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James Martin II

Reposit First energy monitoring system reviewed

June 21, 2018
Reposit Box

Since February of this year I’ve had Reposit Power’s Reposit First monitoring system installed at my Newcastle home. The goal has always been to write a review of how the system works – which I wanted to do after having a bit of time to get familiar with it. Four months has definitely been enough […]

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Sizing residential solar & battery systems: A quick guide

June 15, 2018
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What size solar panel array do you need for your home? And if you’re considering battery storage, what size battery bank would be most appropriate? This article includes tables that provide an at-a-glance guide, as well as links to more comprehensive calculators. [Note that this article was originally published in April 2017.] Solar system sizing […]

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The role of flow batteries in the future renewable energy grid [VIDEO]

June 11, 2018
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One of the most impressive presentations from the 2018 Australian Energy Storage Conference was the keynote speech on the second day by Redflow ‘technology evangelist’ (and former chief) Simon Hackett. Redflow, as you may have heard, is an Australian flow battery manufacturer who have in recent years sharpened their focus on the telecom and industrial […]

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Solar power & water heating: Everything you need to know (almost)

May 30, 2018
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Everyone who has solar panels on their roof wants to make the most of the electricity they produce, and one of the biggest energy consumers for most households is their water heater. Using solar energy to heat water is in fact a better option (financially) than an investment in battery storage – and as such […]

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Renewables, energy storage & the distributed grid: AES 2018 roundup

May 28, 2018
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At the 2018 Australian Energy Storage Conference & Exhibition, it’s very clear that big, unstoppable things are happening in Australia’s energy sector. Adelaide was a fitting venue for the event, with attendees who managed to arrive a day early invited on a tour of South Australia’s world-leading (and ultra effective) ‘Tesla Big Battery’ at the […]

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Solar Analytics energy monitoring system reviewed

May 21, 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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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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Solar-powered lawn care (Solartopia #13)

March 21, 2018
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And here’s a quick blog article to talk about a cool thing you can do with a solar system on your roof: Mow your grass (and trim your edges) with the sun. We recently upgraded our clunked-out push mower with a $20 second-hand plug-in electric Ozito mower (the lady who sold it to us on […]

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My house is net energy positive – for now (Solartopia #12)

March 20, 2018
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I’ve now had two energy monitoring systems fully functioning for a few weeks, and it’s fascinating to see what my 4.4kWh solar system is capable of. It’s also interesting to learn just how little energy my home uses (about 10-14kWh/day) compared to the 15-25kWh averages I always hear about. (Meanwhile EnergyMadeEasy tells me that the […]

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Expanding an existing solar system with more panels and/or batteries? Know your options

March 7, 2018
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There are nearly 2 million Australian households with solar panels installed on their roofs. Many of these households would like to add more solar and/or batteries to their systems, but the best path to accomplishing this is unclear, as there are a number of technical approaches that they could potentially take. If you’re in this […]

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Solar Analytics is in! (Solartopia #11)

February 28, 2018
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Solar Analytics Santa (AKA Nigel Morris) arrived on his sleigh (AKA his all-electric Zero motorcycle) on Tuesday to install the Solar Analytics unit that’s been sitting on my desk for a few months now. All electric – so I didn’t even notice he had arrived til he knocked on the door. We set the stopwatch […]

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‘Reposit First’ monitoring system is here! (Solartopia #10)

February 15, 2018
Reposit First real time

I am very happy to announce that I’ve finally got the first of three energy management/monitoring systems for my home up and fully functioning. Reposit Power have sent one of their ‘Reposit First’ units my way; it was professionally installed in about 2 hours on Monday this week. (Although my carbonTRACK system is fully installed, […]

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Tips for going solar with a fiddly, inner city rooftop

February 15, 2018
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If you take a look at the APVI’s Solar Status Map, a curious thing you’ll notice is that the penetration rates for rooftop solar in Australia’s most densely populated capital cities (primarily Sydney & Melbourne) are not as high as you’d expect. While the national average is over 15%, solar PV penetration in these inner city […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – February 2018

February 14, 2018
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Average solar system prices (on ‘primary’ offerings) have slipped slightly upwards since the beginning of the year, coming in at around $1.40/W – as opposed to about $1.30/W in December – due primarily to increased prices in Hobart & Melbourne. Average pricing for ‘premium’ and ‘microinverter’ systems, meanwhile, has dropped to $1.49/W and $1.80/W, respectively. Average solar […]

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9 things you should know if you’re considering home battery-storage

February 8, 2018
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For several years now, home solar battery storage has been a hot topic in Australia, and 2018 looks set to be the best year yet for batteries. If you’re actively considering battery storage for your own house, we’ve compiled a list of 8 things that will put you well on your way towards making the […]

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Backup power with home solar battery storage: What are your options?

February 7, 2018
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Home battery storage is becoming increasingly popular in Australia, and one of the most in-demand features is backup power, which provides electricity to a home even when the grid is down. In this article we take a look at the main approaches to battery storage that you’ll come across as you shop around for a […]

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Solar battery storage in Sydney: Know your options

January 30, 2018
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Solar battery storage is becoming an increasingly attractive and viable option for homes in Sydney, NSW. This article examines the different situations in which someone living in Sydney may consider installing home solar batteries, and give a detailed list of options for each of these situations. Getting educated about battery storage in Sydney Solar Choice has […]

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Battery Storage Price Index – January 2018

January 29, 2018
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After some significant additions to our battery pricing database (including some ‘recommended retail price’ (RRP) data from manufacturers), average ‘full’ battery system prices (i.e. including inverter) fell to about $1,580 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), with lows sticking around at $870/kWh. Average ‘battery only’ prices came in at just under $1,000/kWh, while lows were around $700. This […]

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What are the best cities for home solar battery storage? (January 2018 update)

January 24, 2018
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Having just published an article on the state of Australia’s battery storage market at the beginning of 2018 (recently updated), 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 […]

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Happiness is an electricity bill? A coda to 2017 (Solartopia #9)

December 21, 2017
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I never thought I’d find myself chasing up with my electricity company to ask for an electricity bill, but two weeks ago that’s exactly what I was doing. I’d been living in my new house for over three months and still hadn’t heard a peep out of Energy Locals about what I owed them. If […]

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What’s the current levelised cost of energy (LCOE) for solar in Australia?

December 20, 2017
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Solar is affordable in Australia – possibly more affordable than anywhere else in the world. But as much as sunlight may seem like ‘free energy’, you actually pay for the ability to convert sunlight into usable electricity when you purchase a solar system. Aside from up-front price, one of the best ways to gauge affordability […]

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Air conditioning terror in the heat (Solartopia #8)

December 14, 2017
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Welcome to the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures in Newcastle soaring to 34 degrees around the middle of the day. Because my life is full of excitement, two of the most noteworthy moments from my day at home were a) spotting a gigantic blue tongue in the back yard hiding behind […]

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Battery Storage Price Index – December 2017

December 13, 2017
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Welcome to the second edition of Solar Choice’s Battery Storage Price Index – the companion to our Solar PV Price Index, which covers solar system installation prices around Australia. The aim of the Battery Storage Price Index is to assist you in determining whether batteries are right for your home. Average battery system prices for […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index for December 2017

December 12, 2017
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This month’s Commercial Solar PV Price Index sees the introduction of 70kW solar systems for the first time (a long overdue addition). The average cost of installing a commercial solar system in Australia currently sits at around $1.19 per watt ($1.19/W) – nominally less than last month‘s figure of $1.20/W and a modest improvement over […]

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – December 2017

December 12, 2017
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The average price per watt ($/W) for primary offerings was $1.30 this month – down slightly from November and a new low since we began tracking prices in 2012. The average for a premium system was $1.54/W, while the average for a microinverter system was $1.86/W. December marks the second month using our new Solar […]

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Solar system size limits: How much does your local network allow? [UPDATED]

November 28, 2017
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What’s the upper limit to the amount of solar panel capacity that you can put on your roof? This is actually a multi-layered question that involves your roof area, your energy saving goals and any applicable restrictions imposed by your local electricity network company. This article touches on all these factors, but focuses mainly on […]

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Electricity meter board complications & partial monitoring success (Solartopia #7)

November 23, 2017
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It’s been more than a few weeks since I last posted an update about the progress of my own personal solar project. In addition to just being generally busy, I was also back in my native United States officiating my brother’s wedding and shooting off guns (really). In episode #4, I excitedly announced that I’d […]

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Solar power in Lismore, NSW: Compare prices & installers

November 20, 2017
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If you haven’t already realised it, Lismore NSW is a great spot for solar power. As with the rest of the state, solar power is affordable and electricity prices are high, making solar panels a ‘no brainer’ investment for anyone who has the budget and some unshaded roof space. This article covers the main things […]

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Introducing Solar Choice’s Battery Storage Price Index (and a major overhaul of our Solar PV Price Index)

November 16, 2017
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Since the beginning of 2017, there have been over half a million views of battery storage-related pages on the Solar Choice website and well over 3,000 customer enquiries about batteries. These offer a fairly clear indication that people looking into solar are also interested in battery storage. A lot of this is thanks to coverage […]

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