Energy storage – what could be its downfall?

By in Manufacturing, Technology
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Introduction of energy storage for homes and business is a truly exciting step in the evolution of the distribution and consumption of energy.

With global technology innovators like Tesla, LG Chem, Samsung, Panasonic, Aquion, Lishen and RedFlow all bringing products to the world and focusing on Australia as their launching stage – tells you that Australia has captured the attention of renewable energy innovators and enthusiasts around the globe, why?

  • Nation-wide high retail cost of electricity.
  • Australia’s leadership position of having one of the highest penetrations of residential solar per capita in the world.

This opportunity is for us to demonstrate to the world how the average family home can take action in being conscious about the way they generate, harvest their energy needs and demonstrate how an empowered homeowner can have a seat at the table of the traditional big energy companies.

The advantages of this shift is predicted to create new ways of thinking about how we create our buildings, but ultimately how we can cut the umbilical cord of traditional services and live in a new societal era.

Below are some factors that should be properly considered before signing up to a new storage solution:

  • Although batteries have been in use with off-grid solar system for a long time, many of the new offers are new to many markets and do not have a lot of real-world testing information.
  • Everything is about ‘energy density and discharge’. For every dollar you spend, the more you can store and the quicker you can access is essential.
  • The cost of storage is considerably high and the Return On Investments (ROIs) are high at the moment. It is expected to be more competitive in the coming years.
  • As ROIs are the economic driver to make this solution viable, the performance of your grid-connected solar system (ie, your free contribution of energy from the sun) is paramount to maximizing your ROIs and its longevity.
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The majority of system owners are identifying the system performance by the cost and/or savings of their electricity bills, which can be vague.

Consider it like buying a car without a speedometer or fuel gauge, and you’re determining your performance based on your end of month credit card bill statement, your fuel bill is $450/month and you’ve recorded 23 hours spent in your car! The statement doesn’t show you the cost of fuel at each refill, the efficiency of each journey or any data that could suggest how you could make it more efficient.

Now, if you’re considering adding a storage solution, with it you might learn a lot more about your energy usage pattern, the amount that is delivered from your solar system and its performance compared with the energy sourced from the grid.

The grid is a constant which you can expect to charge you within the regulatory framework of pricing a rate for a period of the day, but you’re probably going to be hopeful that the solar system you have installed will generate the majority of your power needs, ensuring that the sun’s energy is filling up the batteries (for free) and not the grid.

Which is of course true, if you know whether the system is performing specifically and if its generation is align with the expectations made at the time of sale. If not, perhaps it’s prudent to get it checked.

There are a number of factors that can affect solar system performance over time, which can include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Obstruction of solar PV modules
    • Shading
    • Stick, twigs, leaves or bird droppings
  • Defects within the PV module
    • Yellow backsheet
    • Shattered glass
    • Connector fault or failures
  • Isolator failures
    • Burns out
    • Water ingress
  • Inverter
    • Over voltage trips
    • Over heating
  • Under-Performance

How do you know? What can you do?

Just like your car, if it’s not performing you should seek out a qualified (accredited) technician to conduct a series of checks. At conclusion, they’ll call you with their analysis and provide you a report. Your solar PV system should be no different, except to date there has been no standard or regulation for the assessment or verification of solar systems.

With a large market and many experts – there is a simple way to check with confidence. We have developed a specialized training program where accredited installers are trained, tested and accredited in the skills of fault-finding and maintenance of grid-connected solar systems.

Yingli Solar, which has been a quality and innovation leader since 1987 continues to strive in its delivery of providing “Affordable Green Energy for All™” If you’re interested in finding out whether your solar system is ready for storage – contact us to arrange a system assessment.

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