort of greater social good, and it would be difficult to say at the moment that there is a greater social good from subsidising small-scale solar because people could do it anyway,” Mr Challen said. “Not only that but if you wanted to subsidise anything in the power sector then you would be probably subsidising batteries.”

So will we have a solar battery subsidy? It’s hard to say at this point, but many people are talking about making a change to the way we currently reward solar generators. Would a carefully managed solar battery rebate help? Watch this space…

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Senec.Home Intelligent Energy System in Australia

German company Senec has been shipping its products to Australia since early last year, and today we will take a look at the Senec solar battery range – according to the site one of these systems can increase your power self-sufficiency to 80% or more. Let’s take a look and see how they stack up against some of the other solar battery competitors. 

The Senec.Home Smart Energy Management System

Senec Solar Battery
SENEC.Home (source: SENEC)

Energy storage technology has been coming along in leaps and bounds lately – we’ve seen the standard lithium-ion swapped out with hydrogen, perovskite, zinc bromine and other materials. These batteries are lithium ion based as it still remains the most mature technology but it’s important to keep an eye out to see what’s around the corner. Who knows where the tech will take us! 

The Senec.Home is an ‘all in one’ system which includes a Senec inverter, a battery management system and battery modules. You need to manage the solar panels yourself, so make sure you have that planned out before you go and buy everything! Ask your retailer if there’s a good synergy between the system you’ve chosen because it’s an expensive exercise to try and swap or add more solar panels to an existing installation.

Here are some of the benefits of this system:

  • Engineered for 12,000 recharging cycles. This is double the capacity of its unnamed ‘nearest competitor’ (not the Tesla Powerwall 2 as it’s rated for ‘unlimited’ cycles)
  • The SENEC.Home Li system is an automated management system for the panels + battery. It manages your power needs without you doing a thing.
  • Australian service and support, but designed, manufactured and assembled entirely in Germany (except for the Panasonic battery modules).
  • Panasonic manufactured battery with 2.5kWh, 5.0kWh, 7.5kWh, and 10.0kWh options (“depending on the loading and unloading conditions”).
  • 98% maximum battery efficiency. 
  • Soon they’ll have a backup function so the Senec.Home can work when the grid goes down.
  • Up to four units can be daisy-chained to create your own microgrid.

After hosting a product launch last year for the system, it looks like demand for the product has been quite high. The price varies depending on a few factors so please get in touch with your retailer to discuss specifics. 

Click here to download the SENEC Intelligent Energy System Brochure and Specs.

If you’re interested in getting in contact, try  (08) 6280 1206 or  (+618) 6280 1206 if you’re not in Australia. Otherwise you can visit their site by clicking here

Have you got any experience or feedback with installing, buying, or running these systems? Please let us know about how you’re finding it in the comments. 

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Red Earth Energy Storage – Product Overview

Red Earth Energy Storage are a Brisbane based company supplying sealed VRLA (lead acid) energy storage modules. They offer three different types of battery depending on whether you need to be grid connected or not. The batteries are modular up to 25kW and all have a five year warranty. Let’s take a further look at their storage options below!

Red Earth Energy Storage

The Red Earth Lead Acid based products can accommodate sizes from 200Ah to 1000Ah. Depth of discharge has a large effect on the lifespan of a lead acid battery – so you should take note of the recommended depth of discharge for your battery – discuss this with the RedEarth engineering staff before you place your order so you know how to get the most out of your battery. But have a look at the image below (provided by RedEarth) for a basic understanding of what you can expect depending on the battery size on your system.

Red Earth Energy Storage Lead Acid VRLA Battery Depth of Discharge Chart
Redearth Lead Acid VRLA Battery Depth of Discharge Chart

Let’s take a look at their three different product lines:

M Series

RedEarth M Series
RedEarth M Series

The M Series provides up to 10kWh of usable storage at 8kW. They offer up to 8kW / 12kW peak via lead acid sealed VRLA batteries (8 x 6V VRLA gel). If you prefer they do have lithium or zinc bromide options. 

  • 5 Year Replacement Warranty
  • Full Remote Monitoring and control via 3G/4G/Wifi
  • On/Off Grid
  • Under eves footprint – no need for battery room or concrete slab. Maintenance free.

Click here to download the M Series Fact Sheet.

S Series

RedEarth S Series
RedEarth S Series

The S Series are an 8kW off-grid electricity storage system that offer up to 3kW / 4.8kW peak via sealed VRLA batteries (8 x 6V VRLA gel up to 443Ah). If you prefer they do have lithium or zinc bromide options. 

  • 5 Year Replacement Warranty
  • Full Remote Monitoring and control via 3G
  • Weatherproof, standalone system which can manage multiple power sources.
  • Modular
  • 650kg

Click here to download the S Series Fact Sheet.

L Series

RedEarth L Series
RedEarth L Series

The L Series is a weatherproof standalone battery system to manage multiple power sources, loads and batteries. It is an on grid or off grid solution and provides up to 33kWh of storage at 8kW/12kW peak via 24x 2V VRLA gel lead acid batteries.  

  • 5 Year Replacement Warranty
  • Hybrid or Standard storage system.
  • Modular – scope up as needed. 
  • Full Remote Monitoring and control via 3G/4G/Wifi

Click here to download the L Series Fact Sheet.

If you’re interested in or have any questions about any of these products please contact us or click here to visit their website.

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sonnenProtect 1300/2500 blackout protection

A big week for German battery manufacturing company sonnen who have announced the sonnenBatterie Protect 1300 – also known as the sonnenProtect. This smart device links with an existing sonnen solar battery and detects mains power outages – at which point it quickly and safely switches you across to use your battery storage for selected appliances. They also have the sonnenProtect 2500, which comes with 2.5kW of power output as opposed to the 1.3kW the 1300 offers. 

A common misconception about solar+storage is that you’ll have power during a blackout. Without something like the sonnen Protect this isn’t the case. 

sonnenProtect aka Sonnen Protect 2500
sonnenProtect aka Sonnen Protect 1300/2500 (source: sonnen)

sonnenProtect 1300, 2500 – Sonnen Protect

The sonnen Protect is installed close to the battery system and offers up to 1.3kW of power output (i.e. you can’t run a bunch of air conditioners off it but it’ll keep a modern fridge up and keep your lights on, run a laptop, charge your phone, run fans, etc.). It will give you a single protected power point – from here, depending on your budget, you can use extension cords and plug boards through your house, run cables to defined backup power points, or even run new cables in your walls to defined power points. Keep in mind that with the current option each power point will be limited to 2.5kW load or 1.3kW with the sonnen 1300.

The device can be retrofitted to all existing sonneBatterie Eco models, which are modular and start at just 2kWh up to 16kWh in the same cabinet. You can chain multiple cabinets together if you need more than that. 

sonnen made the news last year with their ‘free power’ offering via the sonnenFlat service, so this is another great offering from a renewable energy giant (they are the world’s largest home storage battery company)

Sonnen Protect Specifications, Size, Price

  • 15cm wide
  • 19cm high
  • 12cm deep
  • 800grams

Depending on what sort of solution you’d like (with regards to power points and running new wires in the walls), the install for a sonnenProtect 2500 is generally under $1,000 AUD.

If you’re interested in the sonnenProtect for your house please shoot us an email at [email protected] or fill out the form to your right and we’ll be in touch.

Download sonnenProtect 1300 datasheet (click here to download)

Download sonnenProtect 2500 datasheet (click here to download)

Download sonnenProtect 2500 Operating Instructions (click here to download)

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Reposit Power and their Virtual Power Station

Canberra-based renewable energy startup Reposit Power are predicting their client base will double within a year, and hope to have their technology in 5,000 homes by 2020. Their ‘virtual power station’ model is one we’ve seen before (Enova’s community solar, AGL’s virtual power plant which is in advanced stages of trials), but we’re excited to see how Reposit’s system works. Anything that helps improve baseline power is great for Australian energy as a whole. 

Reposit Solar, the Reposit Box, and ‘Grid Credits’

Reposit Power Control Diagram
Reposit Power Operation Diagram (source: repositpower.com.au)

Reposit Power have a ‘smarter, more intuitive way’ to control energy usage. According to their site, it typically costs approximately 4-6% on top of solar + storage, but these batteries will then be paid off in half the time as standard solar + storage. 

The system learns your energy usage patterns to feed back into the grid at optimum times. Every GridCredit you feed back into Reposit’s virtual grid represents a dollar off your bill – and the system automatically trades excess energy for GridCredits when the demand is at its highest. 

The system also uses advanced weather models to predict solar usage, factors in peak/offpeak tariffs, and will even charge your system overnight from the cheaper tariffs if it detects a probably energy shortfall for the next day’s peak hours.  It has an app which will display all information you need to know about the system, how much you’re saving, and how many GridCredits you are earning. 

Reposit Power Compatible Batteries

There are currently eight Reposit compatible batteries – they are available ‘pre-integrated’ from leading vendors or you can 

  • LG Chem Resu 6.4kWh
  • LG Chem Resu
  • LG Chem Resu HV
  • Fronius Solar Battery
  • GCL e-KwBe
  • Pylontech
  • Tesla Powerwall 1
  • Samsung All in One ESS

Reposit Power & Tesla Powerwall 2 Compatibility

Please note that there are no GridCredits on the Tesla Powerwall 2 as they won’t integrate with cloud / Internet only based control systems – given that it wouldn’t be able to function correctly if the Internet was unavailable. Since the Powerwall 2 is tremendously popular, this is a serious blow to Reposit Power’s ‘virtual power station’ – wonder if they’ll figure out a way to rectify this before the Tesla Powerwall 3 announcement

If you want to read more about Reposit’s choice to not integrate with these cloud control systems please click here to read a detailed post on their website. 

If you want to understand Reposit’s system please view the video below! 

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Solar Battery growth rises in 2017.

Solar battery growth continues to rise exponentially – the huge rises in the price of electricity over the past 36 months have led to a record uptake in the number of Australian households opting to install solar batteries for energy storage. Although still in its relative infancy, the technology is being adopted at a rapid rate and there’s no doubt it’s only a matter of time before every house with solar power has some sort of solar battery installed. 

Solar Battery Growth

According to a solar energy report quoted in the Herald Sun, around 7,000 solar battery system were sold and installed across Australia in the first six months of the year, compared to 6,500 last year. Queensland leads the charge, with New South Wales and Victoria close behind. In a market that has already doubled in two years, there is still a way to go before we see solar batteries as ubiquitous in Aussie households, but things are heading in the right direction, and a lot faster than you may think!

Tesla Powerwall 2 Solar Battery Growth
Tesla Powerwall 2 – a catalyst for solar battery growth.

Volkswagen just announced they will spend $50b on energy storage battery technology for its new line of EV cars – there are whispers about the Tesla Powerwall 3 – what’s next for solar battery growth?

Solar Battery Comparisons

There are a lot of different options on the market right now – a bunch of people are still waiting until the technology ‘catches up’ but solar storage can already be quite affordable – with average costs between $4,000 and $13,000, depending on the size/brand you choose. The Herald Sun estimates that it will take approximately eight years for a solar panel + storage system to pay for itself – i.e. it’s not economically viable for everybody right now but depending on your individual circumstances it’s far from a pipe dream. With that said, prices are expected to drop by up to 30% over the next few years as production ramps up and advances in the technology are factored in. 

If you’re interested in doing some research about energy storage, we have a page about the Tesla Powerwall 2 and its alternatives and competitors – there are many options to choose from such as Fronius, BYD B-Box, Redflow, LG Chem, sonnenBatterie, Enphase, Eaton Nissan xStorage, and so on. Make sure you figure out exactly what you need (e.g. grid or off grid? If you’re on-grid do you want power in a blackout? How much power do you need)   and do your due diligence before committing to a system – and if you already have solar panels make sure the storage system and inverter will pair correctly – not all solar systems are created equal! If you have any questions feel free to give us an email or sound off in the comments below – we’d be happy to help.  

 

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Redback Smart Hybrid System / EnergyAustralia

Queensland based solar company Redback Technologies have teamed up with EnergyAustralia to offer a “next generation” smart solar plus storage system, named the Redback Smart Hybrid – which is slated to pay for itself within seven years.

Redback Smart Hybrid System

Redback Smart Hybrid Battery Enclosure
Redback Smart Hybrid Battery Enclosure (source: redbacktech.com)

According to the Australian Financial Review, the system will utilise smart technology to optimise use of solar panels and batteries depending on usage and weather patterns. It’ll also have an app which allows users to remotely control and monitor operation of the Redback Smart Hybrid system.

Estimates from EnergyAustralia say that a normal household with usage of 8000kWh / year will save around $1,500 a year with the Redback Smart Hybrid system (4.9kW solar array and 3.3kWh battery). That system would cost around $9,000, or $7,000 to retrofit to existing panels with some modifications to the inverter. One of the main bonuses of the system is that it’s modular – so customers are able to scale up if they’re interested in expanding. It makes use of the Redback Smart Hybrid Solar Inverter which is designed in Brisbane, and different batteries / solar panels depending on your circumstances.

Kane Thornton, CEO of the Clean Energy Council called the system an example of the “game-changing” tech currently coming out to help combat rapidly rising electricity bills.

Andrew Perry of Energy Australia was circumspect to the AFR about specific sales goals for the system, but did advise that they have “strong ambitions for growth”. It certainly seems like we are heading very quickly to the point where solar + storage is a no-brainer for certain types of consumer – especially with the ‘smart technology’ removing the need for spreadsheets and PhDs for those wanting to get a strong result from their solar investment. To get a system like this for under $10,000 is a great deal – we’ll be very interested to see how sales go over the coming months.

Redback Smart Hybrid vs Tesla Powerwall

Technically the Redback Smart Hybrid is just an inverter + smart energy management system, but the Smart Hybrid system being offered by EnergyAustralia is an ‘all in one’ system. In comparison to the Powerwall which is just an inverter + storage,  it’s a bit difficult to compare them fairly. It is important to note that given the modular design of the Smart Hybrid, you’re able to ‘start off small’ with a 3.3kWh battery (as opposed to the Powerwall 2, which you can also add to, but only in increments of 13.4kWh) and grow from there.

The PowerWall is significantly more expensive than the Redback, and doesn’t include solar panels. However, if money is less of an issue and you’re prepared to wait, the Tesla Solar Roof Australian release date is currently “early 2018” and will undoubtedly be a premium solution for those who are interested in aesthetics along with quality.

It seems that both systems have their own niche depending on how much one wants to pay – but you certainly couldn’t be faulted for taking a look at the Redback Smart Hybrid price point and being impressed. If the smart tech works like they say it does, it’ll be a very powerful contender against all comers. Not having to worry about compatibility is definitely a big plus – although the battery / panels used may differ depending on your circumstances, EnergyAustralia will ensure the system fits together nicely.

The Redback / EnergyAustralia Partnership

EnergyAustralia invested $9.3m into Redback Technologies last October – their first major investment. The two companies have been working together on various projects including back in April where they inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to bring Redback’s solar tech to Dubai South for a pilot project.

Have a look at the video below which introduces Redback Technologies, their founder and MD Philip Livingston, and explains more about their partnership with EnergyAustralia.

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