What Happened This Week in Solar – 19th of June


A little round up of some interesting things that happened in solar, renewable energy and climate change this week.

Solar Holds Us Tight as Our High COVID-19 Energy Bills Roll In

high energy bills during covid 19

Natural Solar conducted a nationwide analysis with their live monitoring systems and found a 105% increase in Australian household electricity in Q1 of 2020. This is due to the national lockdown implications created by the global COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2019, their live monitoring system reported average households would use 513kWh monthly and 16.5kWh per day. In March 2020 that figure rose to 1052kWh monthly and in April it increased again to 1094kWh per month, or 36.4kWh per day. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to be prepared for change. COVID-19, bushfires, global protest and more have highlighted the importance of strength and spirit. But you can protect yourself from unpredictable energy prices and increasing power bills by generating your own renewable energy.

The First Solar-Powered Delivery Fleet in Australia

sydney gets solar powered couriers

Sendle have partnered with Bonds Couriers to operate Australia’s first fleet of solar-powered delivery vans. The fleet is operated in Sydney and gets 100% of its charge from the 319 panels on the distribution centre. Each van can travel around 200km’s or work a 10-hour shift on its full battery. Interestingly, the 319 panels produce upwards of 600kW of electricity daily, which is 7 times more then what the fleet of vans need, so Bonds send a large amount of power back into the grid for others. This is a great first step for consumers and businesses to be able to transport their goods in a sustainable way.

Australia Has A Large % of Climate Deniers, Says Survey Conducted During Unprecedented Bushfires

Australian bush fire season linking with climate change

Research conducted by the University of Canberra found that the level of climate change concern varies depending on age, gender, education, place of residence, political orientation and the type of news consumed. It also found that Australia has more than double the global average of climate change deniers. Of the 40 countries surveyed Australia’s 8% of climate change deniers is far bigger than the global average of 3%, but thankfully the US beat us (with a count of 12%). 15% of Australians say they don’t pay attention to climate change news, and consumers in regional areas are less interested in climate change information then those in the cities. This explains how it’s so difficult for political action to occur. Incredibly, this research was taken at the end of the unprecedented bushfire season of 2020.


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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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