Homeowner Blog

Spirit Energy Now Accepts SolarCoins: Air Miles for Solar Electricity

Erica Charles 28 Sep 2018

We hear more and more about Blockchain technology.  The technology creates a transparent public ledger that records series of transactions, facilitating a fast, low-cost, trusted transfer of value without the involvement of traditional intermediaries.  

Already used in the financial sector, it’s only a matter of time before Blockchain hits the energy sector in a major way, particularly with the explosion of micro-generation of electricity, the ending of solar subsidies, and the advent of smart meters.

With Octopus Energy claiming to have paid customers to use excess electricity at night on four occasions in the last 12 months, real time peer-to-peer trading of electricity is surely just around the corner. Other potential applications include authentication of renewable generation and trading of emissions permits.

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Topics: SolarCoin, Is Solar a Good Investment?

Spirit Moves the Market: Tesla Powerwall 2 and Powervault 3 Warranty Updates

Erica Charles 13 Jul 2018

Four weeks ago, we compared the warranties of Tesla’s Powerwall 2, Powervault 3 and Pylontech.

This week, both Powerwall 2 and Powervault 3 have updated – and improved – their warranties.

Powervault has in fact changed the underlying chemistry of its battery and launched GridFlexTM, but more on that next week…

For Powerwall 2 customers, the update is retrospective which is good news for our Powerwall 2 customers.

Now to the fine print….

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Topics: Powervault 3, Solar PV battery storage, Tesla Solar Battery

Last 9 Months of the Feed-In Tariff Scheme …. Claim Your Share Before It’s Too Late!

Erica Charles 28 Jun 2018

Since April 2010, more than 800,000 solar PV installations have benefitted from the hugely successful Feed-in-Tariff scheme.

The scheme was originally expected to be open until March 2021. However it is now closing to new entrants at the end of March 2019, due both to government cuts and the reduced costs of solar panels.  The subsidies paid to existing members of the scheme will not be impacted by the closure.

If you haven't already installed solar PV you have nine months to claim your share of the pot...

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Topics: Feed in Tariff

PylonTech, Powervault, Powerwall 2... What's In the Warranty?

Erica Charles 12 Jun 2018

Following our analysis of Powervault 3 vs Powerwall 2, we had a couple of requests for a review of the SoFar / Pylontech residential battery storage system.

On the face of it, the SoFar / Pylontech combination offers good value, flexible sizing, and LFP (Lithium Ferro Phosphate) chemistry… so well worth consideration.

And that's before you appreciate the fun to be had when trying to summarise the essence of the different warranties: Pylontech vs Powerwall vs Powervault.

Here goes…

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Topics: Powervault 3, Solar PV battery storage, Tesla Solar Battery, Pylontech

Powervault 3 vs Tesla Powerwall 2: Back of Envelope Economics

Erica Charles 11 May 2018

Last week our blog compared the chemistry of Powervault 3 (LFP) with the chemistry of Powerwall 2 (NMC).

The basic conclusion was that LFP means "double the life cycles, double the cost." As a rough guide, for someone installing Powervault 3 as part of a solar system (thus with a VAT rate of 5%), the rough costs are as follows:

 

Powervault 3

Tesla Powerwall 2

Storage Capacity:

2.5kWh

5.0kWh

7.5kWh

13.5kWh

Rough Installed Cost incl VAT @ 5%

£4,510

£6,060

£7,670

£6,300

Cost incl VAT @ 5% per kWh battery capacity

£1,804

£1,212

£1,023

£467

 

In fact in this case, the cost per kWh of LFP (Powervault 3) is more than double the cost per kWh of NMC (Powerwall 2).

But as we also said, with the 7.5kWh Powervault 3, you buy a minimum guaranteed level of 51,800 storage ‘slots’ upfront. With Powerwall 2, you only buy ’37,000’ slots upfront.

Powerwall 2 will pay for itself much more quickly than Powervault 3, but what does this mean for the overall lifetime economics...?

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Topics: Powervault 3, Solar PV battery storage, Tesla Solar Battery

Powervault 3 vs Tesla Powerwall 2: It's All In The Chemistry

Erica Charles 30 Apr 2018

I have an abiding memory from secondary school of our chemistry teacher pressing ‘play’ on an old video cassette, and there, projected onto the screen at the front of the room, was a video made by what must have been a desperately struggling actor, dressed in yellow tights and a white coat, dancing on a lab bench and singing the 'Periodic Table song'.  

The video served two purposes:

  • it put us off chemistry;
  • it put us off acting.

At least it put me off acting. Kristin Scott Thomas attended the school a few years before I did, and clearly, it didn’t put her off acting (credits include Four Weddings and a Funeral, The English Patient, and most recently Winston Churchill’s long suffering wife in Darkest Hour ). No dancing on lab benches for her just to pay the bills.

To the video’s credit, more than a couple of decades later, I can still remember the first two rows of the Periodic Table. Of course I’ve never used the knowledge, until the advent of home battery storage.

Today, as the second in our series of blogs on Powervault 3, we are studying Lithium Ferro Phosphate (Powervault 3) vs  Lithiated Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (Tesla Powerwall 2).

Don’t worry, ‘Studying’ is over-egging it. We’re looking at the differences from a home battery storage point of view...


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Topics: Powervault 3, Solar PV battery storage, Tesla Solar Battery

Introducing Powervault 3: The Smartest Home Battery Storage System?

Erica Charles 27 Apr 2018

UK-based Powervault has recently launched Powervault 3, a home battery storage system which is designed to take full advantage of the revolution taking place in the UK electricity market.

Powervault totally ‘gets’ the future of electricity generation and storage in the UK and has built a battery system that can do everything you could ever think a homeowner would want it to be able to do….

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Topics: Powervault 3, Solar PV battery storage

Tesla Time-of-Use goes live: is 2018 the year for time-of-use tariffs?

Henry Day 13 Apr 2018

Tesla recently confirmed that their eagerly anticipated Time-Based Control feature for Powerwall 2 is being rolled out to existing systems. 

We are now able to reveal the functionality available (and to confirm that as expected it's pretty comprehensive)...

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Topics: Powerwall2, Tesla Solar Battery

Pigeon Seeks Room With A View: Solar Panel Bird Proofing

Erica Charles 05 Apr 2018

Solar panels offer a ready-made shelter for nesting under combined with a high vantage point from which to survey the surroundings.

If there’s such a thing as estate agency in bird world, and in particular pigeon world, it’s easy to envisage the blurb on the sale particulars for a nest under a well-located 4kW array.

Of course the pigeon’s gain is the system owner’s loss. Nesting birds cause problems for solar panels and increase the need for general building maintenance. 

Luckily the industry has now developed well-proven solutions for solar panel protection: solar mesh and solar bird spikes.

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Topics: Solar panel bird proofing, Solar panel protection

Which home car charging station? (and driving the 999 steps to heaven..)

Erica Charles 06 Mar 2018

Electric cars are coming of age.

There are 130,000 electric vehicles driving on UK roads, car manufacturers are investing heavily in the technology, and the charging infrastructure is gradually being rolled out.

What's more electric vehicles are already breaking all of the records. Whilst the gas guzzling Bugatti Chiron manages 0-60 in a leisurely 2.3 seconds, Japanese car maker Aspark has produced the electric Aspark Owl which does 0-60 in 1.921 seconds. Meanwhile the electric Range Rover Sport has recently climbed the ‘999 steps to heaven’ in Tianmen Mountain (watch the video from the start of minute 4 if you don't want to listen to the preamble). And of course, Elon Musk's Tesla  is nearly 5 million miles away from Earth, travelling, at the time of writing, at a speed of 7257 miles / hour, doubtless with Bowie's Starman still blaring out to announce man's latest visitation in space. Along with a load of our very best bacteria, apparently.

All very exciting. Back to the mainstream...

Driving an electric car costs around 3.5p per mile as opposed to 15p or more per mile for a petrol car.  If you drive 100 miles a week, you can save around £11.50 per week in fuel costs, to set against increased lease / finance costs of around £15 per week.

So for £3.50 a week you will be cutting out tailgate emissions, reducing pollution, and saving yourself from breathing in petrol fumes every time you fill up.

Now that you’ve been convinced to make your next car electric, you’ll need an EV charger.

Which charger?

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Topics: Home car charging station, EO Charging, EVBox, zappi