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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Tesla Powerwall in 2018 – Availability in Australia.

What can we expect from the Tesla Powerwall in 2018? Elon Musk’s company have released their Q4 report from last year, and it also has a lot of interesting information about the direction they’re planning on taking things in 2018. It looks like the days of the severely limited supply of the Powerwall may be coming to an end. 

Tesla Energy Display - Tesla Powerwall in 2018
Tesla Energy Display – Tesla Powerwall in 2018 (source: Tesla.com)

Tesla Powerwall in 2018 – Residential Energy Storage

The Tesla Powerwall 2 has been out in Australia for almost a year now – the problem is that they have been hard to come by and Tesla have had a very difficult time meeting demand for their energy storage products (we’re not even going to delve into the Model 3 fiasco…)

“2018 will see major growth in Tesla energy storage deployments, as the production ramp of our storage products is just as steep as with Model 3,” Tesla said. “This year, we aim to deploy at least three times the storage capacity we deployed in 2017.”

They went on to elaborate on the reason Powerwalls were so difficult to source last year:

“We also deployed 87 MW of energy generation systems in Q4,
which is 20% less than Q3 2017. Solar MW deployed declined as
volumes continue to be impacted by our decision to close certain
sales channels earlier this year and to focus on projects with better
margins. In addition, solar deployments were affected by the short
supply of Powerwalls for customers who wanted solar plus
Powerwall in their house. While volumes may continue to be
impacted by these factors over the near-term, we expect growth to
resume later this year. “

This begs the question – with so many issues scaling up their energy storage how will this impact the Powerwall 3 release date announcement?

Tesla Powerpack in 2018 – Commercial Energy Storage

After the unparalleled success of the Tesla battery in South Australia, it’s unsurprising to see that they’re going to have a strong focus on commercial solar storage. 

 “Due to the success of this project, we’re seeing an increase in demand for Powerpack, our commercial energy storage product. With more electric utilities and governments around the world recognizing the reliability, environmental, and economic benefits of this product, it’s clear that there is a huge opportunity for us in large scale energy storage” their Q4 statement read. 
 
It’ll be interesting to see exactly what applications we’ll see the Powerpack being used in, both in Australia and worldwide. 

Tesla Solar Roof 2018 Update

According to the report, initial production at the Gigafactory 2 started in Q4 and Tesla are “deliberately ramping production at a gradual pace”. When “fully scaled”, the Buffalo, NY based Gigafactory 2 will be able to produce enough solar cells to add more than 150,000 new residential solar installations every year. 

If you want to learn more about the Tesla, Inc. Fourth Quarter 2017 Financial Results Q&A conference call click here to visit their site or you can find the PDF of the update letter here – Tesla Fourth Quarter & Full Year 2017 Update

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Monier SolarTile – Solar Tiles Australia

There’s plenty going on in the world of solar roof tiles this year – today we’re going to take a look at the Monier SolarTile, which is a competing against the Tesla Solar Roof and the sonnen/Bristile Roofing Solartile.

Monier SOLARtile

Monier SolarTILE
Monier SolarTILE (source: monier.com.au)

The Monier SOLARTile is an integrated modular photovoltaic flat tile system. They integrate with a flat profiled roof so they won’t ruin the view of your house – and can be installed on all types of roofs (including traditional and period style homes). If you’d prefer, you can retrofit them for a re-roof, extension, or home renovation. Their modular design means that you can install them in any configuration – including smaller sections of your roof (generally north facing) to reach optimal energy production. Since they have an integrated design (as opposed to conventional ‘bolt-on’ solar panels, the SOLARtiles will blend into a roofline smoothly. 

Monier were a finalist in the Clean Energy Council’s ‘Solar Designs & Installations Awards’ in 2013 for this product – they were also a finalist in BPN’s Sustainability Awards in 2013. The company is backed by CSR, one of Australia and New Zealand’s biggest building product companies. 

They’re currently available and are being installed on homes in Australia – and in lieu of any case studies, let’s see how it stacks up against the Tesla solar tiles:

Monier SolarTile vs Tesla Solar Roof

Monier SolarTile:

  • Available? – Available in Australia right now! 
  • Grid? – Must be grid connected.
  • Upgradeable? – Yes – provided your inverter has the capacity.
  • Warranty? 25 Year Performance Guarantee – guaranteed to be working at 82.5% of original capacity in year 25.  
  • STCs? Monier can handle this for you or you’re welcome to sell them yourself. 
  • Installation? Licenced roofers and CEC accredited electricians. 

Tesla Solar Roof:

  • Available? No – the Tesla Solar Roof release date in Australia should be sometime in 2018.
  • Grid?  No official word as yet, but these should integrate with Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries to offer an off-grid solution.
  • Upgradeable? Yes, can replace Tesla ‘non solar’ tiles (a Tesla roof will generally have around 40% solar generating tiles) with solar tiles.
  • Warranty? “Infinite”, according to Elon Musk, but this only applies to the glass the tiles are made from, not their ability to produce electricity or actually function as a roof. 30 year warranty for those.
  • STCs? Unconfirmed, question has been Tweeted to Elon Musk by @awbow22

We’ve reached out to Monier for some more information about the Solartile and will update this article as soon as we have more. In the meantime, if you want solar tiles on your roof and don’t want to wait, it remains a great product backed by an Australian giant! If you have any experience with the Monier SOLARtile we’d love to hear about it – please leave your thoughts in the comments! 

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Volkswagen Electric Car / Battery – $84b Investment

Volkswagen electric car news – they have announced an $84b investment to create a range of electric vehicles – with plans to have electric versions of all 300 models by 2030. Of this $84b, $50b will be invested in battery production to support these vehicles – not directly linked to solar energy but definitely something that will have myriad benefits for the energy storage industry as a whole. 

The Volkswagen Electric Car / Battery Investment

Volkswagen Electric Car Golf 2017
Volkswagen Electric Car – 2017 e-Golf (source: Volkswagen.com)

Earlier this year VW announced that they were investing $10b in EVs but appear to have changed their strategy considerably over the past 6 months – planning to overtake Tesla and become the biggest electric vehicle company in the world. They’ll make EVs for Volkswagen as well as their other brands such as Audi and Porsche. 

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller said  “A company like Volkswagen must lead, not follow” – and that “…this is not some vague declaration of intent. It is a strong self-commitment which, from today, becomes the yardstick by which we measure our performance.”

With the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf’s range called ‘sub-par’ by some reviewers, (the 35.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack is up 50% on its predecessor, but it’s still heavy and can only reach 125 miles) it’s imperative that VW work on their battery technology if they’re to be a real contender in the EV space. According to Auto News new EVs will arrive in 2020 with 300 miles of range for a price similar to the Golf. 

Solar Power charging Electric Vehicles

With the Tesla Powerwall 2, the Tesla Solar Roof and the Tesla EVs looking to integrate more tightly over the coming 12 months, there are a couple of questions with regards to renewable energy and EVs. Firstly, will we see an influx of electric cars with solar panels? Secondly – how tightly will rooftop PV solar and EV recharging integrate over the coming years? 

To answer the first question, it’s definitely something being worked on – last month Audi announced they’re partnering with a Chinese solar panel manufacturer to add a solar roof on Audi’s electric cars. In fact, this dates as far back as the Mazda 929 in 1991 – the technology just hasn’t been good enough. Solar panel tech has been advancing rapidly over the past few years and we expect to see more solar panels on cars over the coming years – they’re cheaper, more flexible, and able to absorb much more energy than previous panels.

Secondly, that’s definitely something people are also trying to solve – energy storage technology plays a massive part in this as the ideal charging times (i.e. when people aren’t at home and therefore not using electricity) aren’t usually times when the car is in its garage! So using smart technology like the Redback Smart Hybrid System and teaching it about electricity usage patterns and joining that up with other information such as weather forecasts will play a key part in marrying solar power and electric vehicles. One thing’s for sure – this technology is going to move a lot faster over the next few years and it won’t be long before EVs are the norm. 

 

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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!

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