To Tesla or not?

Price of Tesla Powerwall versus other systems.

First published at www.waltcollins.com.au

Solar power storage systems.

This year we've seen solar power battery storage systems explode onto the market- the future is here! Finally we all say. Solar power is fantastic and certainly worth the investment, but one of the problems in Australia is the current Government's lack of genuine belief in renewable energy. The tariff for returning surplus energy back into the grid is useless. Let's not beat around the bush here. It's hardly worth it the credit. (Some people may have had the higher rate locked in a few years ago and currently love life).

Having solar on your roof means you have to become a bit of a wheeler-deeler to make the most of it. Given that most of the energy production happens during the day when it's sunny, you have to make sure your appliances like washing machines, dishwashers and so on are in operation during the day. It becomes a bit like an obsession- you need a cunning plan to utilise your power during the day. If you don't, then any surplus energy created outside of running your fridge and idle appliances, is fed back into the grid. Wham bam, thank you for nothing- unless you work from home and can schedule a military approach to your power usage.

Now look, in the interests of disclosure- I was the face of Bradford Solar's TV campaign last year and did do some TV work for them. And yes Bradford Solar do now offer the Tesla Power wall, but I will write with neutrality given that a lot of companies do now offer it.

 

So, how about being able to store your excess power in batteries? Your humble panels work hard all day churning out the power as normal but it's stored in batteries ready for you to come home from work and enjoy a lavish indulgence of lighting, washing machines, TV's and more- all thanks to the sun.

I've been asked a lot over the last few months to look into the solar storage world. One of the TV series I co-host is Healthy Homes Australia with my on screen wife Dani Wales and we were actually the first TV show IN THE WORLD to install a Tesla Powerwall! So I've done my research.

There are three stand-out storage systems I thought worthy of a mention.

-The 'Tesla Powerwall' (all the marketing fuss and hype is around this one)

-The 'Enphase Storage system' (Enphase are an amazing manufacturer of solar power components)

-The 'SonanBatterie' (German based here now)

Tesla is hitting the headlines around the world at the moment thanks to the level of innovation and how the marketing/PR people make this a sexy brand. But the storage system is unbelievable. It's neat, sexy and looks like an alien egg-pod on the side of your house. Not all solar systems are compatible so you need to check before you buy. You can retro-fit the Tesla and you can also get a whole new system installed from companies like EnergyMatters and Bradford Solar.

 A Tesla Powerwall system. Photo credit: www.bradfordsolar.com.au

 

A Tesla Powerwall has about 6.4kwh of storage which is enough to power most houses during the evening. You can link them together too if you need more. You can also install them indoors as well as outdoors.

If you already have a solar system and just want the Tesla Powerwall, it'll cost you about $12,000 and maybe a bit extra for any additional inverters you might need.

Enphase Storage System is another great battery storage system. I've come across this company a few times- you see their name on a lot of the inverters behind solar panels. They know their stuff and are very trustworthy. This storage system is fantastic because they are a little cheaper if you're buying upfront and can seamlessly integrate with your other enphase devices already installed. The thing about this system is you can just have a smaller amount of storage if your needs are less, or custom build the system if you need more. Unlike the Tesla which is a one size fits all approach.

Enphase Storage Pic Credit: www.energymatters.com.au

 

They are essentially a series of 1.2kwh battery pods which network together depending on the size requirements. The big winner for me here is that the Enphase can be fitted to ANY existing solar system- so no expensive inverters, converters and so on. Also, it works on a 95% discharge ethic.. so this means it nearly drains itself dry before recharging itself which ultimately means a longer battery life. You can buy a usage monitor upfront and workout how many batteries you'll need for your place.

Each battery module costs around $1500 for the 1.2kwh. So do the maths for your place

SonnenBatterie is a system which stands out too and partly because of the quality. German made- say no more! Now this thing is insane. It looks fantastic and again, is housed in an all-in-one pod shape device which bolts to the wall inside or outside. A typical system pumps out about 8-10kwh which is ample for most homes, but it is a one size fits all approach, but they do say that they will release modules which we can choose between 2-16kwh which is a good move.

 The German SonnenBatterie system. Photo credit: www.sonnenbatterie.com

 

This is no normal storage system, it has a 'self learning algorithm' which uses data from the weather bureau and your usage activity to then streamline its charge and output to create the most efficient system possible! So it's a smart-battery basically. It can identify the best time to start charging and even if nobody is home, it could activate appliances like your washing machine or dryer!From what I can see, it probably has the longest life span of the batteries.

I can't find any prices in Australia to write with confidence, but the best clue is a US$10,000 price tag. Let me know if you find out the price!

To read more from Walt's blog- check out www.waltcollins.com.au