This Week In Solar – 22nd of June 2020


weekly solar roundup 22 june 2020

This week (the 22nd to the 28th of June) we have rounded up some of the exciting and hopeful things happening in solar:

NT Rooftop Solar in Schools is Here!
25 Schools in the Northern Territory are getting solar panels installed. This will save up to 40% of their energy costs or 1640 metric tons of carbon emissions annually, which is the equivalent to 354 cars.

This is a part of the Territory’s plan to transition to 50% renewable energy by 2030 and its bigger goal of becoming a renewable energy exporter. It makes sense to invest in renewables for the future renewables workforce, plus it provides a unique opportunity for these schools to support innovative school-based science projects.

Victoria is to follow as Education Minister James Merlino opened applications for their equivalent program this week. The program will install solar panels on Victorian government schools to reduce emissions, slash their power bills and increase sustainability.

Last year they launched a pilot program by installing panels on 42 schools and expanded based on its success. Hopefully more states follow suit shortly as NSW can stand to save $45 million annually by installing solar and LED lighting.

Grid Connection Locked in for NSW
A grid connection agreement with Transgrid has been locked in for a 720MW solar farm and a 400MWh battery storage system to be installed in NSW. The farm will cost $768 million and will be built in the New England region of NSW, it’ll be one of three renewable energy zones as proposed by the state government.

The solar farm will be constructed in stages over the next 3 years and is expected to create up to 700 full-time jobs during its construction plus providing work for local businesses, suppliers and diversifying the income of rural landowners.

Canberra Gets First Community Solar Farm
Epho, a solar energy developer has signed on to design and construct a 1.3MW community solar farm in Canberra. It’ll be a first for Canberra and will be built in the Majura Valley. Epho joined to create the project with SolarShare, a group of locals who invested in the initiative who will be co-owners.

The 1MW community farm will sell its output to the grid for a guaranteed feed-in tariff of 19.56 cents per kWh with the profits (more then $360,00 per year) being returned to investors. The farm will begin being constructed in August and should be completed by the end of the year.

All of this is a great reminder that solar is not only a great investment in our nation’s future, it creates jobs and help’s communities. If you’re interested in investing in solar, begin the process and compare 3 quotes here.


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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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