Game changer: Solar panels, Batteries plus Efficiency

Tesla batteries

Tesla is now taking orders for the “Powerwall”, a wall-mounted energy storage unit that can hold 10 kilowatt hours of electric energy, and deliver it at an average of 2 kilowatts, for US$3,500 plus installation. …

The sun doesn’t shine at night and the wind doesn’t blow year-round. The transience of renewables has meant people could say that renewables would be “nice” if only they came with storage. Now they do.

The Conversation: 5 May 2015
John Mathews: Professor Macquarie University

Households to reap profits from stored solar power

Australian households with solar panels and home battery storage will have the ability to make money from selling stored electricity into the wholesale power market. … The technology allows consumers in theory to access prices … that can reach as high as $13 a kilowatt-hour, 200 times the normal feed-in tariff they would receive from surplus power from their rooftops flowing into the grid.  This is via a tie-up between Australian technology start-up Reposit Power and US electric car and battery supplier Tesla.

We need efficient appliances and buildings too

The game changer is when we combine:

  • rooftop solar and
  • battery storage with
  • efficient appliances and buildings

We need much less energy with efficient appliances:

  • The best LED 100 cm television now uses 30 watts, compared with an old plasma TV that uses up to 400 watts.
  • The best reverse-cycle air conditioner provides heating at a sixth of the cost of an electric fan heater.
  • LED lighting is delivering up to 80% energy savings. And so it goes on.

Combining an energy-efficient building with efficient appliances makes an even bigger difference. My 7-star reverse cycle air conditioner cools and heats my 35 square metre insulated and shaded living room on a 38C or 10C day using less than 250 watts – equivalent to just four halogen downlights, a reduction of over 90%. No hair shirts here as I bank the savings!

The Conversation 6 May 2015
Alan Pears: RMIT University

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