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Rooftop solar systems are getting bigger, and now average 8.7kW

Australian households are going big on solar in the rush to install before the end of the 2020-21 financial year, pushing the average size of rooftop systems around the country to a record high of 8.7kW.

Industry statistician SunWiz said in its latest monthly report on the state of the nation’s rooftop solar market that 282MW of small-scale systems under the size of 100kW were installed over the month of June, bucking market predictions of a decline in activity by just a 2 per cent rise over May.

This keeps Australian on track to deliver a new annual installation record of around 3.5GW, with the current tally for small-scale solar installed sitting at 14.8GW for 2021 so far, roughly 23 per cent ahead of this time last year.

Leading the way on installations is NSW, which notched up another 87MW of rooftop solar installations for the month, taking the state to a grand total of 3.8GW of capacity and bringing it within reach of the so-called “sunshine state,” Queensland, which added 74MW for a total of 4.07GW.

Victoria added 58MW in June and now has 2.9GW of rooftop solar, while Western Australia added 30MW to take it to 1.8GW. South Australia, where rooftop solar has at times accounted for 100 per cent of state demand, added a further 23MW for the month, taking it to 1.65GW installed in total.

Small commercial growth was also a feature of the month, with “a dramatic increase in capacity installed within the 15kW to 100kW range,” according to Sunwiz director Warwick Johnston. Victoria was “particularly strong” in the 30kW to 100kW market, Johsnton added.

The post Rooftop solar systems are getting bigger, and now average 8.7kW appeared first on Solar Choice.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.whsolarcommunity.com/?p=1191

10kW Solar Power Systems: Price, Output & Payback

10kW solar systems are a great investment for Australian homes with high levels of electricity consumption or businesses with relatively small electricity needs. This article takes a look at 10kW solar system pricing, energy production and returns in Australia.

How many panels & how much roof space for a 10kW solar system?

Most residential solar panels have a output rating of 330W to 400W meaning a 10kW system will need 25-30 solar panels and will require about 80 m2 of roof space. More efficient solar panels will reduce the roof space required and typically cost more as they are utilising newer technologies.

How much does a 10kW Solar System cost?

Solar Choice publishes a monthly Solar PV Price Index that tracks average pricing trends in every capital city in Australia. According to Solar Choice’s own data, the average 10kW solar system price in Australia as of November 2021 is about $0.91 per watt – or about $9,090 after the federal STC rebate is deducted.

The graph below provides a snapshot of price trends for 10kW solar systems in capital cities around the country. You can see that the price has come down significantly over the last decade but has remained relatively flat for the last few years.

10kW Solar System cost history - Solar Choice price index

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25%Is MobileAre you looking for residential or commercial solar solutions?ResidentialCommercialBusiness NameWhich quotes would you like to compare?Solar EnergySolar Energy and Battery StorageBattery Storage OnlyDo you know what size system you would like to install?1kW to 4kW5kW to 7kW8kW and AboveNot sureDo you know what size system you would like to install?Uncertain1-5kWh6-10kWh11-15kWh16-20kWhDo you know what size system you would like to install?Under 30kw30 to 100kW100 to 1MWOver 1MWNot sureWhen do you want to make a decision?Now1 – 3 MonthsWithin 12 MonthsWhat stage are you at with your investigations?Just getting startedAlready done some research into solarReceived Quotes AlreadyWhat is the address of the proposed installation?This information is used to identify your roof and the local pre-vetted installers to include in your online quote comparison.Full AddressStreet AddressCityStateNSWVICACTNTQLDSATASWAPostcodeContact NameFull NameFirst NameLast NameEmail AddressMobile NumberUpload a recent power bill (optional)Drop files here or Accepted file types: pdf.ConsentYes I’m happy to receive contact from up to 3 installers to finalise their quoteAffiliate CodeStatsCommentsThis field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.jQuery(document).ready(function($){gformInitSpinner( 32, ‘https://www.solarchoice.net.au/wp-content/themes/solarchoice/img/btn-ajax-loader.gif’ );jQuery(‘#gform_ajax_frame_32’).on(‘load’,function(){var contents = jQuery(this).contents().find(‘*’).html();var is_postback = contents.indexOf(‘GF_AJAX_POSTBACK’) >= 0;if(!is_postback){return;}var form_content = jQuery(this).contents().find(‘#gform_wrapper_32’);var is_confirmation = jQuery(this).contents().find(‘#gform_confirmation_wrapper_32’).length > 0;var is_redirect = contents.indexOf(‘gformRedirect(){‘) >= 0;var is_form = form_content.length > 0 && ! is_redirect && ! is_confirmation;var mt = parseInt(jQuery(‘html’).css(‘margin-top’), 10) + parseInt(jQuery(‘body’).css(‘margin-top’), 10) + 100;if(is_form){jQuery(‘#gform_wrapper_32’).html(form_content.html());if(form_content.hasClass(‘gform_validation_error’)){jQuery(‘#gform_wrapper_32’).addClass(‘gform_validation_error’);} else {jQuery(‘#gform_wrapper_32’).removeClass(‘gform_validation_error’);}setTimeout( function() { /* delay the scroll by 50 milliseconds to fix a bug in chrome */ }, 50 );if(window[‘gformInitDatepicker’]) {gformInitDatepicker();}if(window[‘gformInitPriceFields’]) {gformInitPriceFields();}var current_page = jQuery(‘#gform_source_page_number_32’).val();gformInitSpinner( 32, ‘https://www.solarchoice.net.au/wp-content/themes/solarchoice/img/btn-ajax-loader.gif’ );jQuery(document).trigger(‘gform_page_loaded’, [32, current_page]);window[‘gf_submitting_32’] = false;}else if(!is_redirect){var confirmation_content = jQuery(this).contents().find(‘.GF_AJAX_POSTBACK’).html();if(!confirmation_content){confirmation_content = contents;}setTimeout(function(){jQuery(‘#gform_wrapper_32’).replaceWith(confirmation_content);jQuery(document).trigger(‘gform_confirmation_loaded’, [32]);window[‘gf_submitting_32’] = false;}, 50);}else{jQuery(‘#gform_32’).append(contents);if(window[‘gformRedirect’]) {gformRedirect();}}jQuery(document).trigger(‘gform_post_render’, [32, current_page]);} );} ); 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How much energy will a 10kW Solar System generate?

Depending a number of factors, the actual power output of a 10kW solar power system will vary. These variables include:

-Geographic location (e.g. Darwin generates much more energy than Hobart)

–Orientation and tilt angle of the solar panel array

–Whether there is any shade cast on the panels

-Operating temperature of the panels

The table below gives indicative figures for how many kilowatt-hours of energy a north-facing 10kW solar system will generate per day (on average throughout the year) in Australia’s capital cities.

10kW solar system output by capital city (per day)Adelaide36 – 41 kWhBrisbane 39 – 41 kWhCanberra36 – 41 kWhDarwin42 – 46 kWhHobart29 – 33 kWhMelbourne31 – 36 kWhPerth40 – 44 kWhSydney34 – 38 kWh

*(Data ranges via PVWatts & Bureau of Meteorology, assuming 75% system efficiency for a north-facing array tilted at 30 degrees)

Is a 10kW solar system right for you?

10kW solar systems are on the large side for residential installations (where 5kW to 6.6kW is much more common). So as mentioned above, 10kW systems tend to be most appropriate for homes with significant amounts of daytime electricity consumption (or businesses with about 40kWh of daytime usage). They may also be a good size choice for homes who have low electricity consumption and want to go off-grid (see: “Can I go off-grid with a 10kW solar system?“)

The table below should give you some idea about whether or not a 10kW system may be well-suited to your needs – or if a better system size might be a better match. We recommend that you self-consume at least 30% of the the solar energy that your system produces.

Solar PV system sizing table no batteries

Remember: The table above is a highly generalised, indicative guide; it does not take into account your location or the tilt & orientation of your roof. If you’d like to take a more detailed look, use our Solar PV System Payback Estimator or our Simple Solar System Sizing Estimator.

Also keep in mind that your network company may have a default limit on solar system size – they may not allow you to connect a system larger than 5kW to the grid without extra paperwork and inspections.

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What is the financial return for a 10kW Solar System?

These days solar feed-in tariff credits are a secondary benefit from having a solar system installed. Instead,  you’ll derive the most value out of your self-generated solar energy by ‘self-consuming‘ it – using as much energy as possible directly. Because solar feed-in tariff rates are generally lower than what you’ll pay for energy from the grid, the more solar energy you use yourself, the more you’ll save; meanwhile, the excess solar will flow into the grid and earn you credits which help to reduce your overall bill.

The table below gives a rough overview of the difference between retail electricity rates and solar feed-in rates by city, based on some of the most competitive offers available.

Grid electricity price vs 10kW Solar feed in tariff rate

Payback Period for 10kW solar systems by capital city

The table below takes a look at payback times and internal rate of return (IRR) for those who install a 10kW solar system in select cities at two rates of self-consumption – low (30%) and high (60%) for a household that uses 35kWh of electricity per day at the rates listed in the table above. If you manage to achieve even higher self-consumption rates, the returns will look more favourable.

Indicative payback periods for 10kW solar systems 10kW System CostElectricity PriceFeed in RateSelf Consumption RateIRRAnnual SavingsPayback Period (Years)Sydney$7,76025c5c30%19%$1,4655.260%31%$2,3273.3Brisbane$8,81018c5c30%14%$1,2546.960%21%$1,8224.7Melbourne$8,03027.5c6c30%20%$1,5964.960%33%$2,5253.1Perth$8,81028.8c7c30%22%$1,9404.560%34%$2,8863.0Adelaide$8,13031c10c30%24%$1,9393.160%38%$2,9782.7Hobart$10,08027c8.5c30%17%$1,6805.960%26%$2,4964.0Canberra$7,41020c7c30%20%$1,4675.060%29%$2,0453.6Darwin$13,67026c8c30%15%$2,0506.560%22%$2,8424.7

Assumptions:

Average daily energy use = 35 kWh10kW System cost is the average price for a fully installed turnkey systemExcludes state-based solar grants / rebates (e.g. Solar Victoria rebate)

Our assumptions not accurate for you? Calculate your own specifics with our Free Solar Payback Calculator

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© 2019 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

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Pylon Observer: Australian Solar Design Software

pylon observer homepage

Some of you may be familiar with a software company called Pylon Observer which has made a name for itself in the solar panel industry.

In 2016 they managed to raise some seed investment funding and have gone from strength to strength since then with their flagship product Solar Design.

This clever tool enables solar installers to design high resolution sales proposals for prospective customers using aerial imagery. This includes real Google Maps of a prospective customer’s rooftop overlaid with their preferred solar panel brand, year-round shading analysis and much more.

Let’s take a look at the workflow and benefits of Pylon Observer more closely:

Step1 – Create a new project:

pylon house map

You simply search for your customer’s address in the search bar.

This displays an auto address function for ease of use.

Once the location is confirmed you can then move onto placing solar panels.

Step 2 – Design your system:

pylon map house

You can choose from over 3,000 pre-existing solar panel brands from Pylon Observer’s database.

If you tend to use a specific brand often, you can set it to your favourites.

Then you simply drag and drop your solar panel onto the rooftop.

Once that is done, you then make some adjustments according to your specifications. This includes adjusting the tilt of the panels, orientation.

A really convenient feature is the ability to copy and paste a set of panels that you’ve already designed. This is handy if you’ve designed a row of panels on one side of the roof and want to replicate that on the other side.

Step 3 – Modify system configurations:

pylon map house

At this stage, you’ll see a snapshot of your completed design in the top-right corner.

You can also see the production estimate charts for each month.

Simply input the final price of the installation and then the dashboard will spit out a few financial figures. These are discounted payback period, return on investment, net present value and internal rate of return.

Another useful feature is the ability to include an STC price for the final invoice.

Just like the solar panel database in step 1, there’s also an inverter section which you can use to search for your selected brand.

The developers have even built in a load profile. This is where you can input the customer’s estimated self consumption and the tool will show their load, solar production and export back into the grid.

Once you’re finished then you can export the proposal directly to the customer’s email where they’ll be able to e-sign.

Other notable features:

pylon map house

In 2021, Pylon Observer released a shading analysis tool which enables users to obtain a year-round analysis of the effects of shading caused by trees and pylons all year round and time of day.

The advantage of this was that now solar installers could predict the shading of solar panels throughout the year, as opposed to just a static point in time.

For example, if a photo was taken at 12pm, it is hard to make a prediction of what a shadow is going to look like at 4pm.

This enhanced shading analysis also helps solar installers improve their compliance with regulations that they must be with solar panel installations.

This SaaS based business also integrates with a CRM which a sales team can use to track their solar proposals with prospects.

For people that are interested in trying out this tool, they offer a free demo for up to 5 installations here.

Solar Choice is Integrated to Pylon Observer via an API

Solar Choice’s secure API enables information on customers and specific projects to be automatically populated in Pylon Observer. For a salesman in residential or commercial solar, you can be expected to recreate a proposal many times a day. A tedious part of this process is copying across customer names and project information from different sources. Through a smart API connection solar companies who receive leads from Solar Choice can have their lead information automatically populated into their project on Pylon Observer making the process more efficient for the salesman and reducing the risk of errors.

Each solar company on Solar Choice has a unique API key which means they can strictly only access data they have already received on Solar Choice’s platform where the customer has provided consent to interact directly with them.

Contact your account manager at Solar Choice or Pylon Observer to discuss getting this set up. Click here to learn more about receiving leads from Solar Choice

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Residential Solar PV Price Index – July 2021

Average residential solar system prices remains at the level of $0.92 per watt ($/W) this month on the back of several factors, including changes to the composition of the Solar Choice installer network and updated pricing from installers that we work with. We have now removed 1.5kW, 2kW and added 6kW to our Price Index due to the rise in 6kW popularity. This has also helped to bring down the average due to the sharp 6kW pricing seen across the market.

Meanwhile, average prices for popular 5kW systems decreases to the value of $0.86/W compared with June, or about $4,300 out-of-pocket. ‘Premium’ and ‘microinverter‘ options for the same size system are coming in at about $5,850 and $6,900, respectively.

verage solar PV system prices for July 2021

Primary offerings are the default (and most popular) type of systems that retailers and installers display on Solar Choice’s Solar Quote Comparisons (see screenshot). They are generally the lowest-price offer from a particular installer.

Solar Quote Comparison

Prices in the table below include both the up-front incentive available for small-scale systems through the Renewable Energy Target (STCs) and GST – they represent the total out-of-pocket cost of the system to the customer. We’ve left fields blank where there were only a small number of price points available in our database (usually fewer than 3).

Prices for each system size are colour-coded. (Dark red for highest, dark green for lowest, yellow/orange for in between).

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List of products used in primary offerings

Please note that the below list is in alphabetical order and does not denote panel-inverter pairings in installer offerings.

Products used in primary offeringsPanelsInvertersBYDABBC SunFlexCanadian SolarGoodweEGingGrowattETHuaweiFlexOpalHanwhaSMAInfinitySolarEdgeJA SolarSolaxJinkoSolisLGSofarLinuoSungrowPhonoZever SolarQCellsRECRisenSeraphimSuntechTalesunTrinaXtremeZN Shine

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Solar system prices for July 2021: $/W medians, highs & lows

This table includes data for primary, premium & microinverter systems. (Click to enlarge.)

Prices above are colour-coded across highs, lows & medians for all cities and system sizes. (Dark red for highest, dark green for lowest, yellow for middle. Cells are grey where only a small set of data points was available. Please note that premium and microinverter options are not colour-coded.)

Premium solar system offerings for July 2021

Solar installers & retailers also upload pricing for ‘premium’ solar system offerings on the Solar Choice portal; these offers can then be viewed by Solar Choice customers. The definition of premium is not hard and fast, and usually comes down to the installer’s selection of components. Oftentimes, premium offers will consist of the company’s standard panel offering but a different brand of inverter – but many installers may offer a higher-end brand of panel as well.

It’s important to note that the range of products used in these systems will vary greatly and that not all premium systems are equal in their quality; in fact, one company’s premium system may be another company’s primary offering. Be sure to do your research into the brands being offered before making your decision.

Prices in the tables below include both the up-front incentive available for small-scale systems through the Renewable Energy Target (STCs) and GST – they represent the total out-of-pocket cost of the system to the customer. We’ve left fields blank where there were only a small number of price points available in our database (usually fewer than 3).

Prices for each system size are colour-coded. (Dark red for highest, dark green for lowest, yellow/orange for in between).

List of products used in premium offerings

Please note that the below list is in alphabetical order and does not denote panel-inverter pairings in installer offerings. Also note that a premium offer may differ from an installer’s primary offer in a number of ways – such as the inclusion of a higher-end inverter, higher-end solar panels, or both.

Products used in Premium offeringsPanelsInvertersCanadian SolarABBETEnphaseFlexFroniusJA SolarGoodweJinko SolarHuaweiLGSMALongiSolarEdgePhonoSolaxQ CellSungrowRECZeversolarRISENSeraphimSolar WorldSolarwattSunpowerSuntechTrina

Microinverter solar system offerings for July 2021

Microinverter systems are generally better equipped to handle shading issues and multiple roof orientations than standard, central/string inverter systems. You can read more about microinverters (and whether they’re right for your home) in this article.

We also point out that microinverter systems sometimes compete with premium systems even where shading/roof orientations are not an issue, as microinverters are generally seen as high-end product.

Prices in the tables below include both the up-front incentive available for small-scale systems through the Renewable Energy Target (STCs) and GST – they represent the total out-of-pocket cost of the system to the customer. We’ve left fields blank where there were only a small number of price points available in our database (usually fewer than 3).

Prices for each system size are colour-coded. (Dark red for highest, dark green for lowest, yellow/orange for in between).

List of products used in microinverter offerings

Please note that the below list is in alphabetical order and does not denote panel-inverter pairings in installer offerings. We also note that Enphase’s microinverters comprise the vast majority of microinverter offerings (roughly 90%).

Also note that strictly speaking SolarEdge systems do not include microinverters, but rather power optimisers. However, they are often lumped in with microinverters because of the fact that they are similarly adept at mitigating the impact of shading and multiple roof orientations.

Products used in microinverter offeringsPanelsInvertersCanadian SolarEnphaseGCLSolarEdgeJinkoLGLongiQ CellRECRisenSeraphimSolar EdgeSolarWattTrinaYingli

Historic solar PV system prices (since October 2012)

The historic pricing in the tables below do not reflect prices for Darwin, NT. See ‘About this data’ footnote below for a more detailed description of where this data comes from and what it represents.

Historic Solar PV Price Index Trend (All primary system sizes, $/W)

The chart below provides an at-a-glance look at solar PV system pricing trends since September 2012. Data points are the average of average $/W for popular system sizes (Only 1.5kW-5kW from Aug 2012 to Nov 2013, then also including 10kW from Dec 2013, with 1.5kW dropped and added 7kW from November 2017, and then 2kW dropped and added 6kW from June 2019.)

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bout this data

Tables and charts included in this article were compiled using data from Solar Choice’s installer network database, which contains regularly-updated pricing and product details from over 100 solar installation companies across Australia. Prices do not ordinarily incorporate meter installation fees or additional costs for difficult installations. Pricing data from Darwin is not included any of the charts showing historic trends.

© 2019 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

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AEMO installs early warning system for surplus solar and rooftop PV shutdowns

A new system that would warn ahead of too much rooftop solar in the grid – and of the need for some installations to be shut down – has been developed by the Australian Energy Market Operator.

The early warning system is similar to the three-staged process that advises AEMO of a possible upcoming supply deficit. Conversely, however, the new contingency and minimum system load (CMSL) system will warn of too much power – at least too much rooftop solar.

This new warning system will initially be focused on the South Australia grid, which has the highest percentage of rooftop solar of any state grid. Just last weekend, rooftop PV met 84.4 per cent of the state’s demand at one point in the middle of the day and sent minimum operational demand to a record low of 236MW.

AEMO said this week that the first level CMSL notice, which would aim to be issued a day before an anticipated situation, will invite demand response providers to create more load to soak up supply. A level 2 notice would advise of a possible move to shut down rooftop solar if actions are not sufficient; level 3 is where that takes place.

Such a shutdown, which has already occurred once in South Australia earlier this year, can be executed by AEMO because all homes installing new solar systems in the state must install inverters that can be remotely controlled, and appoint an agent to perform that task if needed.

“Just as occurs today with last resort load shedding measures, when all other operating tools have not been sufficient in keeping the power system secure, it is important that emergency operating tools are available to avoid issues that risk state-wide outages, which have a far greater impact on consumers,” AEMO said.

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NSW draws up map for massive 8GW renewable energy zone in New England

Australia’s most coal power dependent state, New South Wales, has mapped out its latest designated renewable energy zone, the New England REZ, which will host a massive 8GW of wind, solar and storage projects.

The NSW Coalition government produced the map as part of its “draft declaration” of the New England REZ, a key part of the regulatory and legal process required for completion before tenders and auctions can get underway.

An earlier expression of interest for the new REZ, which sits to the north-east of Tamworth, indicated there would be strong participation in any future auction, with more than 34GW of proposals tendered by wind, solar and storage developers.

The New England REZ is one of at least five drawn up by NSW as part of its plans to replace the bulk, if not all, of its coal-fired generation fleet by 2030, which currently sits at more than 10GW, with most plants scheduled to close within the decade.

The government’s draft declaration confirms that the newly created EnergyCo NSW will be the infrastructure planner for the New England REZ, and will assess and recommend network infrastructure projects and manage community concerns.

It will also be charged with “preventing generation or storage projects from connecting in a specified area within the REZ (if those projects have not received development consent).”

 

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Why solar farms won’t stew your fruit or boil your berries

The theory that solar farms can act as “massive heat banks” and even spoil food crops has been challenged by the findings of a new international scientific study that has shown PV arrays to have a cooling effect on the land surrounding them, reducing nearby surface temperatures by up to 2.3°C.

The team of scientists, from the UK, China and the US used satellite technologies to gather land surface temperature data for two large-scale projects in arid locations: the 300MW Stateline solar farm in California, and the 850MW Longyangxia solar park in China.

A paper published by the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Transition found that the panels produced “cool islands” that reduced the surrounding land surface temperature by up to 2.3℃ at 100 metres away, with the cooling effects reducing exponentially to 700 metres.

The team hypothesised that this cooling effect was due to the solar panels shading and insulating the land surface, as well as energy is converted into electricity by the solar panels. And it determined the impact of this might be good or bad or inconsequential, depending on the location and surrounding ecosystem.

“Most studies examine the impacts of land-use change for solar parks inside the site boundaries,” said Dr Alona Armstrong, co-lead author from Lancaster University. “Here, we found a temperature effect that is evident up to around 700 metres away, suggesting that ecological processes may also be impacted.

“This heightens the importance of understanding the implications of renewable energy technologies on the hosting landscape – we need to ensure that the energy transition does not cause undue damage to ecological systems and ideally has net positive consequences on the places where we build them.”

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More than 1GW of new wind, solar and battery storage registered in last three months

More than one gigawatt of new large-scale wind, solar and energy storage projects has been registered on the National Electricity Market over the past three months, the Australian Energy Market Operator has confirmed, including two big batteries and part of Australia’s largest wind farm.

AEMO said the new registrations included the 300MW (450MWh) Victoria Big Battery in Victoria and the 100MW (150MWh) Wandoan battery in Queensland, as well as the first 286MW stage of the much delayed 500MW Stockyard Hill wind farm in Victoria.

The Bulgana Green Energy Hub, which combines a 194MW wind farm and a 20MW/34MWh battery, also obtained its second stage registration, allowing it to ramp up to full capacity. A handful of solar farms were also registered, including the 150MW Suntop and 85MW Hillston projects in Victoria.

According to AEMO’s data, there were 33 generators totalling 2.68GW registered in the last financial year, and 16 generators totalling 1.73GW commissioned – an increase of 600MW registered and 480MW commissioned compared to the previous financial year.

AEMO has also reported that two of four large synchronous condensers being installed in South Australia had completed testing and had been in operation for a “few weeks”, with the remaining two preparing to undergo system tests.

The market operator said these machines would support more “asynchronous” generation and lift caps to the combined output of large scale wind and solar, potentially further relaxing limits to 2,500MW.

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Solar Pool Pumps: Costs, Options and Benefits Explained

A backyard pool is the quintessential lifestyle accessory in Australia, and around 13% of Australian homes have a pool in the backyard. Having a pool provides relief from summer heat without taking a trip to the beach, and hours of fun for family and friends on warm days.

On the flipside, it costs a lot of money to own and run a pool. Not only is installation expensive, running costs are high. The largest annual cost by far is electricity to run the pool pump for essential filtration. This needs to be done year round, though less often in the winter months when pools are likely not used very often, if at all.

It is estimated that a typical in-ground pool can account for 17% of a home’s electricity usage, which potentially adds $660 to $1,000 annually to a household electricity bill – even if pool pump timers are set to run through the night, when electricity is cheapest.

 

How do solar pool pumps work?

Solar pool pumps work the same way as regular, grid-connected pool pumps. The main difference is that they harness the power of the sun, not your household electricity, to circulate and filter the water in your pool.

Note that you cannot simply hook up your existing pool pump to a few solar panels. You will need to buy a new dedicated solar pool pump, also known as a Direct Current (DC) pool pump.

A typical set-up for a solar pool pump:

Solar pool pump how it works diagram

Image from: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/390968811379165145/

 

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Solar pool pumps are as efficient as traditional pool pumps, and offer many similar features and options. Choosing which solar pool pump is best for your pool will come down to a range of factors:

Type of pool: In-ground or above-ground pools use similar pumps, but pumps for in-ground pools generally need to be more powerful to pump water up and out of the pool.

Size of pump: Or the power output it generates. This is a key question and will be affected by the size of your pool (litres), how fast the water is recycled through the pump and the resistance the pool pump must overcome. Manufacturers generally have a handy guide or checklist to help you decide on the most efficient solar pool pump for your pool.

Talk to your local pool specialist or solar retailer about the right option for your pool, and if they offer a complete kit including the solar pool pump, solar panels and installation.

 

lternative: Using a grid-connected solar system to run your pool pump

Most pool pumps are powered by household electricity, so the most elegant solution to save on running costs is to have a grid-connected rooftop solar system that meets the entire energy needs of the home, including the pool.

But this is not always possible. For example, you may add a pool after you have installed solar power, with the additional energy usage not accounted for. Or your roof may not be large enough to accommodate the number of solar panels required to power both your home and your pool.

In some cases, the electricity network provider in your area may limit the number of grid-connected solar panels you can install, which may not deliver enough energy for both your home and pool.

The good news is you can take your pool off the grid and use the energy of the sun to power a solar pool pump directly to save a lot of money, and reduce your carbon footprint.

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Why solar pool pumps make sense, and save dollars

Once you decide to install a dedicated solar power system for your pool filtration, you’ll need a solar pool pump kit consisting of a solar pool pump, and solar panels to power it. The solar panels will be wired directly into the pool pump, and when the sun shines, your pool pump will run.

Benefits of a Solar Pool Pump

Completely off-gridYour pool pump is not grid-connected so you will never pay for electricity to power it.No permission neededYou do not need approval from your local energy grid to install the solar panels connected to your pool pump as they are not connected to the grid. And those panels do not count towards the maximum number of grid-connected solar panels you can install.Mounting optionsSolar panels for your pool pump can be mounted anywhere, so they don’t have to take up valuable roof space. You may choose a ground-mounted system if you have space, or on a structure such as your carport, or shed, or cabana.In sync with the sunThe sun shines more in summer than winter, so your solar pool pump will run more often in the months when the pool is being regularly used.

 

How much does a Solar Pool Pump set up cost?

The benefits of an off-grid solar swimming pool pump are clear. But before you dive in, consider the set-up costs and the projected working life of the system so you can compare it to the costs of running your existing grid-connected pool pump.

New solar pool pump: You’ll need to replace your existing pool pump with what’s known as a Direct Current (DC) pool pump for solar connectivity, suitable for pools with a capacity up to 90,000 litres. Solar pool pumps are relatively affordable, and cost anywhere from $250 to $750, depending on the brand and the power output that will required to suit the size of your pool.

Solar panels: How many solar panels you need to power your pool pump, and the cost of purchasing and installing them varies depending on the number of panels needed to power the solar pool pump, the ease of installation and your location. Typically, you will need between four and six solar panels, and the cost to purchase and install will likely be somewhere between $1,500 and $4,000.

These estimated costs include installation, which needs to be done by a qualified professional.

Some retailers supply a solar pool pump kit complete with the pump, solar panels, cables, accessories and installation to make it easy to purchase and install.

Once you have installed your solar-powered swimming pool pump system, it costs virtually nothing to run year-to-year. Considering the range of costs for the solar pool pump and the solar panels, the total cost to get up and running could be anywhere from under $2,000 to nearly $5,000.

When you compare that to the estimated annual cost of using electricity from the grid to power your existing pool pump, the payback period will be between three and seven years.

It is important to note that while solar panels generally have a warranty of at least 10 years, solar pool pumps usually only have a two to three year warranty, so replacing the pump should be factored into the cost recovery equation.

Note that direct-connected solar pool pumps are not grid-connected, so will not be eligible for feed-in tariffs to offset the cost of purchase and installation or to reduce your household electricity bill.

Energy not needed for the pool pump cannot go back to the grid, it is simply wasted. By the same token, you will not be able to draw power from the grid if there is not enough sun to power your pool pump at any point in time.

 

What are solar pool pump options in Australia?

There are many solar swimming pool pump brands available in Australia. Some of the most common and popular brands are:

Davey
Davey Solar Pool Pump
Onga
Onga Solar Pool Pump
PWS (Pump With Solar)
PWS (Pump With Solar) Solar Pool Pump
Sunray
Sunray Solar Pool Pump
SunSmart
Sunsmart solar pool pump 3

Solar pool pumps are available from pool shops and suppliers, hardware stores, and solar power specialists. Some are offered as a complete kit with solar panels included.

 

What about Solar Powered Pool Heating?

A final word on adding solar-powered pool heating so you can enjoy swimming all year round. Heating your pool with gas has been estimated to cost as much as $17 per hour according to the SA Government.

Solar power offers significant savings for heating your pool. Consider a couple of alternative ways to use solar power for pool heating:

Combine heating with your solar pool pump: Some systems use a solar heat exchanger to use the heat generated by your solar pool pump to warm up your pool. This ensures no energy is wasted, but requires a grid connection so will add (a small amount) to your household electricity costs.

Use a tubular pool heater: These operate in a similar way to solar hot water systems. Water is pumped behind solar panel cells where it collects heat and runs back into the pool. This option can cost up to $1,000, but is relatively inexpensive when compared to the high ongoing cost of traditional gas heating.

When it comes to running your pool, using solar power via your grid-connected solar panels or an off-grid solar pool pump directly connected to a small solar array makes a lot of sense, and will save a lot of dollars.

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Solar meets more than 100 per cent of local demand in South Australia again

Solar power, the vast majority of it generated on household and business rooftops, has again delivered more than 100 per cent of local demand in South Australia, in what is expected to become an increasingly regular occurrence.

At just before 1 pm, local time, in Adelaide on Monday, solar power delivered 101.9% of state demand for a 5-minute period, made up of 1275MW, or 80.9% of rooftop solar and 331MW, or 21%, of utility-scale solar.

And while the 100% mark was met – and even surpassed – for just one five-minute interval, solar provided more than 90 per cent of state demand for a five-hour period on that day, between the hours of 10:30 am to 3:30 pm.

South Australia last year earned the title of the first gigawatt scale grid in the world to meet more than 100% of its demand with just solar, and it is expected that it will soon become the first where rooftop solar alone delivers 100% of local demand.

Over the past 12 months, South Australia has sourced an average 62 per cent of its local demand from wind and solar, and over the past month, this has jumped to an average of 71.2 per cent, according to the data on OPENNem.

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