From the category archives:

Solar System Products

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Can you go off the grid with a 10kW solar system plus battery storage?

May 16, 2017
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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 […]

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Avoiding the boom and bust for a sustainable energy storage market

May 15, 2017
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By studying the successes and challenges experienced by overseas projects and markets, and using them to inform better policy and decision-making, Australia’s energy market transformation could be the best-practice example that other countries seek to emulate, according to Mark Leslie, Asia Market Leader at AES Energy Storage. AES Energy Storage has been deploying utility-scale energy […]

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Solar-plus-storage: How much battery capacity do you need?

May 8, 2017
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Lots of Solar Choice customers ask about battery storage for solar power, but not many have a clear idea of how much battery capacity they need. This article takes a look at the factors that come into play when considering how to choose the right amount of battery capacity for your solar-plus-storage system. How much energy independence […]

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Sizing residential solar & battery systems: A quick guide

April 26, 2017
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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. Solar system sizing table (no batteries) If you’re considering solar panels for your […]

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Microinverters: Are they right for your solar system?

April 18, 2017
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As the name suggests, microinverters are small inverters for use in solar PV systems, usually installed at a ratio of one per solar panel. By contrast, most solar PV systems in Australia have a single, centralised inverter called a string inverter. What are the advantages of having a solar PV system that uses microinverters instead of […]

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Alternative monitoring solution for Enecsys owners who are left in the dark

April 18, 2017
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With the end of microinverter manufacturer Enecsys in early 2015, so ended the company’s online monitoring platform, leaving Enecsys system owners without any way to monitor their system’s output data. Two years on, there is now an alternative monitoring solution that gives Enecsys owners an overview of the performance of their solar panels: EnecsysOutput.com EnecsysOutput is an online […]

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How much can you really save with ‘selective export’ of solar & battery energy?

April 7, 2017
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Now that solar feed-in tariff rates are so low across the country, there’s little reason for a solar system owner to send their energy back into the grid, as they will almost always save more money by ‘self-consuming‘ their solar energy. This is one of the reasons that the popularity of battery storage systems has grown so […]

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‘No more energy bills’ with solar? Buyer beware

April 3, 2017
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Rooftop solar panels are a fantastic investment in Australia, but be realistic in your expectations “Eliminate your energy bills!” is a phrase – sometimes used in solar sales pitches – that Australian consumers should greet with a healthy degree of scepticism. If someone is making a promise that sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly […]

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How does maximum power point tracking (MPPT) work?

March 27, 2017
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Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) is a technology approach used in solar PV inverters to optimise power output in less-than-ideal sunlight conditions. Most modern inverters are equipped with at least one MPPT input. The below article – which originally appeared as a response by Bradley Detjen to a question on Quora.com – explains MPPT using the most […]

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Is home solar battery storage a good match and your energy consumption habits?

March 16, 2017
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Each household uses different amounts of electricity in different patterns throughout the day. Some consumption patterns are more conducive to battery storage as an investment, and knowing your consumption habits can help you to decide on the best solar system and battery bank size for your home. In this article we take a look a few […]

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Can I add more panels to my existing solar system?

March 16, 2017
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Some of the most common questions we receive at Solar Choice are about adding solar panels to an existing solar PV system. This article takes a look at the situations in which you might want to add panels, and what you need to bear in mind before making a decision. Possible reasons for adding more panels […]

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New smart meter from carbonTRACK to benefit households, bolster grid resilience

March 16, 2017
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Australian home energy management system developer carbonTRACK has announced the launch of an ‘intelligent smart meter’ that promises to benefit households, electricity retailers and grid operators alike. For end users, the units will deliver all the benefits of the company’s EMS, and can take the place of the standard meters usually installed with residential solar PV systems. The company […]

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Aquion Energy files for chapter 11 bankruptcy

March 9, 2017
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US ‘saltwater’ battery manufacturer Aquion Energy has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to a press release issued by the company overnight. Chapter 11 bankruptcy, sometimes referred to as ‘reorganisation’ bankruptcy, gives the company protection from creditors while it endeavours to restructure itself and sell off its remaining assets. The company may continue operating if […]

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

March 8, 2017
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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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An overview of battery storage system specifications: How to read a battery spec sheet

March 6, 2017
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Talking about home battery storage can be confusing, and if you’re confused you’re unlikely to feel confident about making a big investment like a home battery bank. There are quite a few different terms & specifications that you’ll hear when shopping around for battery products. We’ve gathered them all here in attempt to bring some clarity to […]

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WINAICO solar panels in Australia

March 3, 2017
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WINAICO Solar is a high-end solar PV panel manufacturer that puts an emphasis on the quality and reliability of its products. The WINAICO module range includes models for residential, commercial, and BIPV applications. WINAICO Solar Panels: Top-shelf components and guaranteed yields WINAICO says that it is set apart from other panel manufacturers in primarily two ways: […]

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Electricity demand tariffs in Australia – How to handle them

March 3, 2017
Demand tariff charges

If you hear the words ‘Demand Tariffs’ and start scratching your head, don’t worry – you’re not alone. In this article, we’ll examine what demand tariffs are and how to deal with them. Supply charges, usage charges and – now – demand charges? Normally, there are two components to an energy bill: fixed ‘supply’ charges (usually […]

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Is home solar battery storage worth it in 2017?

March 2, 2017
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Since 2015 Australians have been talking about home battery storage being on the cusp of financial viability. Are home batteries worth the investment in 2017? We’ve crunched the number for all of Australia’s capital cities to find out. Battery storage & payback periods in Australia Batteries are in high demand thanks to the promise of […]

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