Residential


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3.12kw Zever Solar Power

from: $3,850.00

Inverter: Zever Solar 3000 Panels: 12 x 260 watt Hanwha panels Battery Option: SMA Sunnyboy Storage & Makes: 14.4kwhrs/day average On grid ...

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3.3kW Fronius Solar Power System

from: $5,176.00

Inverter: Fronius Primo Panels: 12 x 275watt trina panels Battery Option: T esla powerwall Makes: 14 kwhrs/day average On grid and Off grid Anti ...

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9.8kw LG chem Battery

from: $10,500.00

Includes:
9.8kw LG chem RESU
SMA energy meter
SMA sunnboy storage 2.5
SMA home manger
#requires internet connection in house

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4.4kW Fronius Solar Power System

from: $5,650.00

Inverter: Fronius Primo Panels: 16 x 275 watt Trina Panels Battery Option: T esla powerwall Makes: 20kwhrs/day average On grid and Off grid Anti...

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5.2kw Zever Solar System

from: $5,250.00

Inverter: Zever Solar 5000 Panels:20 x 275 Watt trina panels Battery Option: SMA Sunnyboy Storage Makes: 25 kwhrs/day average On grid and Off g...

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5kW Fronius Solar Power System

from: $6,150.00

Inverter: Fronius Primo Panels: 18 x 275watt Trina Panels Makes: 25kwhrs/day average On grid and Off grid Anti PID: Qualified to Withstand PID (Pote...

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6.05kw Fronius Solar Power System

from: $6,850.00

Inverter: Fronius Primo Panels: 22 x 275 watt Trina Panels Battery Option: T esla powerwall Makes: 29kwhrs/day average On grid and Off grid An...

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8kw Fronius Solar Power System

from: $9,276.00

Inverter: Fronius Primo Three Phase Inverter Panels: 28 x 275 watt Trina Panels Battery Option: T esla powerwall Makes: 36 kwhrs/day average On grid ...

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10kw Fronius Solar Power System

from: $10,692.00

Inverter: Fronius Primo Three Phase Inverter Panels: 36 x 275 watt Trina Panels Battery Option: T esla powerwall Makes: 36 kwhrs/day average On grid ...

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8kw Three Phase Solar Power System

from: $9,692.00

Inverter: Fronius Symo Three Phase Inverter Panels: 28 x 275 watt Trina Panels Battery Option: T esla powerwall Makes: 36 kwhrs/day average On grid a...

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10kW Three Phase Solar Power System

from: $11,169.00

Inverter: Fronius Symo Three Phase Inverter Panels: 36 x 275watt trina panels Battery Option: T esla powerwall Makes: 45 kwhrs/day average On grid an...

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Finance available for the above systems 

Click the logo below for more finance detail within this site

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Ask us for custom sized Solar Panel Power

Systems for your home

 

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Get Ready for a "Battery Storage Revolution" install an Inverter with battery capability: Ask about new battery technology.

Battery Ready Hybrid Talk

!!! CAUTION !!! HYBRID INVERTER Info Here !!!! Please be aware most: All-In-1 Hybrid Inverters will only supply a small amount of power if the Grid is down, they are unable to cope supplying full house loads its due to their low continuous supply amperage  rating & some Hybrids will not function at all without the Grid. If you are a relatively low night time power consumer, or happy to top up the shortfall of demand from the grid there is a few ALL-In-1-Hybrid Inverter solutions that can meet your needs at a reasonable cost point, like the Fronius Symo Hybrid

The Selectronic & SMA Systems we sell (Hybrid Link Above) are serious systems, which make it possible to kiss the grid good bye forever. SMA and Selectronic have been around for many years, supplying power to remote areas around the globe with no grid available. So if you're thinking of getting hybrid / Battery ready now, then investing thousands of dollars later in to batteries please make sure you purchase a quality inverter to charge and protect your battery bank & confirm that the inverter you are buying now can do exactally as you hoped when it comes time to add a Battery Bank Later

 HYBRID PAGE LINK 

If you don't see a particular Brand you want here then just ask us to get you a quote on it, easy as! Here


Advertised Web Pricing Details


Honesty and Integrity is what you get. Our Electrical Company is over 7 Years old.

Rest assured with a top quality installation from the people who own and run the business!

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The not so fine print

  • Price Recent fluctuations in AUD may increase cost seen on web site
  • Price does not include network charges to connect to the grid if your supply authority are charging OR decide to charge for this service in the future. In QLD there is no charge at this point, In VIC charges can range between $160-$340.
  • Travel to 80km included in cost. Charges above $1.50/km
  • Extras are: Tile roof $200, Double Storey$150, Tilt frame $35 per panel.
  • Price does not include meter box or Circuit board upgrades they must be up to current standard 
  • Pricing does not include building structural changes to accommodate the system.
  • Payment: 10% Deposit via C/Card-(no fee) OR Direct Deposit and Balance is due on the day of compeletion of systems installation Credit Card purchase for balance on completion add 1.5% this option only applies to all the above residential packages
  • All Plant for installation is to be installed on the same building and no trenching would be required.
  • You must be eligable to receive the STC rebate STC Rebate Explained 
  • *Finance is provided through a third party, Company is- "Finance My Solar". Weekly repayment finance estimates for approved customers intended as a guide only, all terms over 60 Months up to <$15,000 & 84 Months >$15,000, min amount to be financed is $3,000AUD & bank + establishment fees apply. Price shown does not include financed total out of pocket expense to purchaser. Price shown is total out of pocket expense for purchaser paying by cash. We will arrange Finance My Solar to contact customer independently, if customer verbally agrees to GL Solar passing on their details to Finance My Solar. GL Solar has no bearing on any finance details what so ever. GL Solar is not licensed to give financial advice. It is up to the purchaser to carry out their own independent finance research to find a method of finance that best suits their needs.

 

ROI is based on consuming 1/3% of the energy that a solar system will produce @ 30 cents/kWh-(avg Qld buy in rate) & selling 2/3 back to the grid @ 8cents/kWh (offered by some Qld power retailers) For North facing roofs East West production can be down 10% some months of the year depending on steepness of roof pitch. For smaller systems 1.5kW is based on 2/3 consumption & 1/3 sell back, 2.0kW is based on 50/50% consumption/sell back. See detailed package descriptions from links in Residential Packages Tab

 

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Industry News

 

Explained: The Tesla Powerwall and what it means for Australia's energy market

 

The Powerwall, a lithium-ion battery system designed to store electricity generated from rooftop solar panels, is widely considered to be a game-changer for the electricity industry. 7.30 has asked consumer group Choice to crunch the numbers. Here's what they found.

By 7.30's Andy Park, digital producer Amy Sherden

 

 

 

 

What is the Tesla Powerwall?

 

While the concept of a home battery storage system is not new to Australians, the Tesla Powerwall unit has been highly anticipated.

 

The Powerwall is a 7 kilowatt hour (kWh) lithium-ion-battery system that stores electricity generated from rooftop solar panels (or PV panels) during the day so that electricity can be used at night during the peak-usage times.

 

The system has attracted a cult-like following in recent months after the announcement that Australia would be one of the first countries to have access to it.

 

The first installations of the Tesla Powerwall are now underway and have a 10-year warranty period.

 

How does it work?

 

The battery has a daily cycle, meaning it is designed to charge and discharge each day.

 

The efficiency of the battery is 92 per cent, so although it has a 7kWh capacity, the Powerwall's working capacity is more like 6.4kWh.

 

Tesla also has a 10kWh weekly cycle version intended for back-up applications, but it is the 7kWh version you will see in most home installations.

 

People who already have solar panels will be able to use their own power rather than exporting it to "the grid" — the energy distribution network that carries electricity from power stations to homes and businesses.

 

One of the Australian providers of the Powerwall, Natural Solar, says that there are only two inverters currently on the market which are compatible with the Powerwall, so most existing solar panel owners will need to obtain a new inverter.

 

If you do not already have solar panels, the Powerwall can be purchased as part of a complete system that includes solar panels and an inverter.

 

You will need a solar array large enough to power both your home and charge the Powerwall — for most homes that would mean at least a 4kWh array.

 

How much does it cost?

 

If you already have solar panels, the Powerwall and a compatible inverter will cost you between $12,000 and $12,500 depending on which inverter you choose.

 

Energy companies are selling Powerwall packages for between $13,990 and $16,500 (GST inclusive) and with consideration to rebates for small-scale technology certificates (STCs).

 

Is the Powerwall big enough to take my house off the grid?

 

It depends on your energy needs and the number of people in living in your household, but a 7kWh battery is not going to be enough to make most households independent of the electricity grid.

 

It is possible to install two or more battery units to increase your storage capacity.

 

So what does this mean for the grid?

 

 

 

 

The cost of energy has consistently rated as the top concern for Australian consumersaccording to leading consumer advocacy group Choice.

 

The latest report shows that almost two-thirds of Australians want to be self-sufficient in meeting their energy needs and while battery systems will not give complete independence for most consumers, it does offer a bit more control.

 

Costs of battery storage systems have been falling at a rapid rate and forecasts are for this trend to continue as more and more households adopt them. It is expected that prices will halve again within the next five years.

 

Solar panels have also gotten cheaper, with the Climate Council reporting a 75 per cent drop in price over the past five years.

 

With the global market for solar panels and battery storage expected to grow tenfold by 2020, the demand for battery systems like the Powerwall should have flow-on effects on prices as economies of scale kick in.

 

Even if consumers were able to make themselves independent of the electricity grid, they may benefit from selling their electricity back to it rather than storing it.

 

Companies such as Reposit, an ACT-based start-up, are using the grid's infrastructure to allow people to trade their energy directly on the wholesale market, effectively acting like a mini power station in everybody's backyard.

 

If there was a wholesale defection by consumers it could create what is known as a 'death spiral' in which a smaller and smaller amount of consumers are left on the grid, leaving only those on lower incomes or those unable to afford a Powerwall to carry the cost of running the grid.

 

What is the payback time for the Powerwall?

 

 

 

 

The payback time will be different for every household but in some instances it seems the payback time may well exceed the warranty period for the Powerwall.

 

There are many factors that need to be taken into account when calculating payback times, but you can get a rough estimate if you know your daily energy usage and what percentage of this energy you use during peak and off-peak pricing periods — this information should be available on your energy bill.

 

It is also worthwhile checking if there are any state or even local government rebates available for purchasing solar panels or a battery storage system.

 

The payback time would be less if you already owned a solar panel system, particularly if you are tapping into your own solar power as much as possible, rather than feeding it back into the grid. This would depend on how your feed-in tariff compares to your electricity price.

 

There are a range of factors that can influence the outcome, including increases in electricity retail prices and ongoing maintenance costs, which you might want to factor into your own calculations, but this case study by 7.30 and Choice might help you get a rough idea:

 

Andrew has signed up for an installation of a solar array combined with a Powerwall with Origin. He has a freestanding house in a Western Sydney suburb, where he lives with his wife and two children, aged eight and 10.

 

Andrew's household roughly uses around 38.4kWh of energy per day at a price of 21.81 cents per kWh. Andrew and his wife both work from home part-time, which makes their energy use higher than most households. It also gives them more potential to tap into their own solar energy rather than feeding it to the grid.

 

If Andrew was to install a 4kWh solar array on his roof, he could expect to generate around 15.6 kWh of electricity per day, on average. About 7.5 kWh of this would be required to charge the Powerwall due to inefficiencies with the battery and inverter, which could then be used to offset 6.4 kWh of his energy use during the night when his solar panels are not producing electricity. This would save him $1.40 per day (6.4 kWh x 21.81c).

 

 

 

 

If we assume Andrew did not use the remaining 8.1 kWh of solar energy after charging the Powerwall and fed it back into the grid, this would earn him $0.49 per day with a feed-in tariff of 6 cents per kWh. Together with the savings from using the Powerwall to store electricity for later use, this will give a total saving of $1.88 per day, or around $687 per year. With Origin's total system cost of $16,500, Andrew has a payback time of just over 24 years, or 2.4 times the warranty period.

 

But since Andrew and his wife work from home part-time, this allows them to make the most of their solar panels. If we assume Andrew could use half of his solar electricity remaining after charging his Powerwall every day, then he would lose $0.24 per day in feed-in tariffs but would save an additional $0.88 per day in electricity costs (4.05kWh x 21.81c). This would save him $2.52 per day or close to $921 per year. This equals a payback time of 18 years.

 

Obviously the more solar energy Andrew can use to power his house the better the payback time will be through lower electricity bills. Assuming he managed to tap into all of his solar power by increasing his daytime energy use and charging his Powerwall, Andrew would be saving $3.16 per day (14.5kWh x 21.81c). This would give an annual saving of $1,154 and a payback time of just over 14 years, which is still four years past the Powerwall warranty period.

 

In the case of Andrew, we estimate the $1.88 he would save per day by charging his Powerwall and sending the rest of his solar energy to the grid would give a payback time of close to 17 years, based on Natural Solar's price of $12,000 for the Powerwall and a compatible inverter. If he used half of his solar power he could expect a payback time of around 13 years. Only if he used all of his solar power could he expect a payback time that falls within the Powerwall's warranty period — coming in at 9.7 yearFs.

 

For more consumer information on the Tesla Powerwall, check out the Choice website.

 

LG Chem pushes Australian battery storage prices further down the curve

 

 

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One Step Off The Grid

The competition in the nascent battery storage market continues to intensify, with South Korean appliance manufacturers LG Chem launching a new 6.4kWh battery storage system that approaches the key $1,000/kWh mark.

The new battery storage system is being made available to consumers in the next few weeks, and follows the release into the Australian market of AU Optronics, promoted by AGL Energy, and rival offerings from Samsung,  Enphase, Panasonic and SMA.

But the LG Chem system is already bringing costs down at the top end of the market – matching the assumed pricing of the much vaunted Tesla Powerwall, with the advantage that it is actually in the market.

LG’s Chem Residential Energy Storage Unit (RESU) 6.4kWhr battery is similar in size, shape and capacity, to the Tesla offering, and is expected to last 15 to 20 years, or at least 6,000 cycles. It is being offered in Australia at $A6,898. The first supplies have arrived in Australia via wholesalers Solar Juice.

LG Chem, in its blurb to installers, says it expect the units to have a retail price of a bit more than $1000 per kW/h ex GST plus inverter solution. “The cost curve will come down over time,” it says.

The units can be upgraded to a total of 12.8kWh with 3.2kWh expansion units. LG Chem says these are expected to be slightly more than 50% of the RESU 6.4Ex price.

Jeff Wehl, from Brisbane-based Ecoelectric, says the technology will easily defy grid costs with a typical cost per kWhr of around 15 cents over 15 years.

He says that a combined package of 5kW of solar panels (Trina), a 6.4kWh LG Chem System, and the associated SMA inverter and home energy mamagement systems will be offered for around $24,000. That equates to electricity at 18c/kWh – well below grid costs (although not including the network connection).

It’s an offering that would suit large power consumers (say 25kWh a day). But the end result is they will use all the power the solar system produces and import as little as 1kWh a day.

“The big difference for Australia is that LG’s unit is available now and it’s certification for use with many inverters is known,” Wehl says of the competition with Tesla and other manufacturers.

“Tesla’s (offering) is sold out until at least mid-2016 and many questions remain about how it can be effectively integrated with grid and renewable energy sources.”

Wehl says the LG Chem RESU can be used as both a hybrid and or off-grid solution and allows for high output with extremely long life spans, which are backed by trusted warranties.

Markus Lambert, from LG Solar, says  another important development with the advent of cost effective battery storage market is the rising efficiency in solar modules.

Until recently, the standard module would have a capacity of 250 or 270 watts. This is now increase to 320 watts and 350 watts and will soon get to 400watts.

That means that while most Australian households had natural size limitations of around 5kW for their arrays, the potential was there to go far beyond that.

“There is value to the roof space.” That will be critical in  adding battery storage to account for much of the house’s electricity needs, and to ensure the solar system can meet the demands of a plug in electric vehicle.

“EVs only make sense if driven by renewables,” he says. “So people will look at solar and storage for electric cars. So the rooftop now has to provide for consumption in day, and at night, and for the electric car,

And while he says the battery storage market is still in its “early adopter” phase and the pricing is not ready for the mass market, ther is room for large reductions in price as volumes drive competition and efficiencies.

This article was originally published on our sister site, One Step Off The Grid. To sign up for the OSOTG newsletter, please click here.


 

  • For big. For small. For all. Easy to use, reliable and affordable photovoltaic inverters for everybody.

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  • Getting access to solar power has never been so easy. But if you need help, just get in touch.

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Energy for everybody.

 

We are driven by the idea of a solar-power revolution. By creating reliable, affordable and easy-to-use solar inverters for all kinds of PV systems, we are revolutionizing access to solar power and bringing energy to everybody. To accomplish our revolution, we combine the best of two worlds: Chinese efficiency and German quality standards.

ABOUT ZEVERSOLAR

Residential Inverters

We have developed single- and three-phase solar string inverters with high efficiencies and maximum reliability for domestic solar power systems. Since our inverters have nominal powers from 1 to 10 kilowatts, different topologies and single or dual MPPT inputs, every installer and distributor can find the inverter that suits his needs and requirements best!

RESIDENTIAL INVERTERS

Commercial Inverters

Economically priced and with efficiencies of up to 98 percent and more, our three-phase solar string inverters are the perfect choice for social housing, communities and investment companies. With nominal powers from 4 to 33 kilowatts, multiple MPP tracking and a robust IP65 outdoor casing, the inverters match the needs of all types of commercial solar power plants.

COMMERCIAL INVERTERS

Industrial Inverters

Our three-phase central inverters are the ideal solution for large solar power plants. We have developed them in particular for the Chinese photovoltaic market. We offer a 500-kilowatt central inverter for indoor use and a megawatt station for outdoor installations. Our customers can rely on an efficient and reliable conversion of current and can expect a high return on investment, even for the most ambitious projects!

INDUSTRIAL INVERTERS

Software & Monitoring

Our software and monitoring tools will help you to design and monitor your solar power system effectively. With our planning software, you will be able to choose the right combination of products at your specific location to ensure the most efficient design. With our monitoring solutions, you will be able to control the performance of your photovoltaic system, manage the grid feed-in and recognize technical faults quickly.

SOFTWARE & MONITORING


 

Solar Battery Storage Kit - LG Chem 6.4KWh  &  SMA  Sunny Island

 

This kit contains:

 

LG Chem 6.4KWh
1 x Sunny Island 3.0M
1 x Sunny Remote Control (SRC-20)
1 x Sunny Island Speedwire Piggyback (SWDMSI-NR10)
1 x Sunny Home Manager (HM-BT-10)
1 x SMA Energy Meter (EMETER-10)
1 x Comms Cable

 

 

 

LG Chem Battery 6.3kWh (RESU 6.4 EX)

LG Chem’s RESU 6.4 EX with 144Wh/l brings storage solutions  to Australia at an affordable price and a top class quality

Compact Size & Light Weight

The increase in power density, from 36Wh/l to 144Wh/l, enabled an  ultra-compact, ultra-lightweight battery to be designed. The compact  size makes the RESU 6.4 EX easy to handle

Expandable System

The RESU 6.4.EX allows for expansion with two 3.2 kWh modules so  you can have a 6.4 kWh or 9.6 kWh or even 12.8 kWh system. With such  flexibility it is a great solution for households of many sizes.

Installation Friendly

The RESU 6.4 EX can be installed indoors and the unit can be mounted  on sturdy walls easily.

 Sunny Island 3.0M

Flexible

  • For new and existing PV plants
  •  For single-phase and three-phase systems from 2kW to 13kW
Efficient
  • Maximum efficiency greater than 95%
  •  Easy commissioning and installation
Safe and Reliable
  •  High degree of protection IP 54
  •  Reliable operation thanks to high overload capacity
Robust
  • Long battery life thanks to intelligent battery management
  •  Suitable for use at any location thanks to robust design and increased temperature range

Sunny Remote Control SRC-20

  • Additional remote for each system
  • One SRC-20 per cluster system
  • Easy to use control and visualization unit
  • Data logging maximum 2GB
  • Up to 20 m distance via RJ45 path cable, possible to extend with network switch or booster
  • Showing system status, battery SOC and faults before it is too late 

Sunny Home Manager

  • Innovative – Limiting of active power feed-in (zero export control)
  • Easy-to-Use – Plug & play commissioning and free standard access to Sunny Portal
  • Transparent – Overview of all electric energy flows in the home
  • Flexible – Easily combinable with SMA Smart Home components
  • Intelligent – Recommendations to turn on loads based on previous load profile and weather data . Automatic load control possible with Plugwise Home Automation

SMA Energy Meter

  • High performance - 3-phase reading, bidirectional meter with SMA Speedwire interface for 3-/1-phase measuring with measurement balancing over the 3 phases
  • Support of current transformers for application >63 A
  • Standard Ethernet cable for fast Speedwire communication
  • Flexible - Compact housing with top hat rail mounting
  • Easily and flexibly combined with SMA Smart Home components
  • Easy-to-Use - Quick plug and play installation and graphic Visualisation of current measurement data in SUNNY PORTAL


20 energy storage disruptors

  • Jun 15, 2016
  •  
  •  5

By Andy Colthorpe

 

Andy Colthorpe and Ben Willis profile some of the companies and technologies making waves in the fast-changing world of stationary energy storage, in a feature article which originally appeared in the seventh issue of PV Tech Power. To be emailed every issue of PV Tech Power first, and a host of other benefits, sign-up for a free PV Tech Essential membership today.

20 energy storage disruptors

Disruptive scale? Tesla's Gigafactory. Image: Tesla, cropped by Andy Colthorpe.

The term disruptor is thrown around a lot these days in a world rapidly facing digitisation and the fight to stay relevant is becoming ever more competitive in energy storage. While technological breakthroughs are always exciting, to paraphrase an old saying, there’s a lot that can go wrong between filling a cup with liquid and putting it to your lips. In the race to commercialise technologies and business models for a mass market still in its infancy, the real disruptors in energy storage aren’t just in the lab, they are making a real difference in houses, commercial buildings and on and off the grid.

We have carefully selected 20 such technology and service providers for this feature, with commentaries by energy storage market analysts Logan Goldie-Scot at Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and Brett Simon of GTM Research.

“When assessing new companies, we are not looking for great ideas which are simply impossible to implement or are ahead of their time,” Goldie-Scot says. “We are looking for companies that are currently addressing big opportunities, with innovative solutions and have proven track records.

“One way of assessing them is by looking at potential to scale, innovation and momentum. Many energy storage technology companies are clearly innovative but have yet to show they can scale, and momentum is often lacking. The ones that tick all these boxes are incredibly impressive.”

Company: Redflow. Technology: ZCell

The world’s first residential flow battery seemed a surreal proposition to some but the device received its real-world launch in late March. Australian company Redflow is targeting its domestic market for solar self-consumption.

Falling feed-in tariffs (FiTs) and high energy prices are making behind-the-meter storage an increasingly attractive proposition. Australian tech entrepreneur Simon Hackett’s company believes flow batteries, considered too bulky for residential applications in other countries, could work Down Under, where population density is considerably lower than most developed nations.

Prior to the launch of the household system, Z Cell, which comes with a standard 10kWh of energy storage, Redflow focused on “off-grid and fringe-of-grid applications”, GTM Research’s Brett Simon says. Flow battery technology still needs to be proven, according to Simon.

“The release of a first residential flow battery is fascinating but I am not yet convinced that it will displace lithium-ion in that segment,” Logan Goldie-Scot at BNEF says, adding that while flow batteries can be effective in longer duration storage applications, the more lucrative applications are shorter duration, making commercialisation a tricky task.

20 energy storage disruptors

Redflow's founder is Aussie tech entrepreneur Simon Hackett. Image: Redflow.

Company: Tesla. Technology: Powerwall and Powerpack

US EV manufacturer Tesla’s debut play in the stationary storage sphere needs little introduction. The company’s CEO Elon Musk announced the Tesla Powerwall and Powerpack products to an expectant public in 2015, since when the hype has shown little signs of going away.

Available for residential, commercial and utility-scale applications, Tesla claims its products raise the bar on cost-competitiveness by virtue of the production scale it expects to achieve at its Nevada Gigafactory. Some have questioned the trumpeted price advantages, particularly for the Powerwall, claiming that total system costs are much higher than Tesla admits.

“Tesla has historically installed a significant number of systems in California, and Tesla expects substantial cost reductions once the Gigafactory reaches scale, though it remains to be seen if Tesla can actually deliver on these claims. Nevertheless, other battery vendors are projecting similar cost trajectories, and it remains to be seen how well Tesla will compete against established vendors,” says GTM’s Simon.

 Company: Sonnen. Technology: SonnenCommunity

Germany’s market leader in residential energy storage with more than 10,000 systems sold, Sonnen has quickly identified that commoditisation of battery storage could impose aggressive competition on providers. The company’s goal is to be seen as an energy services provider as well hardware vendor.

After running a series of trials including aggregated virtual power plants in its homeland, Sonnen last November launched perhaps its most daring and innovative ‘product’, SonnenCommunity. The scheme lets Sonnen battery system owners – and non-system hosts who can join for a fee – trade the surplus energy in their systems, using the grid as a virtual large-scale battery.

“[The] SonnenCommunity platform offers an intriguing opportunity for customers to trade electricity with one another, though this programme is still in its early stages,” Simon says. This makes the company one of the few “pioneers” of aggregating behind-the-meter residential storage, adds Goldie-Scot says. Both Goldie-Scot and Simon say that it will be interesting to see if Sonnen can and will take the idea to other markets it is active in such as North America and Australia.

Company: S&C Electric. Technology: PureWave

S&C Electric’s family of energy storage-management systems, PureWave, offers solutions from 25kW up 100MW for commercial, utility and off-grid applications.

The company has been involved in some significant pioneering trials around the globe, allowing it to gain valuable experience proving the case for storage in a variety of settings. These include a project in Texas that links four separate micro-grids and a variety of generation source, including PV, as well storage. The company has also built one of the largest battery projects in Europe to date, a 6MW/10MWh system in the UK.

“S&C has so far been focusing on larger systems, and recently completed a 7 MW project with Half Moon Ventures in the Town of Minster, Ohio which will provide multiple services including frequency regulation in the PJM market, T&D deferral, power quality improvement, and peak demand shaving,” says GTM’s Simon.

Company: Panasonic. Technology: Smart Towns

A new Zero Energy Homes (ZEH) standard will be mandatory from 2020 in Japan, where as many as 1 million new houses are built annually. Tesla’s Gigafactory competitor-collaborator Panasonic and other Japanese firms have long been selling complete kits for residential PV customers, adding storage as backup or self-consumption solutions more recently.

Panasonic is even engineering, designing and building its own ‘smart town’ near Yokohama. The company’s next gen home PV offerings will also include management systems to enable trading of power. While this is still an early-stage function, Japan’s electricity market is in an ongoing process of liberalisation which extended to retail sales in April.

Panasonic is already one of the world’s biggest battery vendors, Simon says, with production volume giving it an “edge in battery cost”. “Smart Home is still a young concept, but may offer additional opportunities for residential energy storage,” he says, also referencing recent activities by the company in solar-plus-storage for homebuilding companies in Canada.

Goldie-Scot meanwhile says that although Panasonic is trialling residential storage with utilities in Australia, “it is not clear it is proactively pushing into the [residential storage] market as quickly as some competitors”.

20 energy storage disruptors

Panasonic's Fujisawa Smart Town. Image: Panasonic.

Company: NGK Insulators. Technology: NaS Battery

Japanese firm NGK Insulators was an early mover in the storage business through its sodium-sulphur (NaS) battery and has around 3GWh installed worldwide now, including the world’s largest battery system in Japan. Sodium-sulphur is a form of molten salt technology that is particularly suited long-duration applications.

Despite the early toehold the company has gained, lithium-ion batteries appear to be the latest technology of choice for grid-scale storage projects, according to a recent study from Lux Research. Meanwhile, flow batteries are also waiting in the wing as an alternative long-duration technology.

BNF’s Goldie-Scot says: “Between 2007 and 2010, NGK had 66% market share for stationary energy storage. However, it has only won a couple of projects recently, albeit large ones such as the 35MW-280MWh project in Italy for Terna. If flow batteries are able to scale up effectively, this will pose a major challenge to NGK which has long been the only available option for customers looking for long-duration energy storage systems.

 Company: Sunverge. Technology: Solar Integration System

While others have also trialled virtual power plant (VPP) functions for aggregated residential behind-the-meter storage, US company Sunverge has made headlines for related activities that include attracting significant investment – around US$20 million – from Australia’s biggest utility, AGL, in the first quarter of this year.

CEO of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), Ivor Frischknecht, said the partnership “will accelerate the roll out of a state-of-the art grid integrated battery storage solution to Australia’s large household storage market”.

The company executed its first VPP project in Canada earlier this year, in which the technology’s capabilities in reducing peak demand, providing frequency response and other services to the network will be trialled in 20 houses. These will be able to ‘time shift’ their solar energy for the Powerstream project in Ontario, which applies time-of-use pricing to residential customers.

“These [virtual power plant] projects are in the early stages, but the results may offer new business models for utilities and additional opportunities to provide grid services with aggregated behind-the-meter storage,” Simon says.

BNEF’s Logan Goldie-Scot meanwhile says AGL’s strategic investment into Sunverge “could position it well in Australia as well [as the US]”.

Company: Aquion. Technology: Aqueous Hybrid Ion battery

Aquion’s Aqueous Hybrid Ion battery uses sodium-ion technology (essentially saltwater) and is claimed to be one of the cleanest batteries on the market. Aside from flow and NaS-based batteries, Aquion’s is another technology that sits firmly in the long-duration camp.

The company has been particularly successful in securing early-stage funding to develop its technology and is targeting a cost of US$160 per kWh when it eventually scales up production. However, without only a few significant deployments under its belt, the jury is still out whether it Aquion will fulfil its early promise.

“Aquion continues to attract VCPE funding and has secured nearly US$200m to date. The company remains very early stage though and has only deployed a small number of relatively small projects,” says Goldie-Scot.

Simon adds: “Aquion’s technology has typically been deployed in markets where electricity prices are high, such as a project under development in Puerto Rico. Aquion’s aqueous battery technology still has only a handful of commercial deployments. Aquion has significant cost reduction goals.”

20 energy storage disruptors

Aquion's AHI battery. Image: Aquion Energy.

Company: Green Charge Networks. Technology: Greenstation

Anticipating the now seemingly inevitable growth of EVs and fast DC chargers at commercial premises like supermarkets, municipal facilities and hotels, Silicon Valley’s Green Charge Networks is using energy storage to mitigate demand spikes from EV charging in its home state of California and elsewhere.

The company looks to be building up scale quickly. It has a partnership with ChargePoint, which has over 22,000 EV chargers in operation, a manufacturing deal with Flextronics and works with US utility Duke Energy and REC Solar. It is also among those repurposing ‘2nd life’ EV batteries with Nissan.

French utility company Engie (formerly EDF Suez) acquired an 80% stake in Green Charge in May.

“This is the first major utility deal for a majority stake in an energy storage company to date,” Goldie-Scot says of the Engie acquisition, adding that while Green Charge’s ‘no upfront cost’ model is capital intensive, being bought out Engie will give it a US$10 billion balance sheet to lean on. Goldie-Scot believes Green Charge has about 48MWh of storage deployed or under construction.

“It’s shared savings model can make storage for peak demand management attractive for customers with particular loads and in markets with the right tariff structure,” Simon adds.

Company: ViZN. Technology: Zinc-iron flow battery

ViZn is another producer looking to make its mark in the long-duration flow battery market. Its technology, based on zinc-iron chemistry, is available in various configurations, and is aimed larger scale end of the market, for utility, micro-grid and off-grid applications such as mining. The company recently took a big step forward in proving out its technology when it was chosen to supply a 2MW/6MWh grid-balancing system in Ontario Canada.

“Flow batteries are an emerging technology, and still need proof of commercial bankability,” says GTM’s Simon. “As costs fall, the technology may become more appealing for long-duration (3+ hour) applications. ViZn’s flow battery technology is a non-acid medium, which aims to eliminate the pump and component erosion found in other flow batteries and thus improve lifecycle system costs and performance. ViZn has a strategic manufacturing partnership with Jabil.”

Goldie-Scot adds:  “This company is in a similar boat to Aquion: it has attracted a fair amount of investment but has yet to have a meaningful impact on the market.”

Company: Ideal Power. Technology: Sundial

Having made its name as a provider of power converters, including acting as equipment provider to Sharp’s US commercial storage offerings, targeting China’s C&I sector and supplying 125kWh magnetic power converters for large-scale projects, Ideal Power has also now launched Sundial, an all-in-one inverter tailored to be integral to solar-plus-storage solutions for businesses.

SunDial is a fully isolated PV string inverter with an integrated PV combiner, disconnects and a built-in Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT). The product is aimed at the commercial sector and comes in a 30kW model, using the company’s patented Power Packet Switching Architecture.

“[Sundial is] a solar PV string inverter which includes the option to add a bi-directional component to allow for energy storage integration, offering the option to install energy storage upfront or later as a retrofit to an existing solar PV system,” GTM’s Simon says.

“The multiport conversion system offers greater opportunities for solar-plus-storage, and shows an acknowledgement of a future behind-the-meter market where pairing storage with solar PV becomes common.”

20 energy storage disruptors

Ideal Power's power converters undergoing testing at the US National Renewable Energy Lab. Image: NREL.

Company: RES. Technology: RESolve

Multi-disciplinary renewables engineering firm, RES, has become one of the early movers in constructing large-scale storage projects, with 88MW under its belt already and another 200MW under development.

At the heart of the projects it undertakes is its proprietary ‘RESolve’ control system, which integrates the energy storage unit with the renewable generation source, and both of those with the grid. RESolve has been designed to allow the overall system to offer a variety of grids protection and support services and thus to benefit from multiple revenue streams.

“RES has built up significant experience with projects in 10 or so different areas, across a number of applications relying on multiple revenue streams,” says Goldie-Scot. “This experience will no doubt prove very valuable for future projects.

“The RESolve platform has mostly been applied for frequency regulation applications thus far, but is being utilised for other applications in a few project,” adds Simon.

 Company: Younicos. Technology: YCube

One of the trailblazers in software-based battery management to enable multiple applications, the German-US company grew out of a research lab rooted in Germany’s solar and wind industries.

The first company authorised to provide primary frequency control with batteries in Europe, Younicos has executed numerous utility-scale grid services projects in Germany. The company has also launched its own range of hardware: the Y.Cube is a plug-and-play system that combines a lithium-ion battery with Younicos’ power conversion system.

“The Y.Cube plug-and-play [integrated power converter and storage] system can work with multiple technologies and is modular,” GTM’s Simon says.

While Logan Goldie-Scot agrees that Younicos has been another leading-edge company, it faces a battle to remain at the front of the pack as the industry ramps up.

“Younicos is one of the leading energy storage software providers and system integrators. It has struggled to compete for some of the larger tenders recently though, losing out to integrated solutions providers and developers such as AES, RES and Invenergy that have their own software platforms.”

Company: Saft. Technology: Intensium li-ion battery

French company Saft made the news recently when it agreed to a US$1 billiion buyout from oil and gas giant Total.

Prior to the acquisition, the company had involved in various trial projects around the world, supplying its lithium-ion batteries to a number of projects focusing on renewable integration in remote areas, such as islands, where electricity prices are high. Projects include a 1.2 MW installation for a remote community in Alaska, a system for renewable integration at the Anahola solar PV plant in Hawaii, and a recently awarded contract for 10MW of energy storage in Puerto Rico.

BNEF’s Goldie-Scot says of the deal: “This is the largest ever M&A deal for an energy-storage provider. Within energy storage, only a few deals for battery-materials suppliers have surpassed it. Despite this, the acquisition is unlikely to disrupt the sector significantly. Total will gain a foothold in the market but the company will not go head-to-head against larger manufacturers, such as LG Chem, Samsung SDI, Tesla and Panasonic, in terms of volumes.

20 energy storage disruptors

Saft's project for the remote community of Colville Lake, Canada. Image: Saft.

 Company: AES. Technology: Advancion

AES’ Advancion system is designed to function as an alternative to peaker power plants, providing grid support at times of high demand. The fourth generation of the Advancion was unveiled at the end of 2015, offering greater power density and introducing the ‘Advancion Node’, a new modular building block for its storage systems.

AES is expanding internationally with projects underway in the UK, Netherlands and Chile. It recently said it was looking to add the Philippines, India and the Dominican Republic to that list by the end of the year. AES operates one of the largest battery storage fleets of any company worldwide, with some 384MW of assets operational.

“AES is moving towards greater standardisation with the Advancion platform, which is likely to lead to reduced costs and faster deployment times,” says Simon. “AES’ partnerships with leading battery manufacturers also give it an edge in terms of all-in system pricing.”

Company: AMS Technology: Hybrid Electric Buildings

It seems likely recent investors like Arnold Schwarzenegger have faith that Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) CEO Susan Kennedy understands issues driving the US market – Kennedy was once chief of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), with ever-increasing distributed generation on its networks.

As well as a large-scale portfolio that includes a 3.5MW project for a water treatment plant in California, the company is targeting the distributed grid market with aggregated commercial storage installations that also serve utility functions. The company is likely to get its chance to build further experience with a 50MW award of mandated behind-the-meter storage under long-term capacity contracts from utility Southern California Edison (SCE).

AMS claimed it could be purchasing up to 500MWh of Tesla Powerpacks, so confident was AMS in the technology’s suitability, Kennedy said.

“Advanced Microgrid Solutions pursues a hybrid approach, deploying a portfolio of projects across multiple customers’ sites which can be leveraged to provide grid services for local utilities while also providing services to building owners such as demand charge management,” GTM’s Brett Simon says.

“It remains to be seen whether Engie’s acquisition of Green Charge Networks will impact AMS, since the utility is also an investor in the latter company,” Goldie-Scot says.

Company: Greensmith. Technology: GEMS IV

A big winner in the early-stage US market of 2014 with as much as a third of 61.9MW deployed at grid scale and behind the meter that year utilising its control platform, GEMS, Greensmith appeared to keep pace with the market, with the software-driven system now in its fourth version.

Announcing some big grid-scale wins in 2015, the company attracted investment from E.On at the end of the year.

While the company provides turnkey systems, it also provides software-as-a-service. This emphasis on software extends to interactive storage modelling and forecasting tools included as part of the GEMS IV platform. Greensmith claimed to have reached a 70MW “milestone” in deployments at the beginning of April.

“Energy management software provides opportunities to maximise value of energy storage.[Greensmith is] Involved in several utility-scale projects in the US where [its] software has been applied for multiple applications, across different technologies,” GTM’s Simon says.

“The company has developed a good reputation for being a leader in energy storage software and integration,” Logan Goldie-Scot confirms. “Although its activity has been limited to the US, it’s been involved in some fascinating projects and has an impressive range of solutions spanning multiple applications.”

20 energy storage disruptors

Greensmith provides turnkey systems, including frequency response projects, but emphasises the importance of software in its overall value proposition. Image: Greensmith.

Company: Geli. Technology: Internet of Energy

Growing Energy Labs Inc (GELI) is one of the few pureplay software providers finding a foothold in the US market.

It is debatable whether Geli is the first to coin’ Internet of Energy’ as a phrase, but the company uses it to describe its software and networking solutions for energy storage. It has caught the market’s imagination enough to attract US$7 million of investment from Shell Technology Ventures (STV) in April.

Geli has also been awarded a grant from the US Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) to control more than 100 distributed energy assets and demonstrate an automated transactive energy market. It also has a partnership with solar inverter maker Tabuchi Electric and a four-way tie up with global electrical supplies specialist Gexpro, LG Chem and Ideal Power.

“Geli’s partnership with Gexpro positions them to have greater behind-the-meter opportunities as Gexpro increases its energy storage activities,” Simon says.

“Geli stands out from other software companies in that it is explicitly a pureplay software company, and is looking to license that software to others, or to enable customers to use its online tools to inform their decisions,” Goldie-Scot says.

Company: Enphase. Technology: AC battery

Much was made over possible rivalry between Enphase and Tesla as both did their best to build up anticipation for their entry into the residential battery market. After a wait-and-see 2015, Enphase’s battery for home systems, which comes in a modular 1.2kWh design, is now available for installers to order in Australia and New Zealand.

Priced at around AU$1,150/kWh (US$838/kWh), the bi-directional device’s AC coupled configuration means it can be retrofitted to existing solar systems and installed in just over an hour and a half, the company claims.

With lithium iron phosphate battery materials supplied by Japan’s Eliiy Power, it comes with a 10-year warranty and is expected to launch in the US late this year before a rollout to selected European markets in 2017.

“Enphase announced a trial project with SA Power Networks in Australia at the end of 2015 to gain insights on how energy storage can be utilised for load management and explore new business models for utilities,” GTM’s Simon says, adding that the company “may have the opportunity to pursue energy storage offerings for existing solar PV customers using Enphase products”.

Company: Nissan & Eaton. Technology:  V2G and 2nd life EV batteries

One of several partnerships exploring the repurposing of second life EV batteries, Japanese car company Nissan’s partnership with engineering giant Eaton on second life batteries and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) is notable for the scale its participants could achieve.

In addition to a technology partnership which has developed a control centre for dispatchable behind-the-meter energy storage resources, the pair is launching xStorage, a residential storage system for the UK. While there are potential drawbacks to using second life batteries, such as the unpredictability of remaining life span, the units could be sold as cheaply as US$4,500 for a 4.2kWh battery repurposed from Nissan’s popular LEAF EVs.

The range of major announcements from their collaboration so far is completed with a trial of vehicle-to-grid technology in Britain. Owners of 100 LEAFs and electric goods vehicles would be able to sell surplus electricity from their vehicles into the grid.

Honourable mentions

In addition to the above list, there are hundreds of companies doing exciting things, either from a technical or business point of view. Some of those include Stem, which was another big winner in California’s utility mandates and operates on a similar basis to AMS in providing both behind- and front-of-meter benefits. SimpliPhi Energy, a provider of off-grid systems which came out of the movie business, supplying energy solutions to location shoots, now claims to have dealt with thermal runaway in lithium batteries. Ultracapacitor maker Skeleton Tech has been one of the recent big magnets for VC cash. A small German company, ASD Sonnenspeicher, claims to have developed a system for placing stationary storage batteries in parallel circuits, allowing for simple scalability, while US start-up 24M has been pinpointed by some analysts as having what looks like an effective, energy-dense variation on lithium battery chemistry in pre-commercialisation stages. Meanwhile, for all the excitement over next-gen batteries and growth in the US market for them, North America’s most used energy storage provider is Trojan, maker of advanced lead acid devices. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Delta Electronics New RPI Home Series 5kW Inverter 

  • Duel MPPT to suit 2 different roof orientations
  • Solid Di-Cast Aluminium Construction (Gecko Proof)
  • Standard 10 Year Warranty
  • Web Monitoring App for Android & I Phone
  • 40+ year old company
  • Great product & well priced
    Data Sheet Here pdf will open in new blank window
New Delta RPI 5kW 1.jpg New Delta RPI 5kW 2.jpg New Delta RPI 5kW 3 .jpgDelta Logo.png

 

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Solar and wind surge while demand slumps

Electricity consumption in the National Electricity Market (NEM) states continues to fall. Consumption for the first six months of 2013 was 2.5 per cent lower than the same time last year. On a financial year basis electricity consumption was 2.6 per cent lower in the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months ending June 30, 2012

Read More: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/7/3/energy-markets/solar-and-wind-surge-while-demand-slumps#ixzz2Ydm2CAsP


Conergy files for insolvency as solar crisis deepens

German solar group Conergy has filed for insolvency, putting about 800 jobs at risk and becoming the latest casualty in an industry battered by overcapacity, plunging prices and a trade dispute between Europe and China.

Once Europe's largest solar company, Conergy has been fighting for months to secure fresh investment and a deal with its creditors, and earlier this week it had looked close to an agreement.

Read More:  http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2013/7/8/solar-energy/conergy-files-insolvency-solar-crisis-deepens


 

Mercedes Benz set to launch home battery storage in Australia

Australia’s burgeoning residential battery storage market is set to have yet another contender come September, with the release of a modular 2.5kWh lithium-ion product by prestige car maker Mercedes Benz.

Mercedes Benz Australia plans to unveil the home battery storage offering at its Melbourne headquarters in Mulgrave, along with an on-site four-car charging station, made up of the lithium-ion battery packs and solar panels.

Aus dem Auto ans Netz: Mercedes-Benz Energiespeicher eignen sich auch für die private Nutzung zur verlustfreien Zwischenspeicherung von überschüssigem Strom. / From cars to power grids: Mercedes-Benz energy storages are also suitable for private use to buffer surplus power virtually free of any losses.

The plan is for the company to sell the batteries to customers as a package with rooftop solar – the cost per 2.5kWh battery unit has not yet been released – through an as-yet unnamed “electricity retailer” partner.

According to Mercedes Benz German parent company, Daimler, up to eight 2.5kWh modules can be combined to make a capacity of up to 20kWh, allowing solar households to “buffer surplus… power with virtually no losses,” and increase their self-consumption to as much as 65 per cent.

The batteries have been available on the German market – where they are also sold as packages with solar by a network of sales partners – since April of this year, and according to the website have generated “tremendous interest” and numerous orders.

The move into the Australian residential energy storage market, says Mercedes head of corporate communications David McCarthy, is a natural progression, and goes hand in hand with the roll-out of electric cars: Mercedes is releasing three new plug-in hybrid EV models in Australia in July.

It also puts Mercedes into direct competition with fellow prestige EV maker, Tesla, whose 7kWh Powerwall battery was released to much fanfare in Australia in December last year.

Daimler startet Auslieferung von Mercedes-Benz Energiespeichern für Privathaushalte / Daimler starts deliveries of Mercedes-Benz energy storage units for private homes

 

“The future says this is one of the directions that people are going to want go in,” McCarthy told One Step Off The Grid on Wednesday. “It’s not enough to charge your car… people who are buying a plug-in hybrid want to know where the energy is coming from and have the ability to generate the energy and store it.”

In terms of demand for the Mercedes home battery, McCarthy said that the level of interest being shown in Australia indicated they might move a few hundred a year, but that it was “unchartered territory”, so difficult to predict.

As for EV demand, McCarthy concedes that numbers are still small in Australia, and will take a while yet to build, but that stationary storage will help move this along.

“It will take a while… for EVS to sell in greater numbers,’ McCarthy told One Step. “Incentives are only one of the issues …and where the power comes from that charges the cars is another – and this is our solution to that problem.

“A customer who wants to buy a package (EV, battery and solar) can do so,” McCarthy said. “Depending on how much you want [in kWh] it’ll be enough to charge your car, or run your house too, or even feed back into the grid. So it depends what level you want to go to.”

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Australia's future 'lies in solar power'

When people think of solar power, the panels on rooftops, known as photovoltaics, come to mind.
But experts say Australia's future lies in solar thermal. SBS' reporter PJ Madam reports.

In Canberra, giant 'dishes' covered in mirrors, soak up the sun. They're the biggest in the world. 

One dish can power 100 homes. Imagine what a whole field could do. The reflection makes it hot enough to cook. On the dish itself, it's 900 degrees. 

Read More: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1135832/Australias-future-lies-in-solar-power


New Solar Thermal Plant being built near Dalby QLD 27/6/13

Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project

Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project (KCSBP) is the largest solar thermal project in the southern hemisphere.

The $104.7 million project will incorporate solar thermal technology into CS Energy's Kogan Creek Power Station near Dalby in south west Queensland.

The solar thermal addition is expected to increase the station's capacity by up to 44 megawatts under peak solar conditions and improve plant fuel efficiency.

http://www.dews.qld.gov.au/energy-industry/renewable-energy/projects/kogan-creek-solar-boost-project


 

Some general solar purchasing advice..

Our free Solar Consumer Guide download explains in detail how a solar power system works, including diagrams, and what you should consider when making a purchase decision.

The following is just some general advice regarding some of the traps and pitfalls you should bear in mind when searching for a solar provider.

New technology, but old wisdom applies

Shopping for a solar power system and choosing a solar installer can be an exciting time for many people, but as with any investment, you’ll need to be careful who you deal with.

Like in any industry, the solar power sector has its share of unscrupulous parties who have little interest in the technology, environmental benefits and your needs. They are only chasing your money – and they’ll be ruthless in doing so. Basically, the old saying “if a deal sounds too good to be true, it most likely is” applies very much to purchasing a solar power system.

Avoid becoming a solar PV horror story

We’ve been in the solar power industry for some years and during that time, we’ve heard countless horror stories from customers regarding some vendors and solar installers; everything from leaking roofs after installations have been performed to householders going into debt for decades.

As a public service, we’ve decided to publish some of the common tricks, traps, cons and scams so you can avoid them.

Are we chasing your business? Of course! But as a renewable energy leader in Australia that is truly passionate about solar energy, Energy Matters also firmly believes our industry needs to adhere to the highest ethical standards – it ensures protection for the consumer and a more level playing field for those of us involved in the solar sector.

Learn more – Download our full Solar Consumer Guide now.

Beware of fast talking sales people

Like shopping for a new car, be wary of over-exuberance on a sales person’s part. In some instances, this may be just genuine passion bubbling over, but in others, the sales person won’t understand what they are selling; instead focusing on hype to get you to sign on the dotted line – and boost their commission.

If a question hasn’t been answered properly or has been deflected, pursue a satisfactory response. In some cases, you may be better off just walking away and finding a company that will answer your questions – the first time.

High pressure tactics

Every company uses terms like “deal ending soon”, “hurry before stocks run out” – it’s just the accepted language of marketing. However, some companies  may state the offer they are touting is ending the same day – even when that isn’t noted on any of their literature or web site.

Ethical sales people will not place you under this type of pressure given the size of the investment if this is an initial enquiry and they’ve established you’re not overly familiar with solar power concepts or are confused.

Demand time to think things over and research or at least be clear on the cooling off period if you decide to sign on the dotted line. Better still, if you come under this sort of pressure, see it as an indication of what the company is like and avoid them altogether.

Home assessments

In years gone by, a home assessment could be a very desirable thing. However, not only has solar PV technology evolved, so have assessment methods thanks to powerful tools such as Google Earth that can zoom in on your rooftop.

While a home assessment still has its place in some situations, at times the representative visiting your home may have been directed to “sell, sell, sell”. His or her only goal may be to leave your house with a signed purchase order. Your needs will be considered secondary, or perhaps non-existent. You need to consider if you want that type of person walking in the front door of your home.

Ignoring simple energy efficiency solutions to reduce cost

A company genuinely committed to solar power is in business to make money, however they will often offer suggestions as to how you can decrease the cost of acquiring a system.

For example, if you still use inefficient lighting, an ethical company will point out that spending a hundred dollars on switching to compact fluorescent or LED’s could save you thousands of dollars on extra solar panels needed to power the energy inefficient lights. On the other hand, an unethical company will see this as a good opportunity for the sale of a larger system.

A system with a 4kW inverter is not always a 4kW system

In order to make a system appear more powerful, some companies may focus on promoting inverter size. A system with a 4kW rated solar inverter but with only 1.5kW of solar panels is a 1.5kW system. The larger inverter will not boost the amount of electricity generated compared to a smaller, suitably sized inverter.

While having a larger inverter can be of benefit as you may be able to add more panels at a later date, this leads on to another very important point.

System upgrades and “upgradeable systems”

Another important reason to use quality, well known components is in case you wish to upgrade your system in the future as it can be difficult to mix and match solar panels.

If you buy a system package with a larger inverter for purposes of upgrading at a later date, you need to be certain the company that manufactured those panels will still be around at that point – and producing the same panels.

Even if they are, if the panels are of low quality, the original solar modules may degrade more over period compared to a good quality panel. As a single degraded solar panel can affect the performance of an entire system; your upgraded system may not perform to its full potential.

Compare solar panels, inverters – everything

Package deals are a great way to save cash, but not all packages are created equal. For example, a company might use top quality solar panels, but skimp on the inverter, cabling and mounting system quality in the hope that the panel brand name will dazzle you and you’ll ignore the other components.

Cobbled together packages should be avoided as “compatible” does not necessarily mean optimal. Mixing good quality panels with poor quality solar inverters, or even using quality solar modules and inverters; but skimping on wiring quality will have an effect on a system’s performance and possibly, safety.

Designing an optimum rooftop solar power system is no simple task. Everything
must be taken into consideration; including:

  • Panel voltage output
  • Panel quality
  • Wiring quality
  • Switch gear durability
  • Inverter quality
  • Operating temperature ranges
  • String arrangements
  • Strength of mounting solution
  • Resistance to weather
  • Optimum positioning to eliminate panels getting dirty
  • Inverter and panel matching
  • Optimum inverter auto switching

Ascertaining that a system package is ready for our clients is a time intensive task. Two qualified engineers run a fine tooth comb over each Energy Matters kit before it is approved for sale to our customers.

Learn more – Download our full Solar Consumer Guide.

Grey market/counterfeit products

It’s not all that common, but in some cases in order to save money a company will obtain components on the grey market. This is where the component is genuine, but hasn’t come through the proper supply channels. This is also referred to as a “parallel import“. In these situations,  if something goes wrong with the component, the manufacturer may not honour the warranty. In fact, a couple of major solar panel manufacturers have already stated they would not honour warranty on parallel imported panels – modules must be purchased via authorised Australian distributors.

It’s important to check with the company you are considering acquiring a system from that either they are an authorised distributor, or have sourced the panels through a local authorised wholesaler.

In extreme cases, counterfeit or cheaper “no-name” products will be used. This can not only prove more costly as the equipment won’t be eligible for rebates, but the equipment may not perform as well as established brands and present fire/electrocution hazards through shoddy workmanship. Look for proper certifications. The ‘CE Mark’ from Europe alone is worthless in Australia for solar panels as it’s a self-certification. In the case of solar panels, the safety standard IEC61730 apply, the panel must be classified as Class A modules as well as complying with either IEC61215 or IEC61646, depending on the module technology.

Low quality components

Not all solar panels are equal. While most panels will perform as rated in perfect conditions, poor quality panel performance will drop off dramatically in marginal conditions. “No name” panels may also use poor quality sealants that will do the job for the first couple of years, but then after that degrade to a point moisture enters the panel – and there is no easy fix for that situation.

An item often not closely scrutinised in a solar power system package is the inverter. An inverter is the device than converts DC electricity from the panels into AC electricity suitable for use in your home. Sometimes a package might have top brand solar panels, but may skimp on the inverter quality in order to maintain an attractive price point. A low quality inverter will be inefficient and may have a shorter lifespan. Being an expensive item to replace, be sure a good quality inverter is included in your solar power system.

A good place for consumers to start when offered a PV package is to ask for the brand name for each component and then to research the brand history on the Internet.

Extra costs

A low advertised price mightn’t be just due to low quality components. While it’s not unusual for prices to vary based on the type of structure upon which a solar power system is placed; these extras should be clear. These could include:

  • Tile roof
  • Build frame on flat metal roof
  • Split array
  • Horizontal fixing of array
  • Lifting and access equipment
  • Cost of moving inverter
  • Cathedral ceilings
  • Travel charges

Fine-print extras can add thousands onto the final cost of a solar power system; so be very sure to read over quotes and contracts carefully before committing to purchase.

Certification of components and pre-certification installation

In order to claim rebates, all systems must contain certified components – that is, components certified in Australia and listed here. Some solar companies have been known to jump the gun; installing components that are yet to be certified, but supposedly will be “soon”. This means the customer has a system that cannot be switched on until such time the certification comes through – a risky business.

Component substitution

A trick some companies will use is to offer you a respected brand name at a good price; then once the contract is signed and sealed, a mysterious “shortage” may occur – meaning you’ll need to wait much longer or accept another inferior brand. A discount or cash back may be thrown in to lure you into accepting the lesser quality component. While in some cases there is a genuine shortage, in others it is a tactic to increase profit margins as margins can be very slim on leading brand products.

Warranty issues

Many solar panel and related component manufacturers have been established around the world in the last couple of years. While the warranty the new companies may offer can be the same duration as the more recognised brands; the warranty will be of little value if the company disappears. Solar PV manufacturers disappear often; sometimes to re-emerge under another name, but without assuming the responsibility associated with its previous products.

Download our full Solar Consumer Guide now.

Buy-back guarantees

Some companies were known in the past to offer a buy back guarantee if the system does not perform adequately – it’s very different to a warranty that will replace the defective components or fix any installation issue – and often an inferior one.

For example, under a buy back guarantee, if a system should fail after a few years and a consumer asks for the money back, the buyback price is unlikely to include the value of the rebate. This means that if the system should be removed from the building, then the home owner is in breach of rebate conditions and may have to hand any rebate back to the Government.

Few people will want a few thousand dollars back and then have to pay even more back to the government – and the companies offering these sorts of buy back guarantees know that.

Inflated performance claims

The performance of a solar power system may be exaggerated. For example, a system of a specific size may provide 50% of the average household’s needs in one part of Australia, but it won’t in another due to prevailing climate and irradiance levels.

A good company will perform a series of  calculations to give you a fairly accurate estimate of how much electricity you can expect to generate from an array before even thinking about presenting you with a contract.

It’s also important to note that a 1.5kW PV system will not produce that level of power under all conditions. Performance is impacted by issues such as heat and through the normal operation of the inverter when the DC electricity generated by the solar panels is converted to AC power suitable for use in your home. However, some inverters are better than others in terms of conversion efficiency, just the same as some panels are better than others in relation to heat tolerance.

Shade tolerance claims

No solar panel is truly shade tolerant. It only takes shade covering a small area of a panel to reduce its performance dramatically. It simply does not pay to install panels on an area of roof where they will be in the shade during peak sun hours. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise as you’ll just be wasting your money.

Fine print contracts

As with any contract, check the fine print. If the language in the contract is overly complex, gain legal counsel. If you do find you’ve been pressured into signing a contract with draconian clauses, all is not lost – seek legal advice as there are laws against what is termed an “unconscionable contract” and a cooling off period also applies.

Installation timelines

Solar PV fever sweeps the nation in waves and during these times providers can become backlogged. While you can expect a wait of up to a few months for a solar installer to perform your installation in some circumstances, this is something you should be made aware of by the provider.

If this detail is not mentioned anywhere, ensure you get it in writing; otherwise you may be waiting for 6 months or more. Details should also include what the supplier will do if the installation isn’t completed by the appointed time by the solar installer.

Demand for high deposits

It’s not uncommon to be asked for a deposit when ordering a solar power system. 10% of pre-rebate price is the industry norm, with the balance payable on installation. However, we’ve seen some companies demanding an 80% deposit and then telling consumers it will take 6 – 8 months for their system to be installed!

So much can happen in 8 months – prices can move downwards making the price paid today not such a good deal when the system is finally installed, rebate legislation can change and new technology may become available.

But probably the issue of most concern is: will the company still be around in 8 months? What if currency exchange rates experience a similar situation to 2009 when the Australian dollar weakened dramatically and suddenly components cost 30% more? Will they be able to absorb that hike?

If the company goes bust, what happens to your 80% deposit? This scenario also begs the question – what type of cash flow issues do these companies already have that they need to demand so much money up front?

Whatever the scenario, the demand for a high deposit coupled with a long lead up time until installation can be a very risky business for the consumer.

Gimmicks, gadgets and bonuses

Everyone loves a bonus, but when too much emphasis is placed on a bonus rather than the core product, the solar power system itself, it’s cause for concern. Bear in mind that most gadgets and bonuses included with solar power packages have cost the vendor far less than the retail value they put upon them. Unless the bonus is directly related to the solar power system, you’ll be better off forsaking the bonus and negotiating a cheaper price on the system.

Be especially wary of offers of free appliances such as big screen TV’s. Plasma TV’s are often called “space heaters” for good reason and consume a lot of power. You’re buying a solar power system to save on emissions and electricity bills, so why eat into those savings by using appliances that you perhaps don’t really need and are very inefficient?

Collusion with related industries

Some solar PV companies have close ties with other industries, such as roof repair and roof restoration businesses, or it may be incorporated under their own business. There’s nothing wrong with that as such, but what can happen is that a householder calls in a roof repairer who then offers a fantastic deal on a solar power system using high pressure tactics. Alternatively, the roof repair company may just sow the seed and then pass on the householder details to a solar company for targeting.

Investing in a solar power system is a decision that should be made after serious thought, having been presented all the facts and after having had time for thorough research and comparing packages with different companies – you shouldn’t expect to call in a tradesman for roof repairs and have them sell a solar power package to you on the same day!

Choosing a solar installer

Even with any rebates or incentives, you’re still investing a sizeable sum from your own pocket and your house is being modified. You should ensure that the right person is executing the installation – it’s critical you choose a suitable solar installer.

In order to qualify for Solar Credits rebate, which is actually an up-front discount, your solar power system has to be installed by a CEC accredited solar installer. The emphasis here is on the physical installation, not just the sign off.

Will the solar installer who climbs onto your roof to perform the installation be the same man who signs off on the paperwork? Does the installer have full CEC accreditation or is the work done by an electrician and later checked by a more qualified supervisor? If your installer is just learning, he or she will have a provisional number – starting with P. This means you are one of the early installations and your roof is his or her classroom. Ask for the solar installer’s accreditation number and ask where he/she is normally located – you’ll want someone local in case there are issues that need addressing.

More valuable solar PV buyer information

This article has covered some issues you should avoid, so what about things you should look for in a package? Download our full Solar Consumer Guide (it’s free) or view our 10 tips for buying a solar power system. Additionally, we have an FAQ on the Solar Credits scheme well worth reviewing.

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Are Beer and Cigarettes the New Bioenergy? 10/7/13

Don Draper and fellow “Mad Men” would likely be horrified, but alcohol and tobacco — long joined at the hip by chain smokers and heavy drinkers — are countering the U.S.’ current aversion to excess by rebranding themselves as new sources of bioenergy.

Tobacco, which has suffered declining market share and price yields for decades in the U.S., could reinvent itself as a genetically-altered biomass for production of biodiesel, bio-gasoline, or bio-jet fuels.

The spirits industry, meanwhile, is already using their industrial beer and liquor byproducts to generate bioenergy as a means of offsetting operational costs.

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2013/07/are-beer-and-cigarettes-the-new-bioenergy


New Battery Design

New Battery Design Could Help Solar and Wind Energy Power the Grid

New Battery Design Could Help Solar and Wind Energy Power the Grid

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have designed a low-cost, long-life battery that could enable solar and wind energy to become major suppliers to the electrical grid.

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2013/05/new-battery-design-could-help-solar-and-wind-energy-power-the-grid


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t_couriermail.jpg

Double-digit shock as electricity bills set to surge by 21. 4 percent

POWER bills are set to skyrocket by more than 20 per cent, adding hundreds of dollars to the average annual electricity bill.
The Courier-Mail can reveal the the Queensland Competition Authority will recommend a 21.4 per cent increase in power prices in 2013/14.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/electricity-bill-shock/story-e6freoof-1226583094724

Climate Spectator image.png 1. Victorian Price Rise
 
Most of the Victorian electricity suppliers have now released their new rates for 2013. Energy Watch has done a comprehensive 
review of all the new rates vs. discounts being offered. Since each retailer has a different standard price, the price increases 
below are not a reflection of which suppliers have the best electricity and gas rates for consumers. All consumers
are urged to check their energy rates with Energy Watch to find the cheapest electricity and gas rates we have that
suits your individual needs.

 

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