Tesla Megapack | Massive Energy Storage | Large Scale Renewable Storage

The Tesla Megapack has been announced by Tesla today. The Megapack is designed for utilities and large-scale commercial customers and could be a real game changer for those in remote areas or looking for large amounts of portable renewable storage. Let’s learn more!

Tesla Megapack | Utility Scale Energy Storage

Tesla Megapack (source: Tesla.com)
Tesla Megapack (source: Tesla.com)

Tesla announced the Megapack today – as a potential replacement for “peaker” power plants, which help the grid when it’s overloaded. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) will deploy several Megapacks at Moss Landing on Monterrey Bay in California. There are also three other locations PG&E are looking at optimising.

The Tesla Powerpack, released in 2015, is Tesla’s current offering for large scale energy storage – the array in South Australia has a capacity of 129 MWh and can deliver 100 MW of power.

The Megapacks are substantially more powerful – each Megapack can store up to 3 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy at a time, and it’s possible to string enough Megapacks together to create a battery with more than 1 GWh of energy storage, according to the press release.

This gives the product comes with some serious grunt: “A 1 Gigawatt hour (GWh) project provides record energy capacity—enough to power every home in San Francisco for 6 hours.”

“Every Megapack arrives pre-assembled and pre-tested in one enclosure from our Gigafactory—including battery modules, bi-directional inverters, a thermal management system, an AC main breaker and controls. No assembly is required, all you need to do is connect Megapack’s AC output to your site wiring.”

According to The Verge, Tesla has been deploying record numbers of Powerwalls and Powerpacks in 2019 – which has created issues with battery shortage, undoubtedly a pain for anyone wanting to order the Powerwall 2 in Australia, for example: 

“Tesla deployed 415 MWh worth of Powerwalls and Powerpacks in the second quarter of 2019, a record for the company. Throughout 2018 and into early 2019, the company had to scale back the number of Powerwall and Powerpack products it deployed because it needed the batteries to support the dramatic increase in Model 3 production.”

Is it going to be easier to wait for the Powerwall 3? Watch this space. 

Megapack Specifications

Tesla Powerpack Rendition (source: Tesla.com)
Tesla Megapack Rendition (source: Tesla.com)
  • Microgrid – you can build a localized grid which is able to disconnect from the main power grid. Sound 
  • Renewable Smoothing – ‘Smooth out the intermittency of renewables by storing and dispatching when needed’
  • T&D (Transmission and Distribution) Investment Deferral – ‘Postpone costly grid infrastructure upgrades by supplying power at a distributed location to defer the need to upgrade ageing infrastructure’. (Learn more about T&D savings with energy batteries by clicking here)
  • Voltage Support – the Megapack can add voltage or remove it to help maintain the grid.
  • Frequency Regulation – The Megapack can rapidly change charge or discharge energy in response to changes in grid frequency.

How to buy Tesla Megapack in Australia

According to the Tesla website, the next step is to fill in an enquiry form on their site, after which “…our team of experts will work with you to identify custom site needs, and design a solution to maximize project values across multiple applications.”

If you’re interested in buying a Tesla Megapack please use the enquiry form on the Tesla website or click here

If you’d like more information on the Tesla Megapack in Australia, we have set up a mailing list which will keep you updated if you’re interested in large scale commercial solar / renewable storage like this one. Just fill in the box below and we’ll keep you posted.

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Victorian Solar Rebate Rally | Solar Homes

Victorian Solar Rebate Rally – a rally was held at Victoria’s Parliament House today where hundreds of people in the solar industry voiced their displeasure with the rollout (and subsequent roll-in) of the Victorian solar rebate. Have they got a fair enough gripe? Let’s take a look.

Victorian Solar Rebate Rally

The original Victorian solar rebate (AKA Solar Homes) was announced in the lead-up to the 2018 election by Daniel Andrews and Lily D’Ambrosio. The plan was to install subsidised solar panels and/or solar batteries ($2,225 per system) – which then caused statewide PV solar installations to skyrocket from 3,000 / month to 7,000 / month.

Presumably the industry didn’t have too many issues with that, but the problem was when the scheme was paused in April 2019, only just recently reopening under an agency named Solar Victoria who had Stan Krpan from the Victorian Cladding Taskforce heading it up. 

This stop/start issue has seen a couple of follow-on effects – with owners now adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach and the subsequent slowdown in installations is causing a big bite for Victorian solar installers, especially those who have (bravely, given they’re relying on the Government) planned a growth strategy around the rebate. 

”This is a gold-level performance in incompetence,” said John Grimes of the Smart Energy Council in quotes relayed in The Age.

“The industry has become a solar coaster: one minute it’s up, the next it’s down.”

According to Mr. Grimes, installations across Victoria are down 30% since April. We also commend his pun game.

The Age article also quotes Dave Douglas of EverSolar who discussed his growth strategy prior to the rebate pausing and how it’s affected his business:

“We doubled in size because of this rebate. We put on an extra 20 staff, got more vans and ordered more solar panels.”

Mr. Douglas had a couple of ideas how to solve the issue – double the monthly subsidy quota or drop the eligibility from a pre-tax household income from $180,000 to about $80,000.

Opposition energy spokesman Ryan Smith was at the rally as well, with his own opinion (which, surprisingly, was the opposite of the incumbent Government) on the rebate:

“The change has made it more difficult to have panels installed,” he said. “Far from being cheaper, as businesses close, competition will dry up and panel installation costs will rise.”

Thoughts? Are you a solar business owner or a Victorian looking to get solar installed on your home? We’d love to hear from you.
 
To read more about the Victorian solar rebate please click here.

 

 

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Solar Waste – What’s the state of solar panel recycling?

Solar waste is a currently unavoidable byproduct of Australia’s obsession with solar power. But what do we do with these panels when they reach end of life? Let’s take a look at solar panel recycling and what the current climate is, helped by a recent ABC Radio show about the topic.

Solar Waste and solar panel recycling – a primer.

We wrote about recycling solar panels back in January, but a new interview with Reclaim PV (who we talk about in the other article too) has some more information about this critical issue. 

A radio program by the ABC had some very interesting thoughts on the topic – you can listen to it here

The panel included:

  • Jeremy Hunt, solar panel installer
  • Professor Rodney Stewart, Griffith University
  • Clive Fleming, solar panel recycler, Reclaim PV
  • Andrew Gilhooly, Sunpower

With two million houses in Australia now enjoying the fruits of renewable energy and installing solar on their rooftop, their lifespan of 10-15-20 years is now starting to slowly fizzle out, especially for the early adopters. However there’s a huge issue to do with disposing of the solar PV waste in an environmentally friendly fashion.

Professor Rodney Stewart from Griffith University estimates that by 2050, we’ll have 1,500 kilotons of solar waste which will be sent to landfill unless we can figure out a more intelligent way to dispose of something supposed to help the environment. 

Solar Waste - Reclaim PV
Solar Waste – Reclaim PV (source: reclaimpv.com)

The only company in Australia to recycle panels is Reclaim PV in Adelaide, who take in 50,000 per year, but only panels manufactured without toxic chemicals. They then, according to owner Clive Fleming,

“…get the cells, completely separate that as well for the silver contacts, the aluminium and then the silicone to provide those back out to industry.”

According to the ABC program host Emilia Terzon, the Federal Government says it’s committed $167 million to an Australian recycling investment plan and state and federal environment ministers are expected to discuss how to tackle solar waste when they meet later this year. The Government is looking to set rules around how the industry deals with dead solar panels – adding them to the Product Stewardship Act, which mandates how electronic waste is dealt with.

Australian Council of Recycling chief executive Peter Schmigel also had a quote in the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this year about how a proper plan for recycling PV cells could have a positive effect on the economy:

“Recovery rates have been out of sight since the beginning of the scheme, nobody has said anything at all about there being an inbuilt recycling cost. It generates jobs, it generates environmental outcomes and yet for some reason we have policymakers who are hesitant about [establishing similar schemes] for solar PVs and batteries,” he said.

Watch this space. There will be plenty more on this topic as panels continue to reach EOL (end of life) and the policymakers are forced into action. 

 

 

 

 

 

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WePower partner with Marubeni Corporation

Renewable energy procurement and start-up platform WePower have secured a strategic equity investment via Japanese investment/trading corporation Marubeni Corporation. A press release was published this morning. Let’s take a look and see what this could mean for businesses looking to purchase renewable energy on a scale they’re comfortable with. 

WePower partner with Marubeni Corporation

You might remember WePower’s ICO at the start of last year – the blockchain-based green energy trading platform has enjoyed a massive financial coup by partnering with Marubeni Corporation. This will support rapid expansion of their ‘disruptive green energy procurement platforms’. This is really exciting news for a company we have been watching for a couple of years. We’re looking forward to seeing what their attitude towards PPAs for smaller (‘almost any’) companies will fare – so you don’t have to go all out on commercial solar (such as the XXXX brewery at Milton’s solar installation) and can just buy what you need at a smaller level.

WePower sees Australia as one of the fastest growing markets globally for power purchase agreements (PPA) and this investment will help bring green energy to corporate and industrial consumers from around Australia.

According to a press release from today, WePower Standardised Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) streamline risk management and introduce previously non-existent liquidity for the energy purchased via direct energy contracts.

Nikolaj Martyniuk, WePower’s Co-founder and CEO, says the investment was secured because of deep synergies with Marubeni Corporation’s Power Business Division.

 “We are delighted to work in partnership with Marubeni Corporation to develop and introduce new commercial energy services, as well as scale our solutions globally to markets including Australia.”

“Two-thirds of the energy produced worldwide is consumed by commercial and industrial clients. So, any meaningful change towards a fully sustainable future is not possible without enabling more corporate and industrial consumers to participate in the green energy revolution.

 “To date, only the largest global corporations have been able to access renewable power sources by directly purchasing from a producer. The complexity of this process has created a barrier for smaller companies looking to integrate renewables into their energy mix and contribute to the growth of green energy development,” Nikolaj continues in the press release

Yoshiaki Yokota, Chief Operating Officer, Power Business Division, Marubeni Corporation discussed the deal:

 “We did it by disrupting the traditional energy supplier business model with a deep focus on big data and a radically different approach to energy sourcing, management and trading. We believe WePower is in a unique position to disrupt the traditional corporate energy procurement markets by allowing almost any company to buy energy directly from renewable producers.”

Learn more about WePower by visiting their website.

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Lightyear One Solar Car – Long Range Prototype

The Dutch solar automobile manufacturer Lightyear have a new prototype which is of a long rage solar car. The car, known as Lightyear One, can supposedly go up to 800km without a charge and it also has solar power

Lightyear One Solar Car – Long Range Prototype

Lightyear One Solar Car - Long Range Prototype
Lightyear One Solar Car – Long Range Prototype (source: lightyear.one)

The car’s been touted by Lightyear as ‘the electric car that charges itself’ as it was announced at Lightyear HQ in Katwijk, NL. It claims 12km/hour of solar charging, which means that you could drive to work 30km, park for 8 hours, and drive it back home without ever plugging it in. “Level 2” charging is 22kW and level 3 boosts 60kW for faster charging.

The Lightyear One website explains the way solar has been integrated into this car: “Unlike conventional solar panels, our cells function independently. This means that even if part of the roof or hood is in shadow, the other cells continue to efficiently collect solar energy. In fact, our solar cells provide about 20% more energy than traditional ones.”

“Two years of dreaming, thinking and working hard have led to this milestone, which is a giant leap towards achieving our mission of making clean mobility available to everyone,” Lightyear CEO Lex Hoefsloot said.

Discussing some of the issues with the current stock of electric cars and charging them via renewable energy, Hoefsloot had more to say about the Lightyear One and how it could possibly work in a home ecosystem:

“We are solving these issues with what we call ultra-efficiency. On one hand, that will lead to an exceptional range of 725 km (WLTP) on a relatively small battery. On the other hand, it can charge directly from the sun because its energy consumption is much lower, generating up to 20,000 km worth of energy per year. Moreover, all of the charging options out there become easier to use because you get a lot more range for the same amount of energy charged. So, effectively, you charge a lot faster from any power outlet. You can charge up to 400 km per night from ordinary 230V sockets. That’s great for road trips because you don’t need a charging infrastructure.” Hoefsloot continued, as reported by Electrek.

Lightyear One Energy Range
Lightyear One Energy Range

Perhaps they’d like to park the car at the award winning USQ solar carpark?

In any case, here’s a video of the car, which is expected to cost around $170,000 USD (~$242,000 AUD). Lightyear are currently taking orders for it so click here and visit the official website if you’re interested in learning more about this amazing car! It releases in 2021 and 

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