Australian solar installs new record in November

Australian solar installs reached an all-time high of 120MW in November, eclipsing the 100MW in October and the record of 110MW set in June 2012, which was ‘artificially’ (for want of a better word) inflated as it was the last month before Queensland cut off the $0.44c premium feed-in tariff. These are massive numbers when compared with the previous few years and a fantastic indicator for the future of renewable energy in Australia. 

Australian Solar Installs in 2017

According to RenewEconomy and The Green Energy Markets’ Renewable Energy Index, for most months in 2016 solar installs were below 60MW and January 2016 had a measly install amount of 45MW. The reason for the big drop in numbers was due to the end of the premium feed-in tariffs and also the federal government’s substantial cutback of the amount of STC rebate certificates it provided. This means the cost of solar (and payback period) increased substantially, dropping the number of installs and casting doubt upon the industry as a whole.

Over the past 12-18 months, however, there’s been a perfect storm of the gigantic rise in the cost of wholesale electricity, better quality and price of solar panels and storage due to technology advances, and excitement about renewable energy have helped raise the numbers of solar uptake. Public perception and interest in the technology due to such projects as the massive Tesla battery in South Australia, German company sonnen’s ‘free power’ offering via sonnenFlat, and the Powerwall 2 battery have all led to Australia’s domestic and commercial solar uptake reaching this all-time high.

Australian Solar Installs 2017 - sonnen's sonnenFlat and sonnenBatterie
Australian Solar Installs 2017 – sonnen’s sonnenFlat and sonnenBatterie (source: sonnen.com.au)

The Renewable Energy Index for October 2017 showed that Queensland leads the way for Australia, with jobs coming via renewable energy projects (both large-scale and rooftop solar) almost doubling over four months from 3,634 at the end of 30 June 2017, to 7,194 in October.

 Amazing news for solar contractors and solar installers – although things may slow down a little over the Christmas period we can’t wait to see what 2018 brings to solar power in Australia. 

Tesla Powerwall 3 Release Date, Specifications, Cost.

With the great success of the Tesla Powerwall 2, people are already talking about its successor. Although the Powerwall 2 is a fantastic device and can help many households save a lot of money on their power bill, it’s far from a ‘no brainer’ at this point – you need to crunch the numbers to ensure it’s going to be worthwhile to install in your house. But with the cost of lithium-ion dropping rapidly and Tesla competitors chomping at the bit with innovative solutions to battery storage, we’ve no doubt that there’s plenty of work being done on the Tesla Powerwall 3. Could this be the device that finally makes PV solar + storage a standard for homes? Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that they “expect to sell more Powerwalls than cars” so it’s a major part of their business. What features will the Powerwall 3 have? What will it cost and when can we expect it? Read on for more…

Tesla Powerwall 3 – What can we expect?

Tesla Powerwall 3 Release Date

At this point we aren’t sure exactly when the Powerwall 3 is coming out, but let’s look at the time difference between the Powerwall and the Powerwall 2 and see if that gives us any clues:

Powerwall 1: Development commenced in 2012. Announced in 2015 with a pilot demonstration 0f 500 units built and installed. Production moved from Tesla Fremont to Gigafactory 1. Initially came in two models – 10kWh nickel-cobalt-aluminium cathode for backup and 7kWh for daily cycle application. Work on the 10kWh battery was discontinued and the 

Powerwall 2: Development commencement unknown. Announced in October 2016 at Universal Studios. Production of 2170 cylindrical lithium-ion batteries for the Powerwall 2, Powerpack 2 and Model 3 EVs starts in January, 2017.  First Australian installations early June, 2017. 

Powerwall 3: Potential 2018 announcement.

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Tesla Powerwall 3 Specifications and Features

Tesla Powerwall 1 Specifications and Cost
Tesla Powerwall 1 Specifications and Cost
Tesla Powerwall 1 Specs

  • 1302mm long, 862mm wide, 183cm diameter (51.3″ x 34″ x 7.2″)
  • 7kWh battery (6.4kWh ‘Usable Capacity’)
  • 7kW peak power, 5kW continuous power.
  • Scalable (up to 10 Powerwalls)
  • Weighs 97kg (214 pounds)
  • Wall or floor mountable, indoor or outdoor.
  • Liquid Cooling (liquid thermal control)
  • 92.5% round-trip DC efficiency (at optimal conditions – 25 degrees celcius (77 Fahrenheit) with 2kW charge/discharge power)
  • 100% Depth of Discharge

Tesla Powerwall 2 Specs

  • 1150mm long, 755mm wide, 155mm diameter. (45″ x 30″ x 6″)
  • 14kWh battery (13.5kWh ‘Usable Capacity’)
  • 7kW peak power, 5kW continuous power.
  • Wall or floor mountable, indoor or outdoor.
  • Tesla Powerwall 2 Specifications and Cost
    Tesla Powerwall 2 Specifications and Cost
  • 10 year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Scalable (up to 10 AC-coupled Powerwall 2’s)
  • Integrated Inverter (converts the DC energy into AC energy you need to use in your house)
  • Liquid Cooling
  • Control and view your energy usage/storage with the Tesla app (iOS and Android)
  • Weighs 119.9kg (264.4 pounds)
  • Degradation – it will hold around 70% of the 13.5kWh after 10 years.
  • >90% round trip efficiency.
  • Wi-Fi, Ethernet, 3G connectivity.
  • Off-grid support (AC Coupled)
  • Single Phase feed in.
  • 100% depth of discharge available.
  • Outside of the USA: Powerwall 2 doesn’t include inverter with the DC version and only works with a Solar Edge inverter.

Tesla Powerwall 3 Specs

This is all conjecture at this point, but we think some of the features the Tesla Powerwall 3 could include:

  • Heavily optimised for and integrated with Tesla Solar Roof (Aussies can preorder one now, will be available in 2018)
  • Heavily optimised and integrated with Tesla Electric Car (Model S, Model 3 etc.). 
  • Upgraded intelligent energy management – will learn your household’s usage, draw from weather forecasts etc. to ensure your house, battery, car or hot water stay at 100% and you are only feeding back into the grid when it’s optimal.
  • Inbuilt hybrid inverter (i.e. you can plug solar panels directly into it, eliminating the need for a separate inverter for your solar panels. The current inverter is just a battery inverter)
  • 28kWh battery (~26kWh usable capacity)
  • We predict they’ll stick with lithium-ion for the battery as its price is very affordable.
  • Alternatively, Tesla may stick with the 14kWh batteries, make them smaller and easier to install – 14kWh is sufficient power for many households – it depends on the cost/size of the batteries)
  • Single and three phase power compatible. 
  • DC version includes inbuilt inverter.
  • By 2018 Tesla expect their Gigafactory to manufacture 35 gigawatt-hours per year of battery cells. Almost as much as the current global combined battery production capacity. What will this mean for the Powerwall III?
  • What features do you think the Powerwall 3 will have? What would make it a ‘no-brainer’ for you to purchase?  Let us know in the comments.

Tesla Powerwall 3 Price

The cost of the Powerwall 1 and the Powerwall 2 was roughly the same, so we don’t expect the price of the Powerwall 3 to fluctuate more than around 20%. 

Powerwall 1 Price (Australian Installation): Around $10,000 (7kWh battery, installation and supporting hardware included).

Powerwall 2 Price (Australian Installation): Around $10,000 (14kWh battery, installation and supporting hardware included).

Powerwall 3 Price: ?

Powerwall Alternatives

If you’re not necessarily sold on the Powerwall 2 and don’t want to wait for the Powerwall 3, there are many Powerwall competitors and alternatives you can investigate, such as sonnenBYD B-Box Solar BatteryRedback Technologies, Fronius, Mercedes-Benz, and Eaton Nissan xStorage

Our Solar Battery Comparison area will help – if you have any questions or would like some guidance please email us or simply ask in the questions below! While the Powerwall is certainly an amazing product, depending on your personal circumstances you can get a better result by using one of its competitors. The sonnenBatterie, for example, is onto its 8th iteration and powers 75% of German energy storage – it has a modular capacity from 2-16kWh and, amongst others, is definitely worth a look. 

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SonnenBatterie Eco 8 vs Tesla Powerwall

German solar company sonnen have been in the news quite a lot recently – they’ve gained 13% of the Australian solar battery market since entering it in 2016 – selling over 11,000 battery units. One of their best selling solar batteries is the SonnenBatterie Eco 8.2 – we’re going to take a look at it today and see how it stacks up against the more popular offerings like the Powerwall 2. Sonnen have sold over 10,000 of these units and have 75% of the market in Germany – the Eco 8 is the eighth iteration of a supremely powerful and mature battery. Let’s learn more:

SonnenBatterie Eco 8.2

sonnenBatterie Eco 8 Australia
sonnenBatterie Eco 8 Australia (source: sonnen)

It’s not suitable for outdoor use (only IP21 rated) and wasn’t previously off-grid compatible, but the Sonnen Eco is now available with automatic blackout/backup power option (sonnenProtect 1300). IT has a 1.3kW total load limit so it won’t run your reverse cycle air con and dishwasher, but is suitable for less intensive appliances like energy efficient fridges, lamps, laptops, fans, chargers, and so on.  It was crazy that sonnen thought it was okay to release a premium solar storage battery without this option, but I digress…click here to read the sonnenProtect 1300 Specifications and datasheet.

Here are some of the of the sonnen Eco specifications:

  • 2-16kWh capacity (modular design which increases in 2kWh increments).
  • Easy to retrofit to your existing panels.
  • Compatible with all panels.
  • 10year / 10,000 cycle warranty.
  • 2.5 cycles per day (2.5x ‘value’ and faster payback).
  • Inverter included.
  • Online management with ‘self learning algorithm’ (automatically decides the best times to charge and supply).
  • Proper UPS and automatic blackout protection with SonnenBatterie Protect 1300.
  • Reliable supplier who has been making these batteries since 2008.

After more technical info? Click here to read the sonnenEco Datasheet.

SonnenBatterie vs Tesla Powerwall

This is a real battle of the premium energy storage giants – you can certainly get systems for less but if you want the best it’s Powerwall vs. SonnenBatterie.

The Powerwall 2 and the SonnenBatterie eco are both ‘fully integrated’ systems – which means the unit included inverter, all the power components, and software. They’re both AC coupled – so you’re able to connect microinverters or string inverters to either of them if you so desire.

As mentioned previously, the Eco is only for indoor installation but the Powerwall can be installed outside.

They both have 10 year warranties but the Eco 8 is also covered for 10k cycles – the Powerwall, by comparison, only offers 3,650 cycles.

The Sonnen Eco comes in 8 different sizes, but the comparable model to the Powerwall (14kWh) is currently a little more expensive than the Powerwall. How much, it depends on who you talk to – but if you’re interested in getting a quote then look below:

Buy SonnenBatterie in Australia

If you want to buy a SonnenBatterie and you’re located in Australia, please fill in the form to the right and we’ll help you get the system installed by a qualified professional, at a great price.

If you’re interested in watching some promotional videos about the product, then please watch this video below to learn more about the sconnenBatterie eco direct from sonnen themselves:

Watch this video to learn more about sonnenBatterie and energy independence:

Tractile solar roof tiles global rollout!

Australian company Trac Group have released their Tractile solar roof tiles locally and are now preparing for a global rollout of their Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) product.

About Tractile Solar Roof Tiles

The Tractile solar tiles use the Roof Integrated Photovoltaic and Thermal (RIPV-T) system, which, according to the Tractile site, is an “exciting new technology which merges photovoltaic (PV) and thermal systems, simultaneously providing both electric and thermal energy”. This means the system is able to greatly increase performance in hot conditions due to the thermal energy generation cooling the PV cells – leading to more energy generated per square metre when compared with conventional PV panels and solar thermal collectors.

The solar roof tiles come in 4 different types:

  • Eclipse Roof Tile – a ‘normal’ superstrong roof tile you use in parts of the roof that aren’t north facing/receiving strong daily sunlight.
  • Eclipse Solar Roof Tile – electricity and solar boosted hot water generating tiles. Cost effective, lightweight, aesthetically pleasing and increased PV output (compared to conventional PV systems)
  • Eclipse Thermo Roof Tile – interlock with Eclipse roof tiles and Eclipse Solar roof tiles to maximise solar heated hot water output.
  • Horizon Roof Tile – electricity and solar boosted hot water generating tiles to merge into new or existing concrete tiled roof.

The tiles integrate four key elements into one product:

  • Roof system
  • Photovoltaic (PV) cells
  • Solar thermal collector
  • Insulation

Tractile vs. Tesla Solar Roof

Trac Group managing director Jason Perkins has been quoted on the impending release of the Tesla Solar Roof saying it will increase Tractile sales, saying: “It’s fair to say that when you compare the Tractile Solar Roof tiles with the Tesla products, the Tesla products are simply left in the shade”. “Regardless of whether it’s the price of the roof, the weight of the roof, the amount of electricity and hot water it produces per square metre or the options for the roof lines, our products compare very favourably.”

The Tractile site has this comparison image which shows the Tractile very competitively priced for what you get:

Tractile Solar Roof vs. Tesla Solar Roof
Tractile Solar Roof vs. Tesla Solar Roof (source: tractile.com.au)

Tesla Solar Roof Alternatives

While we wait for the Australian release date for the Tesla Solar Roof, there are some alternatives.

German company Sonnen have partnered with Bristile Roofing to offer the Solartile, which is looking quite interesting.

Obviously we also have the Tractile Solar Roof Tile, which is available from their website by clicking here, or call their Australian support line on 1300 00TRAC. If you want to learn more about the Tractile they have a ‘downloads’ section on their website which as a Tractile Eclipse product specification, benefits, roof config options, introduction brochure, and much more.

View this video below to see how strong the Tactile roof tiles are in comparison to conventional roofs!

sonnen offering Aussies ‘free power’ via sonnenFlat

German solar battery creator sonnen are offering Australian households ‘free power’ through their sonnenFlat service in an order to bolster their foothold in the Australian market.

Natural Solar, sonnen, and sonnenFlat

sonnenFlat sonnenBatterie
The sonnenBatterie with sonnenFlat energy tariff (source: sonnen.com.au)

Australian supplier and installer of solar products, Natural Solar, have been signed up to manage the offer for sonnen. They are also responsible for the supply and install of Tesla Powerwall 2’s, so they have plenty of experience in large scale product launches.

Sonnen were launched 7 years ago in Wildpoldsried, Germany, and has been growing at a rapid pace since, including their foray into the Australian energy market in 2016.

According to The Australian, sonnen have already gained a massive 13% of the Australian market share since entering it last year. They also sold over 11,000 battery units, ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 – and sonnen sees Australia as its ‘second most important’ market behind Germany – so they are willing to take a (potentially) loss leading strategy in order to gain greater market share for the medium-long term.

The sonnenFlat energy tariff is for sonnenBatterie owners where you receive a guaranteed, prearranged amount of energy for a monthly fee. “In return, some of the energy stored in the sonnenBatterie will be used to assist in the stabilisation of the electricity grid” – according to the sonnenFlat site.

Natural Solar’s website states that the ‘free power’ will be under a tiered system and have explained it thusly:

“Looking at the Germany model for sonnenFlat … storage determines the amount of free electricity the owner is entitled to.

The website also states that: “If a customer exceeds the amount based on their tier, then the owner starts to get charged only for electricity imported from the grid (not from power generated from your solar system and power utilised from your battery) at a rate significantly lower than standard retail electricity rates.” If you can get approved, this sounds like the sort of offer that will propel residential solar+storage from the ‘maybe’ category into the ‘definitely’ for those waiting for a chance to jump into the market.

How to sign up for sonnenFlat

You can register your interest for the sonnenFlat energy tariff trial by visiting this page on the sonnen website.

Sonnen / Bristle Roofing Solartile

Sonnen have been in the news recently as they’re offering an alternative to the Tesla Solar Roof – the sonnen Solartile – click the link to learn more about how it will work in conjunction with the sonnenBatterie (and presumably the sonnenFlat tariff offer). It’s great to see a strong Tesla Powerwall competitor also offer alternatives to the Tesla roof tiles – the two in conjunction with their new ‘free’ energy tariff will undoubtedly ensure we see and hear a lot more about Sonnen in the future.

sonnenFlat packages and cost

Here’s a breakdown of the sonnenFlat pricing structure – definitely starting to look like solar can be a real money saver!

sonnenFlat Cost and Pricing Packages
sonnenFlat Cost and Pricing Packages (source: sonnen)

Sonnen / Bristile Roofing to offer Solartile in Australia.

Some big news on the solar roof front this week – German battery storage company Sonnen have partnered with Australian roofing company Bristile Roofing to offer their Tesla Solar Roof competitor, the Solartile, to Australian markets this September.

Sonnen and Bristile Roofing Launch Solartile in Australia

Sonnen and Bristile Roofing’s concept of an integrated solar tile is in direct competition to Tesla’s Solar Roof, which has just begun taking orders for a 2018 launch. Bristle, part of the building materials group Brickworks, is mainly going to target the 102,000 new homes to be constructed in Australia in 17/18; it seems that they’ll be targeting developers and builders who are looking to offer integrated solar systems as part of their product range.

In an industry (solar + storage) which grew over 1000% in 2016, there’s plenty of room for competition and we’re excited to see what Sonnen’s reliable and proven solar battery solutions can bring to this partnership.

“We are delighted to partner with Bristile because of their prominent involvement in supplying quality products to the building industry,” said Sonnen Australia managing director, Chris Parratt, last Thursday.

You can read more about the SonnenBatterie Eco 8.2 battery system (this, or a variation of, will be offered as part of the solar roof system) on our solar battery comparison page.

Solartile Release Date, Preorder and Cost

No word yet on the cost of the Solartile – it’s set to be released this September and we assume that preorder will become available over the coming months. Please watch this space as we’ll update it as soon as we have any information about the Solartile preorder available!

SonnenBatterie Australia Solartile Battery
SonnenBatterie Australia Bristile

Solartile VS Tesla Solar Roof

Tesla, which has previously claimed the tiles would be no more expensive that a regular roof, released statistics showing that a ‘typical homeowner’ can expect to shell out approximately $US21.85 per square foot for the Tesla Solar Roof (assuming 35% ‘active’ tiles).

Prices and specifics are yet to be revealed for the Bristile Solartile but we will update as soon as they become available.

If you want to calculate how much your home would cost to fit out with the Tesla Solar Roof based on current figures, please use the widget below.

Solartile / Tesla Solar Roof Price Estimate

Enter your roof size below in square metres and get a price estimate for the Tesla Solar Roof. We’ll update this for the Solartile as soon as figures are available.


Estimated Cost: