Frequently Asked Questions
The solar industry is still very new to many consumers and a lot of questions are being asked. Below you will find answers to commonly asked questions that will hopefully help in your information search.
What are the benefits of a solar battery?
The purpose of a solar storage battery is to keep the excess power your solar panels generate for another time when your household needs to most; maximising your household consumption of solar power.
By using more of your solar you will be reducing your network costs, controlling when you use power and how much you pay for it.
With backup solutions available you can keep the lights on if you lose power. Providing stored power to necessary appliances such as your fridge, lights and Wi-Fi you can have peace of mind during power outages.
How do I choose the correct battery size for my home?
With so many sizes, brands and setups on the market to is hard to know what you need, especially in a relatively new market. There are a couple of key figures you will need to know to evaluate your household energy needs and storage capacity suitability:
- Size of your current solar PV system
- The amount of energy your household is consuming and at what times of day is it being consumed
- Your feed-in-tariff (FIT)
- The appliances you regularly use and when
By identifying household consumption and patterns compared to the solar PV system generation, allows the gap to be recognised and a clear battery recommendation to be made. With the wide variety of battery capacities and systems available it is easy to set up a system to make your house run as efficiently as possible.
The Eveready® Energy Vault is a modular battery system, starting at 5.1 kWh of storage, expandable to a whopping 20.4 kWh.
How can I manage my battery and energy usage?
The use of an energy management system can help you monitor when you’re using power from your solar PV system, from the battery and from the grid. Helping you control your energy usage and stepping closer to neutralising your bill.
All mobile applicable, you can monitor what’s going on at home, anytime from anywhere.
Can I save money with a solar battery?
By using more of your solar generated power instead of sending it back to the grid at a low tariff (FIT) and paying peak rates when the sun goes down, a solar battery will save you money from day one.
A lot of households across Australia are not home during the day or at least use minimal power during this time. Unfortunately, this is when your solar panels generate power. With a solar battery you can keep this power for when you get home and need it the most.
Additionally, this means you are using your stored power instead of paying higher peak rates through the evening.
Is solar battery storage safe?
Yes they are. Although the solar battery industry is new, many of the companies manufacturing them have been working with batteries for countless applications since the invention of the battery itself. When installed by a certified solar technician you can have peace of mind your home and family are safe.
Can I connect a solar battery to my current solar PV system?
Yes you can. The Eveready® Energy Vault solar battery can be added to your existing solar PV system and household’s need. The ability to expand the Eveready® Energy Vault from 5.1 kWh to 20.4 kWh gives you the option to grow your storage needs to suit your home’s usage.
On some occasions accessories may be needed to be connected to ensure compatibility of the solar PV and battery systems, however no modifications are required to the current system.
Can I go off-grid?
The short answer to this question is that unless your electricity usage is minimal (around 5-15 kilowatt-hours per day), it’s not very easy to disconnect from the grid and still have all the comforts (and/or necessities) you’re accustomed to.
Additionally, in most metro areas a grid connection is required for occupancy. This is why we focus on neutralising our customers’ bills, helping them reach a minimal payment to their utility provider with a maximised use of their own solar produced.
How long does a battery charge last?
A fully-charged medium-sized system could store sufficient energy to power your lights and lower-powered items like your fridge-freezer, TV and laptop during the evening. Over four or five hours, all of these together will use at most a few “units” or kiloWatt-hours (kWh), of electricity.
What can I do to save energy and make the most of my solar?
When investing in solar there are household behaviours that you and your family can introduce to get the most out of your solar PV system. It is important to understand any FIT (feed-in-tariff) or buyback scheme you have associated with your system, as this will play a part in determining the changes you should make.
A few tips to reduce your energy usage are:
- Television, computer, gaming console, microwave and washing machine can consume power in STANDBY MODE. If you are not regularly using these appliances, switch them off at the power point when not in use, or when you go away for a period of time.
- Only use extra appliances when needed. That extra fridge or freezer you have in your garage that contains drinks, or perhaps only a few items could be costing you over $100.00 per year to run. In peak times like summer when you need storage for extra drinks and food, turn on your spare fridge, then consolidate your items into one fridge/freezer as the seasons change and you no longer need the extra space.
- While we are talking FRIDGES, increase your fridge and freezer temperature by 1-3 degrees. This will still ensure your food remains fresh, but will impact your overall energy bill. Additionally, this works on your HOT WATER. By decreasing the setting by 3-4 degrees you will decrease the systems energy consumption and in most instances, you will not notice the difference.
- If you are on a lower FIT use your major appliances during daylight hours. If you have a TIMER on your dishwasher, clothes dryer or washing machine use it to your benefit and run when your solar system is supplying the power. If your appliances do not have a timer it would be recommended you invest in a model that does next time you are in the market for a new product.
- Check your appliances for DEFECTS/FAULTS. Something as simple as a broken seal on your refrigerator or freezer could result in excessive power usage as your whitegoods are working overtime to reduce temperatures.
- We love a good DISHWASHER! Over the years dishwashers have improved substantially, however we haven’t really evolved in the way we use them. Stop rinsing your dishes almost clean before loading them into the dishwasher, a quick scrape of excess food is enough, saving you both water and time. Only use the dishwasher when full and a short cycle is enough for most loads. Do not use the drying feature if you are not home as they will dry before you unload it anyway. And as mentioned before, if you have a timer make it work for you.
- Don’t use a computer SCREEN SAVER, this is costing you money. Rather than have your computer default to a screen saver change your settings to have the screen switch off completely. Sleep mode only uses approximately 10% of the power required to run a screen saver.
- Choose an ENERGY-EFFICIENT appliance! The basic rule is, the more stars the better! New whitegoods are an expensive outlay initially and better star ratings are often more expensive, however your additional expense when purchasing will provide you larger savings long-term.
- Most Australian households use their WASHING MACHINE daily and in some instances, do many smaller loads. Where possible, hold off a day or so and do one larger load rather than 2-3 smaller loads. Always wash your clothes in cold water, it could be saving you almost $1.00 per load. Today’s detergents do a great job cleaning in cold water, so you should only do a hot water cycle for the dirtiest of loads. Top loaders vs front loaders is a hot topic but the truth is, a front loader (in most cases) uses a lot less energy, water and detergent. If you’re not passionate either way, consider switching to a front loader when you next upgrade.
- Some of us would be lost without our CLOTHES DRYER but the truth is, they are one of the more expensive appliances to run and are often not even necessary to be used. To reduce the cost of using your dryer, clean your lint filter after every load. This will assist in the longevity and mechanics of your dryer but will also avoid your dryer running overtime. Try and dry heavy fabrics separately to lights and set your dryer to shut off with the moisture sensor setting (often referred to as ‘normal’). Never add wet items to a cycle that is midway through. Use a clothes horse during winter when you have the heater running, or the clothes line in summer! Once again, if you have a timer, daylight hours for drying so your solar can pay the bill (suitable for lower FIT).
- Where possible, ZONE off areas of your house for heating and cooling. It is common for home owners to set one temperature for the entire home, even for rooms they will not be using. Many ducted heating, cooling and split systems have zone control which could reduce your energy costs significantly. If you are using a heater situated in one room/space, close doors to areas that do not need heating, such as spare bedrooms.
- Try to pre-empt when AIR CONDITIONING and HEATING is required. If you can turn these on before it is significantly hot or cold they will be able to run more efficiently, reducing the power usage by only requiring to maintain the temperature.
- DRAUGHT-PROOF your home! It sounds simple but a small runner (or, even a towel) below your doors can significantly maintain the temperature of your home. This is an important tip whenever you have your heater or air conditioner running.