We previously wrote an article about the feasibility of an Australian home going off-grid with a 3kW solar system – quite a small system size for such an ambitious endeavour. In this article, we’ll look at the case for going off-grid with a 10kW solar system – the unofficial upper limit for residential solar system size in Australia. Can an Australian home disconnect from the grid with a 10kW solar system and batteries?

(This article was originally published in March 2016. We have updated it for clarity and simplicity.)

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Is energy self-sufficiency possible with a 10kW solar system and batteries?

Off-grid home with solarWe’ll assume that you live in a home with a 10kW solar system and no solar feed-in tariff incentive, meaning that you are better off ‘self-consuming‘ your solar energy than sending it into the grid. Whether or a not a home could sever ties with the grid with a system of this size depends on a number of things, including:

  • Location: Some locations are just sunnier than others. Darwin is the sunniest of all of Australia’s capital cities, while Hobart is the least sunny.
  • Roof orientation and tilt: In Australia, north-facing rooftops whose tilt is roughly at the same angle as the location’s latitude produce the most power. East and west-facing arrays tend to produce a bit less, and south-facing arrays least of all. (Read more.)
  • Daily energy consumption: If your daily energy needs are minimal (e.g. under 10 kilowatt-hours – kWh – per day), it will be easier for you to install a solar+storage system that can make you self-sufficient.
  • Daytime energy consumption: If you use most of your electricity while the sun shines, you won’t need as large a battery bank because you’ll likely consume the solar energy directly, as it is being produced. (Read more.)
  • Total solar energy produced: Remember that if you want to go off-grid, you’ll need to be able to store enough energy to get you through 3-4 days of rainy weather – this is called ‘energy autonomy’. If your solar PV system is not large enough to charge your battery bank, then you can’t go off grid without a generator, which could increase the overall cost of your system significantly (mainly because of the fuel expenditures).

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Solar Analytics energy monitoring system reviewed

May 17, 2018
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I’ve had Solar Analytics installed on my home now for about 3 months. Since that time I’ve referred to and shared screenshots of their app & web portal on numerous occasions – but it’s about time I wrote a proper review! How did I get Solar Analytics? I should note that Solar Analytics provided & […]

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Achieving grid stability with smart technologies

May 16, 2018

The problems currently facing the efficiency and stability of the gird are multilayered, and grid-scale energy storage technologies are helping to deliver solutions, according to Gianpaolo Giuliani, Global Sales Director, Energy Storage for GE Energy. Gianpaolo Giuliani has been with General Electric Company (GE) for almost 19 years and at the end of 2013 he […]

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The impressive numbers behind the Tesla ‘big battery’ in SA

May 15, 2018

The 100MW big battery installed by Tesla in South Australia has taken a 55 per cent share in the state’s frequency and ancillary services market, and lowered prices in that market by 90 per cent, new data has shown. The stunning numbers on the economics of Australia’s first large-scale battery were presented by McKinsey and […]

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Sanjeev Gupta talks energy storage

May 14, 2018

As solar and energy storage technologies become more competitive, they will revolutionise how energy is consumed globally, especially in Australia, says businessman Sanjeev Gupta, who has cemented his place as a champion of renewables in Australia following recent investments in the energy sector. Sanjeev Gupta is the Executive Chairman of the GFG Alliance, majority shareholder of SIMEC ZEN […]

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Residential solar PPA in Perth property development a ‘game changer’

May 14, 2018

A residential property development in Perth’s northern suburbs is offering home buyers a rooftop solar deal that promises to cut their daytime power costs by 40 per cent. The solar power purchase agreement, a first of its kind for Western Australia, is being trialled at Yolk Property Group’s Amble Estate in Girrawheen – a mix […]

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CHOICE launches energy savings service: Should you sign up?

May 11, 2018
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Consumer advocacy researchers at CHOICE have launched a service which they claim will help to ensure that customers never pay more than they have to for electricity. The program, called CHOICE Transformer, costs about $100 per year but saves their customers $505 on average – possibly much more. Once a customer is signed up, CHOICE […]

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NSW solar feed-in tariff rates to drop from 1 July 2018: What does it all mean?

May 9, 2018
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NSW’s regulator IPART has released its draft report for its recommendations for the state’s benchmark solar feed-in tariff range, to come into effect from 1 July 2018. The recommended ‘flat’ or ‘anytime’ feed-in rate will drop significantly from the current 11-15c/kWh down to 7.5c/kWh. Meanwhile, loosely following suit with Victoria, IPART has also made recommendations […]

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70MW solar PV farm may be added to Port Augusta solar tower

May 9, 2018
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US solar company SolarReserve has sought approval to add a 70MW solar PV farm to the world leading solar tower and molten salt storage facility proposed for Port Augusta in South Australia. The plans for the additional solar PV are revealed in a development application to the South Australia Planning Commission, submitted in late April, […]

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1.5GW solar farm proposed for southeast QLD

May 9, 2018
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A 1.5GW solar farm is being proposed for construction in south-east Queensland, as part of a massive new development application that would include two substations and a provision for battery storage. The Somerset Regional Council said on Friday that it had received the application for the solar PV power plant, proposed for a 2,055 hectare […]

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Where Australia sits on the energy storage global stage

May 8, 2018

The need, and potential, for energy storage technologies in Australia is high, and the country is ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing these storage solutions, according to Jon Norman, President and COO of Hydrostor. Jon Norman is a professional engineer with nearly 20 years experience in the power industry, environmental sector, management […]

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Major free showcase of energy storage technologies

May 8, 2018

More than 60 leading companies in the Australian and global energy storage industry will come together at the Australian Energy Storage Conference and Exhibition (AES 2018) on 23-24 May to explore the innovative energy storage technologies currently in the market and look at what’s next for the sector. The exhibition will be held at the […]

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Battery Storage Price Index – May 2018

May 4, 2018
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This month saw the most significant changes to battery installation prices since we started keeping track last November, thanks in part to an influx of data from companies in the Solar Choice network as they update their details for our price comparisons. While April saw an average increase in prices due to the addition of […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index for May 2018

May 3, 2018
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Commercial solar system prices continue their (very) gradual decline, according to pricing data from Solar Choice’s network of installers. The average indexed price continues to sit at around $1.16/W – down from about $1.23/W a year ago. Commercial solar system prices (10kW-100kW) All prices in the tables below include incentives available through the federal Renewable […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – May 2018

May 3, 2018
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Average residential solar system prices continue to sit at about $1.35 per watt ($/W) for the second month in a row, despite a number of pricing updates from installers in the network across the country. A basic 5kW solar system – one of the most popular sizes – costs just under $5,700 on average, while ‘premium’ and […]

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More and more Aussie homes & businesses opting to go off-grid

May 1, 2018

The number of Australian consumers choosing to go off grid is on the rise, installers are reporting, as households respond to the rising cost of grid energy, and the hopeless political environment. And it’s not just small, energy conscious households making the shift, as solar and battery storage options become more attractive. Glen Morris, from […]

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Report identifies the Australians missing out on solar

April 30, 2018
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As Australia’s rooftop solar market continues to boom, a new report has identified four key markets where uptake is yet to take off. According to the report, by EnergyLab, these markets – including rental homes, apartments, first home-buyers and commercial and industrial – have either been overlooked, or put in the too hard basket. And […]

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Hybrid & ‘battery-ready’ solar systems: What’s the go?

April 26, 2018

As more and more Australian households investigate (and install) solar battery storage, the more we get questions about battery-ready or hybrid solar & battery storage systems. What is a hybrid/battery-ready solar system – and is one right for your home? Important note: This article focuses on grid-connected solar systems, but some of the technologies discussed […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index for April 2018

April 23, 2018
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Average commercial solar system prices continue to sit at about $1.17/W for the second month in a row, according to data from the Solar Choice installer network database. 100kW and 70kW system prices come in at around $1.10/W nationally, while 10kW & 30kW are between $1.20-$1.30/W. Commercial solar system prices (10kW-100kW) All prices in the […]

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Battery Storage Price Index – April 2018

April 23, 2018
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This month’s data saw changes only in the larger two size categories that we track (i.e. 11-15kWh and 16-20kWh), where average prices actually increased slightly, due partially to the addition of high-end products from sonnen. For the time being our ‘Are We There Yet?’ Meter continues to track only battery prices in the best case scenarios […]

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AC vs DC battery storage explained

April 22, 2018

As interest in solar battery storage grows, so does the number of people with questions about their many options. At some point, energy storage system shoppers may find themselves having to decide between AC battery storage or DC battery storage. (N.B. These two approaches are more accurately referred to as AC-coupled battery storage and DC-coupled […]

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ESB scraps proposal of mandatory storage for all new wind & solar

April 19, 2018
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Australia’s Energy Security Board has effectively rejected the Conservative push for wind and solar to conform to outdated standards of “baseload” energy supply, and instead focused its thinking on reliability to fit around the cheapest form of power generation – wind and solar. While original versions of the National Energy Guarantee threatened to impose a […]

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Gannawarra Solar Farm connects to grid (battery coming soon)

April 18, 2018
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The 60MW Ganawarra project in north-west Victoria – the state’s biggest solar farm, to date – has been connected to the grid, and will soon begin on the installation of a new Tesla big battery, to make it one of the biggest solar-storage installations in the world. Ganawarra, jointly owned by Wirsol Energy and Edify […]

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All new ACT government vehicles to be electric

April 18, 2018

The ACT government has again taken a lead on green policy in Australia and unveiled the nation’s most ambitious transition plan to electric vehicles, including a mandate for all newly leased government vehicles to be zero emissions from 2021. The new transport strategy, unveiled by energy minister Shane Rattenbury, includes a study of solar-powered charging […]

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The biggest barrier to microgrids

April 13, 2018

The establishment of viable business cases for different applications is the main barrier to the continued uptake of microgrids in Australia, according to Greg Allen, Executive General Manager, Carnegie Clean Energy.  Mr Allen has 20 years experience in engineering, specifically in business development and operational experience in the industrial plant and equipment, and solar industries. At Carnegie Clean Energy […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – April 2018

April 12, 2018
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Average solar system prices again fell slightly between March and April, down to about $1.35 per watt, the lowest we’ve seen since the beginning of the year, but not as low as the record of $1.30/W set in December of 2017. For April 2018, 5kW systems are coming in at about $5,700 out-of-pocket on average for […]

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Tour the Hornsdale Power Reserve (AKA Tesla’s ‘Big Battery’) at energy storage conference

April 4, 2018
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South Australia is leading the way in renewable and energy storage with the state investing in major energy projects. The Australian Energy Storage Conference and Exhibition 2018 is giving attendees the chance to see these projects up close through exclusive tours to sites, including Tesla’s ‘Big Battery’. The Australian Energy Storage Conference and Exhibition 2018, […]

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Over 20,000 battery storage systems installed in Aus in 2017: SunWiz

March 29, 2018
Battery market 2017

After an extended period of research, SunWiz has released its much-anticipated Australian Battery Market Report for 2018. As Australia’s leading provider of solar market research, SunWiz’s position of a trusted independent market analyst means top companies trust us and have shared their information and unique insights. This report provides unprecedented transparency into what is otherwise an […]

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Time of use vs flat rate electricity tariffs with solar & batteries

March 28, 2018
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If you’re connected to the grid and own your home, you pay for electricity. In most places, in Australia, there are basically two types of tariffs: Flat rate tariffs (aka ‘peak only’ tariffs), where you pay a fixed amount for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy that your home draws from the grid, or Time of use […]

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Powershop, Diamond & Energy Locals top 2018 Green Electricity Guide

March 28, 2018
Green Electricity Guide

Who is the greenest electricity retailer of them all – and how do you know? Fortunately, every year the Total Environment Centre commissions a report on the topic, the results of which are documented in its handy Green Electricity Guide, which ranks the companies from most environmentally friendly to the least so. Part of the […]

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5 interesting alternatives to the ‘Big 3’ electricity retailers

March 27, 2018
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If you want to reduce your electricity bills, the first place you should look is your choice of electricity retailer, which is the company that sells you electricity. Although some people are unaware of it, in most parts of Australia you’re not stuck with a monopolistic ‘utility’ – you can pick and choose from a […]

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