How millennials and peer-to-peer trading are influencing the future of battery storage


Late last month [July 2016] the first bill for the first Powerwall installed in Australia was released to the media and the results are amazing.

The bill was presented along with a previous bill from the same billing period the year prior, without the battery installed.

The quarterly bill shown was in the amount in $490.38 or $531.92 if paid after the due date. The post Powerwall bill, for the same Autumn billing period was for $50.39. Broken down per day, it’s $4.953 vs $.059. That’s about a 90% reduction.

Ok, there it is in black and white, a full endorsement for the battery storage revolution that is coming to Australia, whether you’re ready for it or not.

Let’s break it down: A battery storage system will store power generated that is generated during the day by a PV solar system, which can they be used throughout to power the household during the evening and when the sun is not powering the system.

If you want to save money, reduce your carbon footprint and assert some independence from your electricity retailer, then a battery storage system is the way to go.

Whether you are adding it to your existing system or going solar for the first time, there are heaps of options out there aside from the Powerwall. Sonnen, LG, Enphase, Fronius are just some of the brands on the market for residential and business energy storage.

Battery prices continue to decrease, while their quality and technology continue to increase
making this a great opportunity to invest in your future.

Millennials love new energy products and services. Boomers not so much.

Accenture has released the results from their seventh annual survey of energy consumers, with nearly 10,000 respondents from 17 countries. The major takeaway from this survey was the strong influence that millennials have key consumer engagement trends including energy products, services and experiences.

According to the survey, 24 percent of millennials are classified as early adopters , while 17 percent of 34-54 and only seven percent of the baby boomers, 55 and over are first to sign up for new energy products and services.

87 percent of the millennials surveyed are extremely receptive to the option of distributed energy resources, compared to only 60 percent of the over 55s.

The most interesting statistic found that 77 percent would be interested in an online, personalized marketplace to select and purchase energy-related products and services.
Compound that with just over a third that would be interested in automated home solutions and they would be willing to pay for them. These are opportunities that should not be ignored.

Lastly, 56 percent of millennials, which is double that of those over 55, are likely to sign up for solar panels in the next five years. With 61 percent willing to download an app that remotely monitors and controls elements in their home, including energy consumption.

Peer-to-peer energy trading

New kid on the energy block is start-up, Power Ledger. The Perth company has partnered with Ledger Assets and will conduct trials that will develop a new model for peer-to-peer [P2P] energy sharing.

By theoretically removing the energy retailer from the energy supply chain, the excess electricity generated from solar panels will be up for grabs. The energy can be stored directly into a battery or traded with a neighbour, mate or family member who is connected to the P2P network.

There are currently two trials set for Western Australia. The first will contains 15 -20 households in Busselton. These selected household will not all have solar panels and are located in a retirement village. What will be tested in the Power Ledger’s system is the verifying, recording and settling of transactions virtually, in parallel to the energy retailer.

A second trial with around 80 households, some with batteries, will trade the electricity across the network and the transactions will be settled with the Power Ledger system. This is scheduled to take place later this year in Fremantle.

It has not been disclosed how many millennials will participate.



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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.

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