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Homeowner Blog

Octopus Shakes up the Market with its Tesla Tariff

George Riley 21 Nov 2019

We’re entering a period of dramatic change for the energy sector. From smaller independents breaking the hold of the Big 6 and consumers generating their own solar power to dynamic pricing plans and smart homes.

The latest innovation is one that combines all of these: Octopus’s Tesla Energy Plan.

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Topics: Battery storage, EV charging, Solar PV, Tesla Powerwall

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: Battery storage, Tesla Powerwall

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: Battery storage, Tariffs, Solar PV

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: Battery storage, Tariffs

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, Solar PV, Tesla Powerwall

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, Calculator

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: Battery storage, Tesla Powerwall, Powervault

Off-Grid Power: Is It Time to Ditch the Grid?

Erica Charles 23 Nov 2018

"Can I go off-grid with solar?" is a question we are asked at least once a week. When the Big 6 hike electricity prices, make that once a day.

It's a particularly enticing proposition, especially if you are 'self-building' your dream home and aiming for PassivHaus standards and Grand Design prizes.

The Short Answer is "Yes you can go off-grid with solar."

A Better Answer is "Don't do it unless your grid connection is REALLY expensive."  Instead, make the Grid work for you by taking full advantage of time-of-use tariffs (off-peak charging).

To illustrate our Better Answer, we've modelled an off-grid residential property with an annual electricity consumption of 5,000 kWh.

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Topics: Battery storage, Off grid, Solar PV

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: Battery storage, Tesla Powerwall, Powervault

Powervault 3 vs Tesla Powerwall 2: Back of Envelope Economics

Erica Charles 11 May 2018

When considering battery storage, the costs are vital. So let’s see how they stack up for two of the biggest brands, Powervault 3 and Tesla’s Powerwall 2. As a rough guide, for someone installing a battery as part of a solar system (thus with a VAT rate of 5%), the rough costs are as follows:

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Topics: Battery storage, Tesla Powerwall, Powervault