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Homeowner Blog

Solar Car Chargers: zappi vs Rolec EV SolarCharge

George Riley 16 May 2019

If you’re looking to maximise the value of the surplus energy generated by your PV system, diverting this to EV charging makes sense from both an economic and environmental perspective.

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Topics: EV charging, zappi, Home car charging station

Victor Kiam and the Tesla Powerwall: "So impressed I bought the company."

Erica Charles 12 Apr 2019

Yesterday I had my own modest version of a Victor Kiam moment.

If you are too young to remember Mr Kiam, spend 30 seconds watching this…. Mr Kiam's famous line ‘I loved the shaver so much I bought the company’ was the cornerstone of a hugely successful 1979 advertising campaign.

Mr Kiam was swept away by the joy of a sharp shave. For me it was Tesla and the sheer passion with which they are pursuing their mission ‘to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy’.

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Topics: Powerwall2, Tesla Solar Battery

Solar Batteries and Smart Tariffs: Join the Revolution

Erica Charles 05 Apr 2019

Around 30 GigaWatts of the UK’s older fossil fuel and nuclear capacity is due to be de-commissioned by 2025. At the same time, more and more of us are taking delivery of our first electric car, pulling away from the lights much faster than the petrol heads whilst fuelling a significant increase in the national electricity demand.

Furthermore, with the advent of renewables, the problem of balancing supply and demand within the National Grid is become ever more challenging, leading to periods of excess demand and ‘negative electricity prices’. 

And with all this comes an increasing expectation of power cuts, grid constraints and increasing electricity costs.

Enter battery storage, and in particular, home battery storage. And smart meters, and smart electricity tariffs.

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Topics: Powerwall2, Powervault 3, Social Energy, Electricity Tariffs for Batteries, Solax, Duracell, Time of Use Charging

Is Electricity Cheaper at Night?

Erica Charles 28 Mar 2019

Is electricity cheaper at night?

If like me, your gut answer is ‘of course electricity is cheaper at night’, read on …

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Topics: Electricity Tariffs for Batteries, Is Electricity Cheaper at Night?

SunPower Solar Panels: Maxeon 3 breaks the 400W Barrier

Erica Charles 17 Mar 2019

In January SunPower introduced the world’s first 400 Watt residential solar panels.

Utilising 104 Monocrystalline Maxeon Generation III solar cells, the panels have an efficiency of 22.6%. 

The panels have ‘standard’ panel dimensions of approximately 1.69m x 1.05m, giving an output of 226W per square metre.

As always with SunPower, the panels have a premium look….

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Topics: SunPower, Best Solar Panels

Power Cut? Not My Problem... Tesla Powerwall's Solar Panel Backup Is Finally On Its Way...

Erica Charles 01 Mar 2019

The long-awaited Powerwall 2 backup capability is ‘on the water’, with the first wave of deliveries expected in April.  There’s a two stage roll-out, based on the type of earthing system required. Stage 2 will be in August.

If you are familiar with the Powerwall system, you will know that the system consists of the Powerwall unit itself, which houses the battery and the inverter, along with a ‘gateway’ which provides remote connectivity.

The original gateway, ‘GW 1’, was a plastic fronted box providing remote connectivity to the system.

From April this will be upgraded to a new gateway, GW 2, a stylish frosted glass-fronted ‘mini’ version of Powerwall 2, measuring 380mm wide x 580mm tall x 127mm deep, and weighing 9.8kg.  It is IP55 rated, so suitable for outdoors, and can be padlocked to stop any unwanted access.

The main purpose of the gateway upgrade is to enable ‘backup’ capability so that the homeowner can still power their home in a power cut.

So confident is Tesla that all customers will want the new backup enabled system, that they are actually expecting to discontinue GW 1 altogether, even though GW 1 offers a lower cost entry point into the Powerwall 2 system.

Tesla has certainly done its research. According to the company, in the nine month period 18/6/18 – 18/2/19 there were 93,965 unique power cut incidents in the UK, typically lasting between 15 mins and 4 hours and impacting 2 million customers. Anyone with a solar panel backup system in place would be smiling now....

[Apparently there are 22,200  online searches for "Schadenfreude" every month in the UK.  I wonder if Mr Musk has checked that stat out ....]

 

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Topics: Battery storage for solar panels,, Solar PV battery storage, Tesla Solar Battery, Battery calculator

Spirit Energy’s New Toy: FREE Battery Storage Calculator

Erica Charles 08 Feb 2019

A few weeks ago we launched a Solar PV Calculator and wrote a blog about solar in a post subsidy world.

However, for many people looking at renewables, solar is only one part of the story. Increasingly, solar goes hand-in-hand with battery storage. And many of us are at least wondering whether we should switch to an electric car.

Finally, in 2019 we expect to see a proliferation of ‘time-of-use’ electricity tariffs from the utility companies, all aimed at transforming electricity demand and supply.

To handle all of this, we’ve been busy developing the all-singing-and-dancing calculator which looks at the package of solar, battery storage, electric car usage and choice of tariff. And of course if you are building your dream home, you'll probably be wanting a heat pump...

Soft Launch of Version 1 Today

Call me a nerd but I love a mathematical model…

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Topics: Battery storage for solar panels,, Solar PV battery storage, Battery calculator

Electric Car Charging Point Grants: Only for Smart Chargers from July 2019

Erica Charles 17 Jan 2019

The government says it wants the UK to be the best place in the world to build and own an electric vehicle.

To support this, it needs the National Grid to be Smart, with a finely tuned set of tools available to balance demand and supply.

With this in mind, the government has announced that from July 2019, the grant of £500 per charge point available for home and workplace charge points will only be given to people installing Smart Chargers to charge their electric car.

What's a Smart Charger?

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Topics: EV charging, Home car charging station, EVBox

Government proposes new Export Tariff Scheme for Solar: the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

Erica Charles 11 Jan 2019

When the government announced in 2018 that it would close the Feed-in Tariff scheme with effect from 31st March 2019, it failed to put in place any replacement for the Export Tariff.  Small scale solar PV systems installed after 31st March were likely to end up exporting excess solar generation to the grid for free.

Not surprisingly there was uproar within the industry at this prospect.

In response, the government has this week launched a consultation on the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). 

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Topics: Solar PV Export Tariff, Deemed Export

Home Battery Storage Prepares for Blast Off in 2019

Erica Charles 14 Dec 2018

With 11 days to go until Christmas, Michelle Obama has launched her bid to join Christmas bestseller lists across the globe, Simon Cowell et al have launched their usual bid for the Christmas Number 1 song slot, and the nation prepares once more to vote in the Strictly Come Dancing final tomorrow.

A similar end-of-year flurry is taking place in the home battery storage market, all with a view to turbo-charging the market in 2019.

In the last few weeks:

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Topics: Powerwall2, Tesla Solar Battery, Powervault 3, Social Energy