The changing dynamics of the solar industry never fail to astound us. With the ongoing rediculous debate around clean coal, power outages in South Australia, lack of direction for ARENA and the uptake of solar battery storage, the picture and future for the Adelaide solar industry remains muddied. In our view here is what needs to happen URGENTLY:
- S.A. state government needs to re-introduce a sensible solar feed in tariff. The mismanagement both at state and federal level, of solar subsidies has been well documented over the last 10 years. A ‘mid point’ solar feed in tariff of around ‘parity’ with retail electricity pricing – say around 25 cents / kilowatt hour is a ‘reasonable’ figure in hour view. This would reinvigorate the solar industry and home owners with minimal daytime electricity usage would benefit from installing solar systems, as the electricity generated would be paid a fair amount when exported back to the grid.
- S.A. government initiatives to ‘support’ uptake of solar battery storage. The rediculous outcry we have seen, associating power outages in S.A. with the uptake of renewable energy is laughable. The sooner that households can become energy independent from this nonsense, the better. Solar battery storage enable the efficient storage solar solar generated power, for use at night time – the dream of becoming grid independent is nearly here and government support for solar battery storage units would accelerate this reality.
There has been a huge amount of ‘buzz’ in the renewable energy sector with several ‘high profile’ solar storage manufacturers now having relatively cost effective solar battery storage systems available in the small to mid size range. The target markets are predominantly the residential solar storage markets, at least in Australia.
Key Players In Solar Battery Technology – November 2016
The key players in lithium ion battery technology specifically designed for p.v. solar systems are:
- Tesla. The much ‘touted’ Tesla Powerwall solar storage system has generated huge interest, not just in Australia, but globally. It seems, as of November 2016, that several of Australia’s largest electricity ‘retailers’ are now positioning themselves to market the Powerwall. We see this as particularly interesting. The ‘conventional wisdom’ at least from a ‘green’ perspective, is that the main energy providers in Australia are still positioned to ‘benefit’ from the fossil fuel generated electricity that still accounts for over 85 percent of Australia’s electricity production (2015-2015).
Cost – Benefit Analysis – Solar Battery Storage
Much of the ‘commentary’ on solar battery storage has been centred around the current costs of these units and the likely return on investment. The factors around whether or not these battery systems make ‘financial sense’ is a far more complex issue than many of the ‘solar experts’ discuss. The ‘intangible benefits’ of solar storage systems include many that are ‘environmental’ in nature. The moch touted ‘downside’ to p.v. systems has always been the obvious nature of these systems – they only provide electrical energy whilst the sun shines. What about at night time? This has always been the missing component and this is where the solar storage technology will be a game changer in the next decade. This probably goes a long way to explaining why the energy utilities are keen to be major players in this field. As it (may) become ‘mainstream’ t run a household purely from solar power, the energy utilties could, potentially, be ‘sidelined’ and their forward revenues could be seen as being very vulnerable to this emerging technology.
Samsung and Panasonic Solar Battery Technology
Both Panasonic and Samsung has been an electronics innovator for over 40 years and have had their ‘fingers’ in the growing battery technology area for over 20 years. This makes a perfect match to design and manufacture state of the art solar storage units. Their initial offer into the Australian market is their 3.6kWh SDI battery storage unit. Like the Powerwall offerings from Telsa the power storage capacity of their systems is relatively small compared to the average Australian nigh time electrical power consumption of residential homes. This means that several such units will be required to keep a home ‘energy independant’ and the relative costs stuctures need careful examination.
In Part 2 of this article we examine the other ‘players’ in solar battery storage and look at the ‘financials’ in more detail.
Solar Panels Adelaide Blog
Panasonic Residential Solar Storage
Samsung Energy Storage