33 Queensland Homes Are Trialing Residental Solar Power And Battery Energy Storage

With a bit of help from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Queensland government's Ergon Energy and California-based Sunverge and SunPower are collaborating on a pilot program, using a combination of solar photovoltaic power production and battery-based small-scale storage, inside 33 houses in Townsville, Toowoomba and Cannonvale.

Queensland already has one of the world's highest penetrations of solar power per capita — and it's one of the sunniest states in one of the sunniest countries in the world; over 100,000 homes in the state already have solar power. A minority of installations, though, are connected to any kind of short- or long-term energy storage, and that's the issue that the Sunverge battery system aims to address in the trial. A similar product in concept to the Tesla Powerwall, Sunverge's battery is a 5kW system made for regular charge and discharge cycles.

The installations will include the ability to be used as backup power in the case of a grid blackout, with mobile-based communication with Ergon Energy, which is installing and maintaining both the panels and battery systems. Each house will get a 4.9kW SunPower PV array — the most efficient panels available on the market today — and a 12kWh/5kW Sunverge battery storage and control system before the end of the year. The combination of solar power and battery storage could theoretically produce and store enough energy to reduce or eliminate a house's reliance on the wider, predominantly coal- and gas-powered electricity grid.

But going off the grid may not be as simple as it seems; energy companies are not happy with the concept of consumers leaving the national electricity network entirely, and are pushing for compulsory connection fees and penalties for disconnection. [Sunverge / SunPower]


Comments

    "But going off the grid may not be as simple as it seems; energy companies are not happy with the concept of consumers leaving the national electricity network entirely, and are pushing for compulsory connection fees and penalties for disconnection." the real issue is that government is very likely to band over and approve this BS

      I thought it was illegal to actually store electricity in QLD. Thought there was some stupid deal aleady done about 2 years ago to prevent people hooking up batteries and just doing away with the power companies altogether. That said, i heard that via word of mouth so its probably wrong, or at the very least garbled.

      Would like to know what the actual costs for going completely solar, not just panels/inverter but storage as well. And not just initial set up, but ongoing costs - like how often do panels need replacing, how long do batteries last and so on.

      Not to forget, how much storage space is actually required for the batteries and what conditions do they need? For example, I have an old two story house (1950s, maybe 60s I think) and the ground floor is a basic concrete floor garage that gets soaked when we have heavy rain. There is literally nowhere on the second floor to put batteries and on the ground floor they risk getting wet regularly.

      Note: That may sound like I don't like the idea, I actually love it. I'd love to be able to get away from the massive hike in power bills we've had lately. I'd just like to know whether it'd actually be trading one expense for another similar one, but with other problems.

      Last edited 08/08/15 9:03 pm

    How do these power packs a) compare to the powerwall for storage capability and b) measure up price wise? Especially regarding the price, as I really want to have a system like this, but am concerned it will not pay itself off in a timely amount of time?

      Our battery pack and inverter cost somewhat less than the projected price of the Tesla one and has the same capacity. Looks very neat in its purpose designed box made by the manufacturer of the system (Nedap). Highly recommended.

    and California-based Sunverge and SunPower
    So, we have more than our fair share of sunshine, plenty of technical know how and a Govt, sorry taxpayer based subsidy for renewable energy, and it still takes an overseas company to do the bloody obvious ?

    Why are they trialling it? We have had such a system for 2 years now and it's brilliant! Everyone should have one!

    If Queensland can get their mini-energy storage units working, I think this could be almost revolutionary for utilies companies all over the world! Can you imagine how much money people would save from having solar panels installed?

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