How baseload can be replaced with renewables & storage

March 27, 2018

Deconstructing baseload. It is the title of a chapter in a recent report from REN21, the global renewable energy agency, highlighting just how dramatic the energy transition will be as the cost of wind and solar continue to fall, and storage continues its rapid adoption. Until just a few years ago, most of the world’s […]

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Battery Storage Price Index – March 2018

March 26, 2018
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With another month of minimal changes to battery pricing in our database, we’ve used the opportunity to again alter the presentation of our ‘Our We There Yet’ Meter to focus on the situations where batteries are looking most attractive, as most of the figures for other situations are still out of the ballpark. In particular, […]

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Gannawarra Solar Farm to get one of two new Victorian ‘big batteries’

March 23, 2018
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Following on the heels of South Australia, Victoria is set to become home to two ‘big batteries’ of its own. The grid-scale battery banks – one manufactured by Tesla and the other by Fluence – will help to ease pressure on the electricity network in the western part of the state, while also helping to […]

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Regulator to suggest reductions to NSW feed-in tariff

March 22, 2018
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Solar households in New South Wales look set to be penalised for the lower electricity prices their rooftop PV has helped to deliver, with the state’s pricing regulator proposing a cut to the feed-in tariff by around 3c/kWh. In an issues paper published this week, NSW’s Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal flagged plans to cut […]

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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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Groundbreaking new energy storage solution: The rise of silicon thermal

March 20, 2018
Dr Kevin Moriarty

Silicon thermal energy storage systems are more compact than batteries and have the lowest levelised cost compared to any other form of storage, according to Dr Kevin Moriarty, Executive Chairman at 1414 Degrees. Dr Moriarty has more than 40 years experience in mining and oil exploration and development before he saw an opportunity to move […]

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15kW solar systems: A great size for homes & businesses (if you can fit one on your roof)

March 20, 2018
Kennards Hire 15kW

15kW solar systems are a great system size for homes with high levels of energy consumption or businesses with small to middling energy needs – provided that they have sufficient roof space to install one. This article takes you through (almost) everything you might want to know about 15kW solar systems, including how much space […]

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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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New SA government to scale back Tesla VPP plans, introduce battery incentive

March 19, 2018
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The newly elected South Australia premier, the Liberal Steven Marshall, has made his first promise – his government intends to scale back the Tesla plan for the world’s biggest “virtual power plant” that would install batteries in low income households for no cost. The Tesla plan – which aims to install 5kW of solar and […]

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Commercial Solar PV Price Index for March 2018

March 19, 2018
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Average prices for commercial-scale solar systems continue to hang around $1.17 per watt, down from about $1.21/W this time last year, and down from about $1.30/W in 2016. 100kW systems are averaging about $1.10/W, while 10kW systems come in at around $1.28/W. Commercial solar system prices (10kW-100kW) All prices in the tables below include incentives […]

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Why doesn’t my electricity retailer give me a 25c solar feed-in tariff?

March 19, 2018
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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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Our presentation to Ku-ring-gai Council

March 19, 2018
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On Wednesday 14 March, James gave a presentation to about 60 residents of Ku-ring-gai Council in Sydney. Anyone who is interested can view the slides from the presentation here. Ku-ring-gai Council has a progressive and ambitious environmental agenda, with an ‘environment levy’ that allows the council to undertake a range of sustainability-focussed projects – including […]

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Five myths about South Australia’s renewable energy

March 15, 2018

The South Australia election is just two days away, and the renewable energy myths are flying thick and strong. In so far as the election will be decided by energy policy, we though it was opportune to have a look at these myths in detail. Renewable energy has caused South Australia to have the highest […]

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Powershop to pay battery owners under new Grid Impact plan. What’s the go?

March 15, 2018

Electricity retailer Powershop and battery control technology developer Reposit Power have come together to offer a first-of-kind product to battery storage system owners in Australia. Anyone with a (Reposit-equipped) battery storage system living in New South Wales, Victoria or Queensland can sign up for the program (called Grid Impact) to become part of a massive, […]

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Germany’s VARTA enters Australia battery market

March 14, 2018
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German battery storage maker VARTA has become the latest company to enter Australia’s burgeoning battery storage market, attracted by the huge penetration of rooftop solar and the growing shift towards “aggregated” storage. The Bavarian based VARTA claims to have a market share of 10-12 per cent in its principal markets – Germany, Austria and Switzerland […]

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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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Australian homes, business installed 6.5 solar panels per minute in 2017

March 8, 2018

New data from the Clean Energy Regulator has confirmed 2017 as a record breaking year for rooftop solar take, with Australian homes and businesses installing PV panels at a mind-bending rate of 6.5 per minute over the past 12 months. By the latest count, a total of 1057MW new capacity was added under the national […]

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Solar power for doctors’ surgeries & medical centres: What’s the go?

March 8, 2018
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Doctors’ surgeries and medical centres are among the best candidates for rooftop solar in Australia. Surgeries tend to use the most electricity during daylight hours; without solar, they pay their electricity company (the ‘retailer’) a lot for each unit that they draw from the grid. But medical practices that go solar can meet a good […]

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Victoria town’s breakthrough deal on network tariffs as it pursues 100% renewables

March 7, 2018
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The regional Victorian town of Newstead has negotiated new network charges with electricity distributor, Powercor, to to help clear the way to building a small solar farm and sharing the output with the community. The ground-breaking deal puts in place a two-year trial on new network fees that allows the community to install solar and […]

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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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Introducing our Commercial Solar System Payback Calculator

February 28, 2018
Commercial energy flows

Solar Choice has been managing tenders for commercial solar projects since 2010, during which time our engineering team has composed thousands of free Indicative Business Cases for commercial clients. On the back of this accumulated knowledge, we have decided to release a ‘lite’ version of our business case analysis engine to the world with our […]

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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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7kW solar systems: Prices, output & return on investment

February 28, 2018
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7kW solar systems, once relatively uncommon, have grown in popularity in Australia as the average solar system size has increased. A 7kW solar system could be the perfect match for an ordinary household with higher-than-average electricity consumption, or for a small business with accordingly small electricity needs. Back when Australia’s solar industry began booming around […]

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Victoria regulator finalises new time-varying tariffs for solar exports

February 28, 2018
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Victoria’s solar feed-in tariff is set to shift to a time-varying model, after the details of the of the new scheme – an Australian first – were finalised by Victoria’s Essential Services Commission. The new solar FiT, to be introduced in July 1, 2018, will require retailers to pay a minimum 29c/kWh for exports between […]

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Xenophon’s SA BEST unveils community electricity co-op plan

February 28, 2018
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Nick Xenophon’s SA Best party has unveiled an energy policy plan to cut South Australia’s power prices by up to 20 per cent by setting up a community electricity co-op. Unveiled on Tuesday, ahead of the March 17 state election, the plan is to use a co-operative model of community electricity trusts to give power […]

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Battery Storage Price Index – February 2018

February 26, 2018
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This month we’ve changed up the style of the graphs that we use for our ‘Are We There Yet?’ Meter, and altered them to focus only on the ‘low’ end of the price spectrum. We’ve done this mainly for clarity’s sake but also because average payback periods for batteries are still very long for system […]

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6kW solar systems: Pricing, output, and returns

February 24, 2018
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6kW solar systems are becoming increasingly popular amongst Australian homes thanks to a number of factors, including their affordability and ample size. This article provides an overview of (almost) everything you need to know if you’re considering a 6kW solar system for your household, including pricing, energy yields and their attractiveness as an investment. How […]

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Battery storage: Are Australian households about to charge into market?

February 24, 2018
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The combination of economics, a crucial state political battle, a move to local manufacturing, and soaring grid prices, could finally deliver Australia’s much forecast boom in residential battery storage. According to a recent analysis by Bruce Mountain, a leading Australian energy analyst who heads CME, the combination of a 5kW rooftop solar system and a […]

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Germany’s sonnen to manufacture solar batteries in Adelaide

February 23, 2018
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Leading German battery storage company sonnen has announced plans to establish a battery manufacturing plant in Adelaide, creating more than 400 jobs. Sonnen, which launched its “sonnet-flat” residential battery storage package in Australian in 2016, says it wants to make 50,000 battery storage units in Adelaide over the next five years. That compares to its […]

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30kW commercial solar power systems: Pricing, output, and returns

February 22, 2018
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30kW solar power systems are becoming an increasingly worthwhile and attractive investment for small to medium businesses across Australia, with payback periods in the 3-5 year range in most parts of the country. This article provides an overview of the ranges of prices, energy yields (in kWh), and financial returns that a business may expect […]

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Payback periods for commercial-scale solar PV systems: State by state

February 20, 2018
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There has never been a better time for Australian businesses to invest in commercial solar power. Last year Solar Choice analysed electricity bills & meter data to generate free indicative solar business cases for nearly 300 businesses, ranging from schools to farms to shopping centres to car dealerships to strata units to doctors’ surgeries (to […]

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