Weekly Solar Round-Up – Ending 28th August


In this week’s solar round-up update, renewable energy drives garbage collection, ALDI partners with the sun and the wind, sheep are keeping solar farms company and the Hobsons Bay City Council increase solar initiatives.

Aldi is Saying Hello to Good Energy

ALDI has stepped up to the renewable energy plate and said hello to good energy! Committed to becoming the first Australian supermarket to run solely off renewable energy, ALDI aims to be 100% green by 2021. ALDI made the exciting announcement this week and thanked their two new business partners- without which this never would have been made possible, the ‘sun’ and the ‘wind.’

ALDI will buy wind energy for 10 years from two projects in VIC and NSW and install solar panels on top of all shop fronts and distribution centres. Expecting to utilise more than 180,000 megawatts of renewable electricity, ALDI is hoping to avoid 160,000 tonnes worth of carbon emissions.

Solar Energy Updates. Green leaf illustration of renewable energy

Garbage Power

If you are part of the Blacktown City Council region then your garbage may have been picked up by one of the first electric garbage truck designs to hit the Australian streets.

Sydney’s Blacktown City Council is utilising garbage to boost solar efficiency through the trial of an electric garbage truck. The regular garbage mover has been decked out in SEA- Drive electrification technology and has a 10 cubic metre rear loading waste compactor.

Drivers of the electric vehicle have commented on its quietness, usability, and efficiency as they have driven throughout the city. The truck is part of the Council’s renewable electricity target as it aims to reach zero-net emissions by 2030.

Sheep to the Renewable Rescue

A four-year trial is set to see sheep wandering in the shade of solar. On a property west of Parkes, 120 merino sheep have been grazing on the Parkes Solar Farm as part of a bloodline trial. The issue of grazing near and under solar farms has long been debated with concerns over the use of agricultural land for solar infrastructure. However, since the trial began an interesting relationship has developed between the sheep and the solar panels.

energy updates- Sheep in Solar FarmsAlthough initially designed to keep the weeds down, by putting the sheep into the solar trial, factors such as wool quality and cut can now be determined. It has also been discovered that the solar panels have actually helped increase the food available for the sheep as the rainfall from the panels are germinating the left-over feed on the ground. Now that is a collaborative relationship we can get on board with!

Melbourne’s Commitment to Solar

Hobsons Bay City Council has announced a Virtual Power Plant project that will increase the number of solar panels previously installed on buildings in the surrounding areas. Covering a 65km squared area, the Hobsons Bay City Council solar project covers 40 properties across the Spotswood, Seabrook and Seaholme suburbs.

With an aim to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to 0 for its operations, the Hobsons Bay City Council intends to extend its current solar initiatives to 4 megawatts of renewable energy. Instead of just letting the surplus energy drip back into the grid, the Hobsons Bay City Council intends to maximise self-consumption and minimise energy waste.

Enjoy this weekly solar round-up? Visit the blog page to discover the latest in solar energy across Australia.

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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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