Earlier this month CSIRO Chief Scientist Alan Finkel debuted his panel’s report into reform of Australia’s electricity sector. Officially known as Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market but widely referred to as ‘the Finkel review’, the report has stirred emotions across the energy sector – with some saying it goes too far in its support of renewable energy while others saying it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Read the full article →

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Electricity prices to increase in NSW, SA and QLD: Why and what can you do about it?

June 22, 2017
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As you’re likely to have read, there are significant electricity price rises coming into effect from 1 July if you live in New South Wales, Queensland or South Australia. Driven by a doubling of wholesale electricity prices, retailers are being forced to increase their prices to cover their costs of buying electricity in the wholesale electricity […]

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Water heating on a timer vs solar diverter: A case study

June 22, 2017
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The article below, written by Scott Young of CATCH Power, provides a look into the world of hot water diverters, which use excess solar energy to drive the element in electric storage-based water heaters. Hot water diverters are a great way to increase solar self-consumption and are significantly more affordable (albeit less versatile) than battery […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index for June 2017

June 21, 2017
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Average pricing for commercial-scale solar systems has dropped to $1.19 per watt ($1.19/W) from $1.23/W following some shakeups in the Solar Choice installer network (see notes in our Residential Solar PV Price Index for this month). Average 10kW system prices sit at $1.27/W, 30kW system prices at $1.19/W, 50kW system prices at $1.20/W and 100kW solar […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – June 2017

June 21, 2017
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This month saw one of the sharpest drops to average system prices since Solar Choice first began keeping track in August 2012. Between May and June, the average system price dropped 23c from $1.57 per watt ($1.57/W) to $1.34/W. This sudden decrease stands in sharp contrast to the very gradual changes that we’ve seen over […]

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Energy Storage Conference & Exhibition 2017: Roundup

June 20, 2017
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Every June for the last three years I’ve attended the Energy Storage Conference & Exhibition in Sydney. This year the event took place on 14-15th at Sydney’s new Convention and Exhibition Centre (ICC Sydney) in Darling Harbour. It was held concomitantly with the Renewable Cities conference. As in the style of previous years (e.g. 2015 […]

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Standards Australia renews threat of home battery storage ban

June 16, 2017
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A draft of industry guidelines for the installation of battery storage in Australian homes and businesses has upheld a controversial recommendation that threatens to ban batteries from inside homes and garages. The draft guidelines – which were first aired by Standards Australia in February this year, and then quickly hosed down after an industry-wide backlash […]

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Finkel modelling ignores new technologies, cheaper renewables

June 14, 2017
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The Australian public – and the Coalition party room – are being told that the cheapest and most effective way to address emissions is to allow coal-fired power stations to remain in the system beyond their 50-year asset life. According to the Finkel Review’s recommended policy mechanism, the Clean Energy Target, allows for coal-fired generation […]

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Integrating solar with storage for a stable energy ecosystem

June 8, 2017
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To successfully incorporate solar PV, storage and other innovative technologies into Australia’s energy grids without sacrificing grid stability, a holistic, whole-of-network approach is required, says Mark Paterson, General Manager of Horizon Power’s Consumer Energy division. According to Mr Paterson, Horizon Power’s large, sparsely populated regional WA networks are ‘almost a microcosm of the larger electricity […]

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Solar & wind help SA ‘blow past’ renewables target ahead of schedule

June 8, 2017
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South Australia has not only met its legislated target of 50 per cent renewable energy eight years ahead of schedule, it is literally blowing past it, the Australian Energy Regulator has found. According to the AER’s state of the energy market report released last week, large scale wind power and rooftop solar PV have reached […]

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Why doesn’t my electricity retailer give me a 15c solar feed-in tariff?

June 7, 2017
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Why don’t retailers offer higher solar feed-in rates? Does it matter if feed-in tariff rates are low? What are some of the alternative approaches to conventional feed-in tariffs that are beginning to appear in the Australian market? These are important questions to ask when considering going solar in Australia these days. We take a look at […]

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What are the best cities for home solar battery storage?

June 6, 2017
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Having just published an article on the state of Australia’s battery storage market at the beginning of 2017, we decided we would endeavour to shed a bit more light on payback period differences between each capital city. Which cities have the best conditions for home solar battery storage? We’ve ranked them below (with an explanation of […]

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Can you go solar with a south-facing roof in Australia?

June 5, 2017
South-facing roofs okay for solar?

Anyone who has looked into installing solar panels in Australia would have quickly learned that north is the best direction for solar panels. If north is not an option, northwest and northeast are generally the next best options, usually followed by due west and due east, depending on the circumstances. But what about south-facing roofs […]

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3kW solar PV systems: Pricing, output, and returns

June 5, 2017
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How much does a 3kW solar system cost in Australia, and how much energy can you expect it to produce? This article takes a look a these questions, as well as returns and payback periods for 3kW solar systems. (This article was originally published in 2012 – we’ve recently updated it to reflect how circumstances […]

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Add more solar panels or get batteries? A customer case study

June 1, 2017
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Being a nation-wide advice & comparison service for rooftop solar, Solar Choice regularly receives enquiries from customers from people all over the country. We recently received a call from a NSW-based customer approaching retirement; her query was about whether it would make more sense for her to install a 3kWh battery bank for around $5,000, or […]

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Diversification the key to a resilient energy market

June 1, 2017
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Australia’s energy markets are becoming more complex due to battery storage and rooftop solar, and diversifying the mix of energy sources can ensure the grid remains resilient, according to Dr Michael Ottaviano, CEO and Managing Director of Carnegie Clean Energy. For the last ten years, Carnegie Energy has been developing utility-scale solar power, wave energy […]

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Peer-to-peer trading with solar & batteries: What to look for

May 31, 2017
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‘Peer-to-peer energy trading’ is a buzzword that is thrown around quite a bit in Australia as the number of solar & battery storage systems grows. What is peer-to-peer energy trading and how can it benefit you? We caught up with Localvolts founder Jitendra Tomar to gain a fuller understanding of the concept – and to […]

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Australian renewables head for a “boom-time” 2017

May 31, 2017
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Renewable energy in Australia is shaping up for a “boom-time” 2017, powered by a rebound in hydro-power generation, the plunging cost of big solar, and ambitious and motivated state and territory governments. Recommend on Facebook Share on Linkedin Tweet about it Print for later Tell a friend

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Tips for maximising your solar savings

May 30, 2017
Solar and coins

When you go solar, you’ll need to adjust the way you use your appliances to ensure you make the most of the energy coming from your solar panels. Here are a few simple things you can do to reduce maximise your solar energy usage – and your energy bill savings. Make sure you understand your bill […]

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Battery storage: Retrofit or new build with solar?

May 29, 2017
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If you’re considering installing battery storage for your grid-connected home, you probably find yourself in one of two situations: You’ve already got a solar PV system on your roof and want to add batteries to it (possibly with the addition of a few more solar panels), or You don’t have solar yet, so you’re going to install both […]

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Retrofitting battery storage to an existing solar PV system: What to consider

May 29, 2017
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Lots of Australian homes are expected to install battery storage in the coming years. Many of these homes will install brand new solar-plus-storage systems, but quite a few will be retrofitting batteries onto a pre-existing system. What do you need to keep in mind for a battery storage system retrofit? Considerations for retrofitting energy storage […]

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Melbourne solar panels: Compare system prices and installers

May 29, 2017
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Are solar panels still worth the investment in Melbourne? It would seem so: Tens of thousands of Victorian households have installed solar PV systems in the last few years alone, with 10-15% of homes in the Melbourne area now meeting at least part of their energy needs with the sun. This article takes a look at […]

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Beam Energy introduces a free ‘smart meter’ for solar & battery system size optimisation

May 26, 2017
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When buying solar or batteries, most people would like to have an idea about how much money they would save with different capacity sizes before they go through with the purchase. Beam Energy has come out with a free, easy-to-install ‘smart meter’ and mobile app that promises just that. Installing solar or batteries is never a […]

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Empowered energy customers support the grid

May 24, 2017
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With the right technology, homeowners and businesses with solar and battery storage systems have the potential to play a vital role in stabilising a grid with high renewable generation, according to Luke Osborne, Chief Operations Officer for Reposit Power. By integrating innovative software with solar battery systems, Reposit Power helps customers who invest in these […]

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What is a “Tier 1” solar panel? Tier 2 or 3?

May 24, 2017
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When purchasing a solar system, the quality of the components to be used is frequently a key consideration. However, differentiating one brand from another may not be so simple, especially in the case of solar panels, of which there are hundreds of brands on the Australian market. The terms ‘Tier 1’, ‘Tier 2’, and ‘Tier […]

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Incredible new lows in cost of battery storage and large scale solar

May 23, 2017
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Arizona has set a new low price for large-scale solar power in the US, but more importantly has also smashed expectations of the combined cost of large-scale solar and battery storage. Arizona utility Tucson Electric Power (TEP) this week announced it would buy solar energy from a new 100MW solar plant at the historically low price […]

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Subsidies are not the answer to battery storage market

May 23, 2017
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The Clean Energy Council has called for urgent energy urgent market reform – and not subsidies – to unlock Australia’s energy storage market, in a new report that joins the growing chorus for Australia’s policy makers to finally respond to the challenges and opportunities of new technologies. Recommend on Facebook Share on Linkedin Tweet about […]

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Levelised cost of storage: A better way to compare battery value

May 23, 2017
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When it comes to choosing batteries for home or commercial battery storage, it can be difficult to sift through the multitude of options to find the IDEAL battery for your application. The options range from different operating voltages, amp-hour (Ah) storage capacities, sizes, weights, brands and – to make things even more complicated – different […]

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Solar saved NSW consumers almost $1 billion in latest heatwave

May 19, 2017
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Rooftop solar on homes and businesses across New South Wales likely reduced the market price of wholesale electricity by nearly $1 billion during a February heatwave, a new analysis has found. The analysis by Marija Petkovic, of consulting firm Energy Synapse, says that without rooftop solar the total cost of market prices would have been […]

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Solar is so cheap it now cools the air outside too

May 17, 2017
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Rooftop solar power is becoming so cheap, and will become so abundant, that we will reach the situation where the kilowatt-hours of use (i.e. the production) are effectively free, the head of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has said. Recommend on Facebook Share on Linkedin Tweet about it Print for later Tell a friend

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Could distributed battery systems ‘blackstart’ the grid?

May 17, 2017
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Solar Choice recently received a comment from a visitor to our site asking about whether distributed battery storage systems – using Reposit Power‘s battery management technology – could be used to restart the grid in the event of a blackout. We reached out to Reposit for a response, and they came back to us with […]

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