Do I Need Solar Batteries?

Do I Need Solar Batteries?

Solar Batteries - Do I Need Them?

There’s no doubt about it. The future of renewable energy – even energy in general – lies in solar power. Using solar energy to generate electricity for your home allows you to take charge of your energy consumption in a manner that’s friendlier on the planet and certainly very kind on your wallet! If you’ve decided to choose this energy-efficient, cost-effective alternative to coal generated power, you’ve likely heard about solar batteries. There’s currently a lot of conjecture about whether they are or aren’t a worthwhile investment in 2019, so we decided we’d weigh in on the matter to help you make a more informed decision.

So here’s how to determine whether or not investing in a solar battery is right for you.

What Do Solar Batteries Do?

A standard solar power system doesn’t require a solar battery. By installing solar panels and an inverter only, your household or organisation can generate enough power to consume itself. Alternatively, any excess power that isn’t used can be sent to the shared grid for public use. As a result, you’ll receive a credit on your next electricity bill. It is always preferable to self consume over sending your energy back to the grid, as it is only credited to you at a reduced rate to what you would have saved if you’d actually used it yourself. This reduced rate that is added to your bill as a credit is called the Feed-In Tariff (FIT).

You can read more on this at our recent article on feed-in tariffs.

Adding a solar battery to your solar energy system creates what is called a hybrid system. This means that you are generating your own electricity to use in your home or store in your battery to use at night, as well as still being connected to the main grid for any excess energy that is needed to be used or exported.

All Batteries Aren’t Created Equal

There are many different solar battery brands available, such as Fronius, LG and Tesla – each with their pros and cons regarding capacity, size and lifespan. No matter which one you invest in, you can expect to pay at least $10,000 – and you’ll also need to pay for installation and an inverter that is able to integrate with a solar battery (not all batteries do this – particularly older and cheaper models). The lifespan of your battery will depend on how often you use it, which is measured in cycles. One cycle is how long it takes for a full battery to empty.

Should I Invest In One?

There are a few questions you need to ask yourself before getting a solar battery.

Firstly, you need to take note of how much energy you use. If you’re consuming a lot, a solar battery may not allow you to recoup your investment very quickly – if at all. This is because you negated the impact of a battery by using it all during the day – leaving you with a very expensive piece of wall decoration.

Knowing when you use your electricity the most is another factor, as a battery is ideally suited to those who use more energy at night than during the day. Location is another important aspect you need consider, as different regions and suburbs will offer different FIT rates – with some offering none at all. A standard feed in tariff rate will often see your bill credited a few hundred dollars per quarter, leaving you with a greatly reduced bill to pay. While a battery may have meant you had even less of a bill to pay, it still cost you $10,000+ to install it. So you are still well behind the starting line.

In short – if you are living in an area offering no or an extemely low rebate, then you have nothing to lose!

If your area does have a good FIT – then a solar battery may not yet be the best way to spend your hard earned cash!

Work It Out

For your solar battery to be a worthwhile investment, it will need to pay for itself before your battery warranty expires. This means that your payback time (based on your average estimated usage) needs to be less than the battery’s lifespan. For the average household, this doesn’t work out as being financially savvy.

But Wait…

There is one option you could explore that would see you investing in a solar battery without spending more than it’s worth. As at the 11th of February, 2019, the Queensland Government is currently offering residents who own their home a $3,000 rebate and $10,000 interest free loan as part of the QLD Government Solar Loan and Rebate Scheme. As an approved solar retailer and installer, we can offer this great package to you.

However, there are less than 300 Loan and Grant spots available, so you need to get in quick!

All of our solar energy consultants are professionals who can assist you to ensure a solar battery makes financial sense for you. Give us a call on 1300 969 471 today or use our Get a Quote page to discuss your energy needs!

What Size Solar Energy System Do I Need?

With the cost of solar panels down to their lowest ever pricepoint (and likely the price they will stay at), the cost of electricity increasing, and feed-in tariffs making alternative energy a more attractive option, it’s clear that Aussie families and businesses alike should make the move to solar energy. If you’re in this group, you’ll be wondering foremost how to calculate what size system you will need to meet your energy requirements.

Here’s some things you and your solar energy provider should consider to make the best decision for your energy needs.

What’s On Your Electricity Bill?

Your quarterly electricity bill should provide you with details on your daily usage, which can give you a better understanding of your current needs. For example, the average three-bedroom home in Australia making moderate use of an air-conditioner would require a solar panel system that can generate 12-16kWh per day. With this information, you can calculate how many kW and panels you will need to meet that level of energy generation daily.

Did you know?

If you generate more renewable energy than what you can use and don’t have batteries to store the excess, it can go back into the grid – and you’ll get further compensated via feed-in tariffs!

How Much Electricity Do You Use During The Day?

Some areas of Australia receive more sunlight hours during the day than others – so when it comes to deciding what size solar energy system to install; you should estimate the amount of electricity you use only during the day in order to meet your requirements. Therefore, if your daily usage is 30kWh with two-thirds of that occurring in the day, that means that a 5kW solar system will potentially be more than enough for daily usage in your household – providing you with enough to export a sizable portion back onto the grid and earning feed-in tariffs.

If you were to install a larger solar panel system, you may need to install solar batteries to store the excess power. Without batteries, up to 50% of power generated would go back into the grid – and this would be considered a less successful investment.

If you want to avoid wastage, simply consult with a professional, accredited solar installer like our team here at GEM Energy.

How Many Panels Are Needed To Offset Electricity Usage?

Your utility bill should show how much electricity you have used in that quarter. Do a simple calculation to work out how many kWh you have used in a year and work out your daily usage, by dividing it by 365. For example, a person who used 4000kWh in the year would use about 10kW per day. Depending on their location (for example, Sydney) they’d then divide their usage (10kWh) by Sydney’s 3.9kWh per installed kW – giving them 2.8. This means that this person would need a 2.8kW sized solar power to generate renewable energy living in Sydney.

This method is useful for getting a general idea of what you could expect to use or pay, but if you want an accurate number you can act on and feel confident it will perform as desired, all you need to do is call one our accredited solar energy consultants on 1300 969 471 or visit our Get A Quote page. We’ll take care of the rest!

Why Should I Go Solar In 2019?

Why Should I Go Solar In 2019?

QLD Govt Solar and Battery Grant and Interest Free Loan Header Image

Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions that we have difficulty keeping.

Lose 5 kilos.

Go back and study for our dream jobs.

Save more money.

 

Well, what if we could help you keep that last resolution in 2019 by going solar!?

 

Going solar gives you the opportunity to save money, support the environment and have the assurance you are bringing the New Year in on the right foot. So to kick off your year right, we’ve gone ahead and outlined some of the best reasons why you should go solar in 2019.

Harness free energy for your home

Unlike your energy company – the sun won’t send you a bill for hundreds of dollars every quarter. The sun is freely emitting the valuable energy that can power your home. With 2019 comes some of the warmest days of Summer, which means the use of our fans and air conditioners goes through – and so do our power bills! Even if you’ve lived in your home for many years, it can be hard to predict what your bill will be this quarter.

Beyond simply using your air conditioner more, your children are all a year older, the cost of energy has changed and so have many of your other habits around the home.

However, even just a small, quality 4kW system (such as Sunpower or Q-Cells panels with a Fronius inverter) could have you saving $890 per year on energy costs. Combine this with the power of sending any of your excess energy back to the grid for a further credit – you can negate almost all of your previous energy spend and do your bit for the environment.

 

You can read more about rebates and feed in tariffs for solar energy systems here.

 

Switching to solar is so in right now

When you choose to go solar in 2019 – you are certainly not alone! From high profile Australian organisations such as Australia Zoo, PCYC and UnitingCare through to the 1,500 everyday Australian families we installed for in 2018; this technology is for everyone! The price of modules has dropped 75% in the past five years alone due to widespread popularity and more refined designs.  More than 9,500 panels are installed here in Australia each and every day – so make sure you’re one of the next to join them in 2019.

Get paid by the government to go solar

The Federal Government has long recognized the changing tide of energy consumption and the need for renewable energy sources. The Government offers incentives such as Small-scale technology certificates (STCs) and feed in tariffs (FIT).  The amount of small scale technology certificates that will accompany the installation of your solar PV system will depend on the generated solar power and how it offsets your electricity consumption over its lifespan. Usually, for a 5kW system, you will be granted 103 STC’s, valuing at $38 each, equating to an immediate discount of up to $3,708.  These certificates imitate rebates, but instead will be given to your solar system supplier and can cover 20%-30% of the systems cost. You will not need to pay this large amount up front, and then wait to be reimbursed at a later date – which is a huge bonus.

Even the State Governments are now getting on board to contribute! As of the time of writing this article in January 2019, both the Queensland and Victorian Governments have Solar and Solar Battery Schemes in place that are subsidizing or providing interest free loans for the installation of solar.

Oh, and did we mention your power company will pay you as well?

Keep in mind that you may also be qualified, depending on the excess electricity you supply to the grid, for reimbursement from your electricity company. If you go solar, you can receive up to 10 cents per extra kWh that you do not use for your own personal electrical needs. This energy is instead sent back to the energy grid for public consumption, and you are credited the amount on your next bill.  There is a high probability that your already cut down electricity bill will also include compensation for the energy you produced.

Increase the value of your home

Stepping into 2019 brings even more technological advances in home innovation. Whether you are considering selling your home in the next few years or want your house to age gracefully and hold up competitively in future markets – solar panels have evolved beyond being environmentally sustainable eyesores and morphed into a sleek exterior addition to your home. Newer panels have higher wattage per panel, meaning you need less on your roof. They also look better, with a choice of colour between blue and black and often lasting longer before fading. Over 19% of Australian homeowners have now installed a solar power system. It is estimated that for each kW installed, your home increases by $6000 in value. This means that if you install a standard 5kW system, this decision can boost your eventual sale value by $30,000.  People will flock to buy your home with the added bonus of low energy bills without the hassle of having to save for or install them themselves. Your home may not stay on the market long, since it is 20% more likely that a home with solar panels will sell – and sell fast!

So, why should I go solar in 2019 exactly?

Take your pick! We know the process of switching from traditional energy sources to solar power can seem a daunting task – but the numerous long term effects of switching to a solar powered lifestyle can create a huge impact financially. GEM Energy is the trusted authority when it comes to solar energy for residential and commercial application in Australia. We’ll give you the best advice on making your solar energy system work for you and provide you the best return on your investment. Start your 2019 off right and give us a call on 1300 969 471 or get a quote today.

Jack Hooper’s Insightful Visit to Hanwha Q CELLS in Korea

Jack Hooper’s Insightful Visit to Hanwha Q CELLS in Korea

Jack Hooper’s Insightful Visit to Hanwha Q CELLS in Korea

Jack Hooper at Hanwha Q CELLS Manufacturing in Korea

We’re serious about delivering quality products to our clients.

As an award-winning company and one of the largest producers of solar panels in the world, you may have heard of or even own Hanwha Q CELLS solar panels. The company is world-renowned for their dedication to quality, a trait which GEM Energy shares and that has fostered a great partnership over the years. After all, the Q in Q CELLS stands for quality.

In October 2018, our CEO, Jack Hooper, visited the company’s new state of the art manufacturing facility in Seoul, Korea and we’ve decided to transparently share his process, feedback and the conclusions he drew post-inspection of the facility.

 

The History of Q CELLS

Q CELLS have long been a leader in the solar panel manufacturing industry, this year winning the Top Brand PV Seal in Australia for the third consecutive year in a row, and due to their high-quality bill of materials and best in class manufacturing facilities, Q CELLS products have continued to be some of GEM Energy’s preferred products. Historically, Q CELLS products have been renowned for their exceptional German manufacturing process, leading technological breakthroughs and proven performance in the field. When Q CELLS were acquired by the Hanwha corporation in 2012 it was announced that manufacturing would begin in Korea and China. Many expected a decline in the prestige and quality of the product, which is simply not the case.

Hanwha and Q CELLS held an event in Seoul, Korea for their top customers globally and as GEM Energy are among these companies, we had the privilege of being invited to inspect the manufacturing process and technology behind the new Q CELLS Q PEAK DUO 325w solar panel.

 

Our Demonstrable Dedication to Quality

GEM Energy takes quality assurance very seriously and this inspection of the facility and the new technologies behind the Q PEAK DUO demonstrates our dedication to ensuring that we supply our customers with only the best products on the market. We go further than looking at spec sheets, we visually inspect the manufacturing and R&D centres of our major partners.

In 2018, the GEM management staff conducted inspections for the Inverter manufacturing facilities of SolarEdge in Israel, Fronius in Austria and Huawei in China. We’ve also inspected Solar Panel manufacturing plants of Q CELLS in Korea, the Sumec Phono Solar facility in China and will be visiting the Canadian Solar factory in China in November 2018 to spend 2 days inspecting the solar cell manufacturing, module manufacturing and to spend time with the Canadian Solar engineers to discuss key product differences and the roadmap for future technologies.

Jack’s Visit To The New Facility

This trip provided Jack with an opportunity to inspect the new Q CELLS manufacturing site where he was able to assess the latest Q CELLS solar modules and the manufacturing process behind them. He was able to see and understand what goes into the creation of these products very closely, constantly evaluating the products to ensure they meet GEM Energy’s high standards. The state of the art technology and excellent personnel at the new facility left a great impression on Jack, thus his feedback from the visit was incredibly positive.

Jack is obviously limited to exactly what he can share with about the factory but the precision, cleanliness and efficiency of the plant has been most impressive.

Hanwha Q CELLS Module Production Plant

The Conclusion?

Jacks conclusion is that Q CELLS continue to set the benchmark for other manufacturers on delivering leading-edge technology and value for money. Our confidence in the brand has absolutely been maintained if not strengthened by the visit and we’re delighted by the fact that we can trust these panels on Aussie homes and businesses. This confidence is furthered by the fact that Hanwha is one of Korea’s biggest and financially strong companies, which confirms that they are a bankable brand that is here to support warranties in the long term.

If you have any questions about the Q CELLS solar panels or would like more information, please contact us at info@gemenergy.com.au

Look No Further. Get Started Today. 

The Top Countries Moving Towards Renewable Energy

The Top Countries Moving Towards Renewable Energy

A bird’s eye view of a large solar energy farm with solar panels covering many of the hills

With non-renewable fossil fuel supplies running out and the world’s energy needs increasing, many countries are looking at alternative ways to produce sustainable energy. One of the top contenders for renewable energy is solar power, which is available all over the planet.

Currently, solar power plants use two types of technology to harness the sun’s energy:

  • Photovoltaic – uses the solar panels and is the cheapest and most popular method.
  • Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) – uses solar thermal energy from large mirrors or lenses to make steam, which is then converted to electricity using a turbine.

Photovoltaic (PV) Systems

The photovoltaic system has gone from a niche market of small-scale applications in 1992 to the cheapest and most-often used technology for generating solar energy. China, the United States, and India were the top three installers of PV systems, while Honduras has the capacity to produce 12.5% of its electricity needs using PV systems.

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)

Spain and the United States are the biggest users of Concentrated Solar Power, with the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility in California being the biggest facility in the world. However, the technology can’t compete with the reduced operating costs and huge growth of photovoltaic systems in recent years.

China

With its huge population and recent increased need for energy, it’s not surprising that China is the biggest installer of photovoltaic and CSP systems. Solar power is one of the largest industries in China with three of the top four PV power stations, and the world’s biggest in Tengger Desert Solar Park.

United States

The United States has some of the world’s largest solar power stations, as well a high number of rooftop solar panel installations. The industry has seen rapid growth in recent years with the decreasing costs of installations and components. At the end of 2017, the U.S had over 50 GW of installed solar capacity and was in the top four countries for the most solar PV installed.

India

In 2017, India added 9,255 MW of solar power to its solar program, with another 9,627 MW of solar projects under development, making them the third largest solar power producer in the world. The Indian government’s goal is to reach 100 GW of installed solar capacity by 2022. Several of India’s large grid-scale solar parks are among the world’s largest.

Japan

Japan is the world’s biggest manufacturer of solar panels, and is the second on the list of countries with the most solar PV installed. It currently produces 2.5% of its electricity needs using solar power.

Australia

Here in Australia, we’re in the top ten for solar PV installations and CSP capacities. We have over 7,803 megawatts (MW) of installed photovoltaic (PV) solar power, with the largest solar power station being Nyngan Solar Plant, which was also the largest in the southern hemisphere when completed. Our rooftop solar panel industry is also growing rapidly.

Israel

Since there is no oil in Israel, finding an alternative source of energy is a national priority. This quest, and Israel’s plentiful sunshine, has advanced their solar technology to be almost cost-competitive with non-renewable fossil fuels, and they’re working with the rest of the world to move solar technology forward.

Leading the Way in Solar Power Solutions

GEM Energy is Australia’s leading provider of turn-key renewable energy solutions. Call us on 1300 969 471 or enquire online about switching to clean, free solar power.

Do You Need Battery Storage?

Do You Need Battery Storage?

Absolyte Batteries

Generating electricity from the sun is a cost effective alternative to electricity generated from fossil fuels. However, what about when the sun goes down at the end of each day? Can you still generate electricity, or do you have to rely on power from the main grid?

Without solar batteries to store excess power generated during the day, the excess is usually fed back into the main electricity grid. By doing this, you receive a credit on your next power bill from your power company. However, this credit most often paid to you at a far lower rate than the saving you could have made if you’d used the energy yourself. So wouldn’t it be better to cut out the main grid altogether and store your solar power for use at night or cloudy days?

Storing Excess Solar Power for Later Use

Many people aren’t home when most of their solar power is generated – during the day. They come home at the end of a long day at work, and that’s when electricity usage increases. By storing all that solar power in batteries, you’re able to take advantage of all the free electricity your solar panels generate. Once the sun goes down and solar energy production stops, your home will switch to using the power stored in the batteries, making your solar energy system much more efficient and cost-effective.

The Best Reason to Use Battery Storage

When your solar energy system generates more power than you use, it feeds back into the main grid, and you’re paid for it in the form of a credit on your power bill. At night, you’ll need to use power from the main grid, but you’ll pay much more for it than what you were paid for your excess solar power. This means you’re buying back your own energy at inflated prices. A much better way is to store your own solar power in batteries and use it at night.

Reduce Your Dependence on the Grid

If you have a solar energy system installed, it makes no sense to have your excess solar energy fed back into the grid. After all, you switched to solar power to save money. By using batteries to store your excess power, you can drastically reduce your power bills and become almost independent from the main grid, which, let’s face it, can be overpriced and unreliable.

What Size Battery Do You Need?

When considering battery storage for your solar power, you need to speak to an expert who can work out the best size for your needs. It’s not a case of buying the biggest battery; the best battery for you is one that stores just enough solar power without overflow. Both residential and commercial solar energy systems can benefit from battery storage, with commercial batteries needing to be much bigger for increased energy storage.

Expert Advice from the Solar Energy Professionals

No matter what your energy needs are, battery storage is becoming the most efficient way to take advantage of free energy from the sun. Talk to GEM Energy about all your solar power needs. Call 1300 969 471 or contact us online.

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