Solarhub: Individual considerations

Take advantage: Ben Barton from Solarhub believes now is a good time for adding batteries to your solar system thanks to incentives from the ACT Government.

Take advantage: Ben Barton from Solarhub believes now is a good time for adding batteries to your solar system thanks to incentives from the ACT Government.

“As the price of materials come down” begins Ben Barton from Solarhub, “we find ourselves at a time where investing in a bigger system can help speed up the payback time.”

What you need: Power usage varies for each business or household, but the minimum recommendation to charge batteries before each day's peak use is 5kW.

What you need: Power usage varies for each business or household, but the minimum recommendation to charge batteries before each day's peak use is 5kW.

Before you do make that investment though, you need to be aware that “Each home’s or business’s electricity consumption will vary depending on their individual needs”

Therefore, when you’re going to have a system installed or upgraded “You should consider how much energy you will need, and if you want to install batteries now or later.”

In terms of how much capacity you should look at as a minimum, “On average, to ensure your battery has enough energy to fill, we find you will need at least a 5kW system.”

The reason for the shift to batteries is a natural response to the fact that “when the feed-in tariffs were introduced they were focused on the daytime consumption of the grid.”

Power management: This will utilise opportunities like selling back to the grid or charging the battery based on the prices at certain times.

Power management: This will utilise opportunities like selling back to the grid or charging the battery based on the prices at certain times.

Those rates for selling power to the grid have dropped significantly so “the introduction of batteries can help households store this daytime energy, and feed this into their nighttime loads.”

Ben also reckons it’s a good time to invest in batteries “because of current incentives available within the ACT specifically for batteries, making them more financially achievable for many.”

It is also worth noting that quality solar panels “are more efficient these days, meaning that even if there is limited usable roof space, you have the capability to install a good sized system.”

There is also more technology to assist if you’re limited by areas of shade, as well as increasing the overall efficiency in all circumstances.

“There is now also smart software to manage battery charging and discharging such as Reposit which are another Canberra company who interact with the grid.”

With this power management the goal is to “Sell back to the grid when the price is high, or charge the battery when there is cheap power available off the grid. Power management is complicated but it is necessary to get the best results.”

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It’s also reassuring to know that “Solar’s been prominent for 10-15 years since the original boom and it’s becoming very reliable. It’s reaching a critical mass in terms of the market and people thinking about it are now jumping on board, especially as they’re seeing reports on the potentially-looming energy crisis in the media.”

Ben has also observed that “Solar is almost a standard inclusion in many builder’s packages now which is good to see.” Additionally “In Canberra we are seeing suburbs that are making solar mandatory.”