From the category archives:

Useful solar tools and resources

An improvement to our Solar & Battery Storage Calculator

June 12, 2018
Solar Choice battery calculator busines profiles

Our Solar & Battery Storage Payback Estimator is one of the most widely-accessed resources on the Solar Choice website, with thousands of visitors per month. We take pride in the fact that the tool is one of the most comprehensive freely-available calculators of its kind in Australia, and are constantly looking at ways to improve […]

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Considering battery storage? Do these 5 things first

June 12, 2018
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In April last year, we got 7.8kW of solar with a SolarEdge inverter, including consumption monitoring. In November, we got a 9.3kWh LG Chem battery. From this experience, we have learned a lot from the benefits of solar and independently, batteries, and think there is a lot you should do prior to making the leap […]

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Battery Storage Price Index – June 2018

June 6, 2018
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Even with substantial changes to the database used to compile this month’s index, average battery storage system prices have moved only slightly from May. This seems to be an indication of the fixed hardware costs of battery storage systems (mainly the batteries themselves). Even as competition increases and more players come into the space offering […]

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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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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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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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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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Residential Solar PV Price Index – March 2018

March 14, 2018
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Average solar system prices dipped slightly between February and March 2018 – coming in at about $1.38 per watt as opposed to $1.40/W last month – according to the most recent data from Solar Choice’s installer network database. While average prices decreased for most capital cities, Sydney and Canberra saw slight increases, due in part to changes […]

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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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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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How does maximum power point tracking (MPPT) work?

February 13, 2018
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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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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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Two improvements to our Home Solar & Battery Calculator

February 1, 2018
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Following a major revamp of our Solar & Battery Storage Sizing & Payback Estimator midway through last year, we’ve just made a couple more significant improvements based on feedback from users. While these changes mean our calculator is now just a bit taller, it also means a higher level of sophistication and accuracy in results. Not […]

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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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Is home solar battery storage worth it? (Jan 2018 update)

January 18, 2018
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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 2018? We’ve crunched the number for all of Australia’s capital cities to find out. This article was originally published in February 2017. We then had an August 2017 update, followed by […]

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Kilowatts vs kilowatt-hours in solar power & battery storage: Power, energy or capacity?

January 15, 2018
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If you’re shopping around for solar panels or a battery storage for your home, you’re undoubtedly come across the terms ‘kilowatt’ (abbreviated as kW) and kilowatt-hour (kWh). These terms might be a bit confusing at first, so we’ve written this article to explain these terms and make them easy to understand. Power vs energy (vs capacity) When […]

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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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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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Reduce vs. produce: When to invest in solar and when to invest in energy efficiency projects

December 7, 2017
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If you’re interested in saving money on your electric bill, there are two popular ways to do it. One way is to invest in a solar energy system. The other way is to reduce your energy consumption by making upgrades. Comparing solar vs. energy efficiency at a high level Investing in solar energy tends to […]

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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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Sizing residential solar & battery systems: A quick guide

November 27, 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. [Note that this article was originally published in April 2017.] Solar system sizing […]

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GreenPower vs rooftop solar (vs both)

November 7, 2017
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GreenPower is an attractive option for Australian households who want to support renewable energy production. Is opting for GreenPower a better idea than installing rooftop solar? In this article we take a look at how both options support renewables uptake, and examine the pros and cons of opting for one, the other – or both. […]

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The ‘energy awareness factor’ and how it helps households save money

August 17, 2017
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For most of us, for most of our lives, electricity bills and our consumption have both been something of a black box. We know that we get a bill every 1-3 months and get charged for the electricity that we use, but we don’t generally have access to data that would provide us with the […]

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Introducing our new Home Solar & Battery Storage Systems Guide

July 19, 2017
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Over the years Solar Choice has published thousands of articles on the topic of solar power and (more recently) battery storage. Much of this knowledge is spread across various parts of our website (mainly our blog), so we’re recently taken some time to consolidate all the most relevant materials in one place. The result is […]

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Big improvements to our Solar & Battery Sizing & Payback Estimator tool

July 13, 2017
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It’s been well over a year since we first released our Solar & Battery Sizing & Payback Estimator tool in February 2016. Through its life so far, this handy tool has been visited by over 50,000 people trying to determine whether solar battery storage is worth the the money. As a first effort, this tool was […]

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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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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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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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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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