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bakesgirls

Solar batteries

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bakesgirls

We recently bought a house that has solar panels but no battery. I've been looking around at various solar batteries, but have no idea what I'm actually after and I don't want to speak to anyone directly yet and have them pressure us to sign up and purchase from them. Does anyone have a solar battery? Is there a particular brand that is good? I think our panels total 7.6kW. Any recommendations? We're about an hour out of Sydney.

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Kiwi Bicycle

DH got us solar 8 years ago, and has looked into getting a battery.  However his calculations ( and he redid them last year for his brother who wanted to do solar+ battery) is that the return on investment with the current prices of batteries in non existant. Until the cost of the batteries goes down, he's happy to have off peak low rate ( so cheap at night) and use the solar to offset the higher day rate.

You should look into it also. The batteries are like electric car batteries and have only a 10 year lifespan.

Another option is to have an fully electric vechicle or a hybrid plugged into home and charge it's battery.

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bakesgirls

I hadn't realised that they only had a 10 year life span. I have a hybrid car, but I knew about the battery life for those. 

We're getting bugger all in savings from these solar panels. Something pathetic like $15 per month feed in credit. 

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BECZ

Your best option is to try and set appliances to run throughout the day if you’re not home to  turn/put them on yourself. 

I’m a SAHP and try and time the dishwasher to be full after breakfast and wash sheets and towels while the kids are at school and wash their uniforms (along with any other washing I have) every second afternoon as soon as they get home from school, while the sun is still out.  Even if I’m making salads for dinner I try and boil the pasta, potato etc. earlier in the day, while nothing else is running.

I’m not religious about it, if things need to be done, they need to be done, but I feel that that’s the best way that we can benefit from our solar panels.  Batteries are coming down, but still not worth it by my calculations.

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~LemonMyrtle~

are they clean?  well maintained?  does their output match the weather?  these are things you should check before getting a battery.  Lots of people have solar systems that are barely functional and they are unaware, being a new house for you, you should get them cleaned and checked out.

Do you have a way to live track the output and your usage?  I ahve an app on my phone that shows what is being generated and what we are using.

We have a battery, but as was mentioned, its not really worth it if you want to save money.  Your best bet is to use the power when its generated.  you may be already doing that, feed-in is tiny, but if youre home all day, and using the generated electricity, then your equivalent electricity bill, without the panels, maybe $100 mroe per quarter, and you wouldnt know it unless you are live tracking your usage.

So, get them cleaned, and check theyre working, get a live tracker, or just sit and read the panel for an hour or two, and work out what youre really saving that way.

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bakesgirls

The panels are very well maintained and were checked out as part of our contract for settlement. They're positioned so that they get sun most of the day and don't get much shade at all. I'm pretty sure there's 16 of them.

I have no way of tracking their output, and wouldn't know how to even go about it! No one is home during the day, so most of our power is used in the evenings and on weekends. 

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NWO

They would be feeding excess into the grid I would hope and you will be paid x amount of cents per kWh.

When you get you first power bill it will show on there ... or ask them (your energy provider) how much you are getting per kWh. Probably a good idea to check with them anyway that everything is set up right and against your account (as in the excess feedback into the grid is being measured and allocated to your account correctly)

If you have 7.6kW then that is a lot ..... probably won't have to pay a electricity bill ever!

 

 

 

 

 

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SeaPrincess
1 hour ago, bakesgirls said:

I hadn't realised that they only had a 10 year life span. I have a hybrid car, but I knew about the battery life for those. 

We're getting bugger all in savings from these solar panels. Something pathetic like $15 per month feed in credit. 

That seems really low for the size of your system, especially if you aren’t consuming a lot of power during the day time. We have a 5kW system. Family of 5, fish pond with a small pump that runs all the time and a pool, and we are saving an average of $100/month compared with before we installed the system.

When we moved into a house that already had solar panels, I had the company who installed them come out and explain to me how to check the output on the inverter. Our new system is connected to the wifi and I can log into the monitoring system or app to see the status of each individual panel.

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CallMeFeral

If you're on Facebook, join 'my efficient electric home'. They are an absolute font of knowledge on this stuff. 

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can'tstayaway

I second all the suggestions mentioned above. 

We have solar panels and I’ve been getting them serviced and cleaned annually. We live in a dusty area so the panels get dirty quickly. 

We also have a smart meter so we can see how much electricity is being generated and how much we are using.

There’s two types of feed in deals you can have. I can’t remember the names right now.  We have the one where the house uses the generated electricity first and then any excess is fed back to the grid. The other type feeds into the grid first and you buy back the electricity you need. The second type is good for those who had the really good price deals but I don’t think they transfer on the sale of a house. 

We do have a battery but it isn’t to hold a heap of electricity like the ones specially designed to go with the pv panels.  I looked into those batteries but it wasn’t cost effective yet.  Our battery is just a back up with our generator incase of blackouts.

 

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SeaPrincess
23 minutes ago, can'tstayaway said:

There’s two types of feed in deals you can have. I can’t remember the names right now.  We have the one where the house uses the generated electricity first and then any excess is fed back to the grid. The other type feeds into the grid first and you buy back the electricity you need. The second type is good for those who had the really good price deals but I don’t think they transfer on the sale of a house.

 

This probably depends on where you are. As far as I know, in WA, it’s all household use first, then sell-back and buy-back rates on eligible systems are transferable. The really high rates are only applicable to small systems though. WA has 2 different customer pricing rates for buying power. One varies by time of day and the other is a flat fee 24/7 which is roughly equal to the shoulder rates on the variable tariff. We would have to be extremely disciplined to save anything on the variable tariff.

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Prancer is coming
4 hours ago, bakesgirls said:

We're getting bugger all in savings from these solar panels. Something pathetic like $15 per month feed in credit. 

The credit on your bill is only half the savings.  You may be using power generated by solar, which is like using free power. So we get about 9cents power we feed back into the grid, but   It would cost 26 cents if whatever if we used was not generated by solar.  We have our bigger electricity using appliances set to come on during the day whilst we are at work - dryer, dishwasher, dehumidifier.  You might only be getting $15 credit, but you could be saving $100 by using solar power.

I initially thought it was best to get a huge system so we would be in credit.  But one Of the solar guyS we spoke to advised us to only go the size that matched our usage.  I would go and talk to someone.  Be honest if you want to them about you are in your initial investigations stage and won’t be signing up yet.  Ours looked at our past power bills and were very helpful.  My DH did quite a bit of research and spoke to some people and came the the conclusion that at this point in time, they are not cost effective.  

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foxbread

We have a 5kwh system, further south than you,  and installed about a year ago - currently $200 in credit and this is just after receiving a winter 'bill'. But that's after building up a good credit over summer, so it might be that you won't see the full perks for another 6 months. I wouldn't despair yet, basically! 

We also calculated that a battery wasn't worth it at this point, but if you have a smart meter you can get apps that show you a live view of your system. That has helped us target our usage for peak electricity production. 

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Lesley225
13 hours ago, bakesgirls said:

I hadn't realised that they only had a 10 year life span. I have a hybrid car, but I knew about the battery life for those. 

We're getting bugger all in savings from these solar panels. Something pathetic like $15 per month feed in credit. 

But aren't you saving from daytime use?

I'm thinking that when I retire it would  be a good time to get solar.

I'm at home most of of the time now so will have to look at my bills.

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decisionsdecisions
Posted (edited)

We have 5.5KW system with 12KW battery storage - works a treat.  Panels face North, battery is fully charged by around 12pm - 1pm each day (bit later if overcast or rainy), remainder of the power generated feeds to the grid.  Power in battery then powers household for practically the remainder of the evening (household of 4 - cooking, washing, heating/cooling, etc) until battery drops to 20% where it stays to power the house in case of a black out.  

The app says since being installed in March 2020 (so only autumn & winter sunshine) the household has been 81% self-powered.  So based on power bill savings solar & battery system cost should be paid-back within 5 years of install - earlier if solar credits are larger in summer.  Battery has 12 year warranty, panel 25 years, inverter 10 years.  We are in state that offered a subsidy to install a battery so cost of battery was probably reduced by $5K.  

Sorry to answer your question it is a Tesla which we went with as it doesn't need any protective cover if placed outdoors as we have done.  Also smaller than some of the other batteries so can be wall mounted.

Edited by decisionsdecisions
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MadMarchMasterchef

I don't have personal experience but choice magazine has lots of articles on this (Im interested for when we move house) 

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