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Wearable Solar Technology

 

As Australia moves away from fossil fuels, renewable energy sources are being adapted to suit our ever-changing environment, society, and personal taste. With an abundance of clear skies and an inherently dry climate, it is no wonder that solar technologies are increasingly popular in the land down under. But what about solar technology that we can wear?

Wearable Solar Technologies

As solar technologies improve so does its versatility for application. Due for release later this year, Japanese researchers have developed wearable solar clothing out of ultra-flexible organic photovoltaic (OPV) technologies. Without jeopardising the performance integrity of the solar technology, the lightweight material is integrated into textile designs through a hot-melt process- similar to the heat print processes of regular T-shirt designs.

solar roof tile solar market

The development of a clothing solar design allows wearers to charge their portable devices and wearable tech, eliminating the need to carry portable batteries or chargers. Although the design is only currently 10% efficient, it has the ability to produce up to 20-30 watts of power in optimum sunlight conditions.

The Future in Wearable Solar

The discovery of a flexible, lightweight and heat resistant solar technology such as the wearable organic photovoltaic, greatly expands the possibilities of solar use in the textiles industry. The invention of solar hats, handbags, jackets and shirts literally allows us to power our personal technologies just but stepping outside.

What should I do now?

Interested in how you can use solar to power your home? Take our solar quiz and Solar Market can match you with 3 CEC accredited local solar installers so you can choose the right solar option for you.

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Download Your FREE Ultimate Guide to Solar Power in Australia - 2021 Edition

Beginners Guide to Solar Power

If you’re considering solar for your property or just looking to maximise the savings for your solar system, download a FREE copy of our "Ultimate Guide to Solar Power in Australia - 2021 Edition".

Become an expert and better understand the ins and outs of solar power and solar PV systems for your property.

Includes detailed explanations and diagrams of the various types of solar systems and their parts, solar battery storage systems, Government incentives, expected ROI periods, finance, energy-saving tips and more!

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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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