Flex PowerPlay Smart Solar Power System

A company named Flex (also known as Flextronics) have rolled out the Flex PowerPlay ‘smart solar power system’ which consists of various combinations of Flex branded solar panels, an inverter, an energy hub, and an energy monitor.  It’s compatible with many existing solar battery brands and is being offered through Energy Matters in Australia. Flex are a well established company who have made the move into residential solar, offering ‘smart solar’ which will help you ‘outsmart the system’ – it’s like a vertically integrated, polished version of the Paladin Solar Controller

About the Flex PowerPlay

Flex PowerPlay
Flex PowerPlay App (source: flexpowerplay.com)

According to their website more than 20,000 Australian homes and businesses are currently using Flex – and they have delivered over 8 million solar panel modules to customers worldwide. The PowerPlay solar power system uses their own 60cell, PID-free Flex PowerPlay panels which are available in 290w and 295w, with a 12 year product warranty and a 25 year performance warranty. According to Solar Quotes their efficiencies are 17.8% and 18.1%, respectively. 

The Flex inverter will divert power depending on time of day, current tariff, current energy storage, and much more – in order to save you as much money as possible on your power bill. You’re able to use the app to see exactly what’s happening with your system at any time. 

Flex (NASDAQ: FLEX) are a massive engineering company who are also leaders in battery tech – they’re responsible for 1 in 4 smart meters in the US, 10 million micro inverters, and have worked with Google, Nike, and Fitbit to deliver tech solutions. The company represents more than 200,000 professionals in over 100 locations around the world. Their quarterly rev for Q3 2018 was USD $6.75 billion – increased 10% YOY. 

Their offices in Australia are located in Sydney and Melbourne – so they’re far from a fly-by-night company and buying from Flex is a safe bet. As discussed before, you’re also able to use existing solutions from brands such as sonnen, whose solar battery storage solutions (e.g. sonnenBatterie Eco 8) are also well established and have fantastic reviews. 

Interested in Flex’s offering? If you’re in Australia you can check your eligibility and request an obligation-free quote by clicking here

ACT’s Next Generation Energy Storage Program

The ACT’s Next Generation Energy Storage Program will provide solar batteries to over 5,000 homes and businesses by 2020, offering $25m of funding so ACT residents are able to take advantage of rapidly evolving solar battery technology at a subsidised price. 

Next Generation Energy Storage Program

Next Generation Energy Storage Program in the ACT (source: actsmart.act.gov.au)
Subsidised Solar Batteries – Next Generation Energy Storage Program in the ACT (source: actsmart.act.gov.au)

According to ACT Climate Change Minister Shane Rattenbury there are plans to increase the current amount of storage by up to 36x by 2020: 

“We’ve already had around 400 batteries installed across the city. It’s providing over a megawatt of storage which is both helping households cut their energy bills, manage their own energy usage, but also provide backup for the grid here in the Territory,” he said.

“The battery storage roll-out program is building on Canberra’s reputation as a globally-recognised hub for the renewable energy industry,” Mr Rattenbury was quoted as saying – noting that the program will offer support of up to $825 for each kilowatt of sustained peak output for homes and businesses who install a battery (it can be connected to a new or existing PV solar system). The government estimates that this will represent a subsidy of approximately $4,000 for an average household solar system. 

Six partners have been awarded $3m in grants to help fund the project: ActewAGL Retail, Energy Matters, EPC Solar, Evergen, ITP Renewables, Origin Energy, Power Saving Centre, and Solar Hub. EPC Solar and Evergen were already in the project, the rest are new additions. 

Mr Rattenbury also noted that this project will also help expand the virtual power plant Reposit Power and EvoEnergy are currently trialling: 

“The batteries are also contributing to the world’s largest residential virtual power plant being trialled by Reposit Power and EvoEnergy (formerly ActewAGL Distribution), which allows battery owners to sell their energy to the grid to help support the electricity network.”

For more information and how to apply, click here to download the actsmart battery storage fact sheet

Zero Emissions Noosa Solar – Industrial Estate

Noosa Solar News – Zero Emissions Noosa (ZEN) recently presented a proposal to Noosa Council to spend $100,000 on rooftop solar for businesses in the Noosaville Industrial Estate.

ZEN and the Noosaville Industrial Estate

There are approximately 300 SMEs (small to medium businesses) in the Noosaville Industrial Estate and the $100,000 grant would be drawn from the business tourism levy allowing Noosa Council to work on reaching its goal of a zero-emission organisation.

Unfortunately, ZEN president Vivien Griffin advised Energy Matters that ZEN missed the cutoff for this financial year so they will have to wait for the next to see if they’re able to gain the funding. Griffin also noted that a major setback for the cause was their inability to effectively calculate return on investment (ROI) on the panel installation – something that can vary rather wildly depending on a multitude of factors. As the price of panels and storage decreases this will become less of an issue and it seems certain that by the next financial year we’ll see a continuation of the major improvements in cost and efficacy the solar industry has experienced over the last five years. Hopefully this can help with the ROI calculations for Noosa Solar.

According to Griffin, ZEN are hoping to install an additional MW (megawatt) of PV solar on the industrial estate over the next year – citing the possibility of also applying for ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency) funding.

Noosa Solar and Zero Emissions Noosa

Noosa Solar - Zero Emissions Organisational Strategy
Noosa Solar – Zero Emissions Organisational Strategy (source: noosa.qld.gov.au)

ZEN’s end goal is that “Council operations and service activities will reach zero net emissions by 2026” – an ambitious and impressive target overshadowing the federal RET by a considerable amount, albeit on a much smaller scale. The Noosa solar plan would provide additional renewable energy to the council and help with the strategy – six Council buildings and facilities have had solar power installed over the last few years. We have reached out to ZEN for specifics on these panels.

Solar Power in Queensland has been leading the charge for Australia over the last few years so it’d be great to see more initiatives like this from the local council.

Click here to view the Zero Emissions Noosa Facebook page and show your support.

Click here to view the Noosa Council Facebook page and let them know what you think!

Click here to read the “Zero Emissions Strategy” for 2016-2026, prepared by the Noosa Council.