The Future Is Here With Battery Powered Homes

So what is next for our homes in the future? The answer? Battery powered homes. Many have been making the transition to solar power which is fantastic, the next step in getting away from fossil fuels is in batteries. It is expected that over a million homes in Australia will have a battery powered home in the next five years. We have battery powered cellphones, battery powered cars are taking off so the leap to battery powered houses is the next obvious step, and it is already being taken.


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We are talking about the lithium-ion battery which supplies 24 hour renewable power. Solar panels can only do so much and you still have to rely on the grid however the battery has 8kw hours of usable stored power. The unit is about the size of a beer fridge and holds the battery, an inverter to make it usable for the house and energy management system controls in a little display on the door of the unit. The software tells the unit when to flow and where. The first house using one gets a large 53% of power from the battery, 44% from the solar panels and 3% from the grid.


Lithium-ion is the lightest metal and was first made in the 1980’s but it easily combusted so lithium cobalt oxide was found, this went into electric cars and is what is now entering our homes. Thus giving the option of three scenarios, for those that are sick of power companies and/or want to be off grid altogether they need to buy a big enough battery to survive a cloudy week. Scenario two is living mainly off grid just using it for a backup. The third scenario is using the battery at night to avoid the expensive peak time power prices.


What about cost? Well in early 2015 a 7k battery plus inverter installed would be about $15,000. However already in six months that price has dropped by about a third. Companies are leaping on board seeing the future heading there. For example in Adelaide homes are offered a $5000 rebate if a battery is installed. You see on the grid there is little power stored, the power stations are turned up or down in response to use, but if there is a sudden spike in use power stations have to turn to small stations to help supply the need. So batteries can help the grid running smoothly by the main stations buying power from a battery in homes which is why the big companies are getting on board.


What about apartments or strata housing, how would it work with them? The strata would install them, the tenants would pay strata for electricity and strata would supply it. Whole suburbs can work with this new technology, Alkomoz beach is building and will have enough battery power to power 100 houses for 24 hours. They work on a grid credit system, they make power during the day then buy it back at night with the credits.


Where to from here? Even better batteries are being invented like the zinc bromide battery which has two electrodes, a coin cell and a gel on top instead of liquid. This makes the battery charge faster, it’s bendy and won’t crack and has a longer lifetime that lithium. Builders want to put them into walls to power the home.

Watch this space….

Looking For A Solar Solution For Your Business?

solar_systems_for_businessYou have solar on your home and are aware of the benefits and are enjoying enormous savings on your power bill. So why not apply the same benefit to your business through a solar solution? Solar can help businesses lower energy expenses just as much as on a residential property, if not more.


Esolar can help you to find a solar solution for your business no matter what your requirements or how big or small your business is. Whether you are looking for a grid connected application or an off grid system, we can design a system that can perfectly fit your needs.


More than 95% of business solar installations we do are grid connected systems. The benefit of this is because if your business does not use all your generated power, it can be sold back to the grid.


Off grid is also an option, however, if you business is situated in a remote area or you would like to be fully independent from the power grid. We have helped a number of businesses all around New Zealand to find an off grid solution that works for them.


For more information on solar for business, visit our solar systems for business page.

What does PV or Photovoltaic mean?

Photovoltaic (PV) essentially means electricity from the energy of the sun and is derived from the words “photo” with the Greek meaning light and “voltaic” meaning voltage. The term “photovoltaic” is used to describe a process known as the “photovoltaic effect” the process by which a material such as silicon converts sunlight into electricity.


PV cells are laminated to a thin sheet of glass. Sunlight in the form of photons strike the PV cells, exciting electrons in the silicon. An electric current is generated when the electrons are collected by wiring that is incorporated into the PV cells.


photo_voltaic_panelsA solar panel consists of multiple PV cells, the amount will depend on the output voltage and current required of the solar panel. Solar panels range in size from around 5 to over 400watts peak output and produce DC (direct current).


Multiple solar panels are connected in strings, to build a solar array. The size of the array will depend on how much energy is required to be generated, generally up to 10kWp for a standard domestic installation in New Zealand.


The DC energy from the solar array can be stored in batteries and then converted to AC by an inverter as when required or you can convert the solar energy directly to AC with a grid connected inverter and feed any excess energy into the national grid for credits.




Heat Your Water With A Heat Pump

How can a heat pump water heater help you? Did you know that up to 50% of your monthly power bill goes to just water heating? It might be hard to comprehend but it is generally the biggest single power consumer a house will have. Naturally, this is then the first point to address if you are looking to save power.


Heat_Pump_Water_HeaterA heat pump water heaters can save you up to 75% on your hot water heating bill. Our heat pump water headers deliver the highest seasonal efficiency of any water heater available.The best part is that they can also be used in conjunction with a solar system, meaning not only is your water heated for free, but it’s done so in a very efficient manner so that you have hot water for longer.


The Econergy heat pump water heater has been rated number one in Consumer Magazine’s heat pump water heater test. Econergy is being recognized as one of the best water heating options for your home, and solar PV panels can provide energy from the sun to power the heat pump.


If you are interested in an Ecoenergy heat pump for your home, visit our heat pump water heating page and give us a call today!


Do You Go With Grid Tied Or Off Grid Solar?

When designing a solar system for your home, the biggest decision you need to face is whether you go with an off grid or a grid connected system. There are various factors that will determine your decision in this instance.


grid_connected_or_off_grid_solarWhat dictates which system you go with? A major factor will be firstly whether there is a mains power connection. In a rural area without mains power, the only option will be the use of off grid. However in suburbs and city areas, both systems can be used, though generally a grid connected system is used. Other factors include how much power you require, whether you can store the power generated or you’d rather feed it into the mains power and always have power on hand whether or not your system produces enough.


If you can’t decide and would need some advice, give us a call today to discuss which option is best for you!

Get Hot Water With Solar And Save!

One of the greatest costs in energy to the average household is that of water heating. On average, water heating accounts for a third of your power bill. So what can you do to reduce this and save that 33%?


Solar_hot_water_heatingSolar hot water heating is the solution to saving every month on your power bill. For a small investment upfront (to purchase and install the system), you can free yourself from the monthly burden of paying your energy bill.


Many people have started switching to solar hot water heating and have seen the results that solar can bring in terms of saving energy and providing an alternative solution to heating your water. An efficient, properly designed and built solar water heating system should be able to fully heat your water without any external support, meaning completely free water heating!


If you are interested in heating your water with solar, talk to us today!


Why Is Now The Time To Get Solar?

If you have been considering getting a solar system for your home, there is no better time to act than now!


get_solar_ready_for_summerSolar systems provide the most in the summer seasons when the sun is shining the most. This is when the system can be used to it’s full potential to provide power or heating for your home. But there is no point beginning your solar installation in summer, of for it to be completed as Autumn arrives.


Summer is not too far away and so it is the perfect time to begin your solar installation. It may take some time to design and install your system depending on your requirements so by starting a few months before summer you give yourself time to ensure that it’s all sorted and you can reap the benefits right from the start of the sunny season!


Have You Considered A Micro Hydro System?

Micro_hydro_power_systemIf you are looking for ways to save on power, a commonly overlooked type of power generation should be on your list of considerations. Micro hydro.


Micro hydro systems are not as common as PV solar but can be excellent power generation systems, especially when coupled with a PV solar installation. The benefit of the micro hydro system is that it uses the force of flowing water to produce power. Flowing water is in abundance in winter, just when sunlight is at it’s least, making a micro hydro system a perfect compliment to a PV installation to ensure that you have power all year round.


Smaller micro hydro systems don’t generally require water storage such as a dam or weir. This makes them good for private properties such as small farms and rural houses. This also means that they have much less impact on the environment than large scale hydro systems.


If you are interested in a micro hydro system, visit our micro hydro page for more information.


Why Might You Need A Power Generator?

You may be looking at getting a solar system and will no doubt have come across power generators. But if you have a solar system, why would you need a power generator?

Power generators are very useful as a backup system, especially in an off grid solar situation. They are also great for when you cannot afford to lose power, whatever the reason may be. Because solar power depends on external elements of nature to produce the power, there is always a possibility that your system may not produce enough power. Here you will need a backup until the solar system can continue to produce the power you need.

solar_power_generatorsPower generators are an excellent backup system because they rely on petrol or diesel, which means there are no external variables and they can just produce power as long as they are running and have the petrol or diesel.

Power generators are also excellent as a back up if you have a grid connected power system, should a natural disaster happen or other occurrence where you go not get your power supply. For our range of power generators, click here.


Press Release: Nelson’s Biggest Solar System

Nelson’s biggest solar system up and running

Health @132 on the corner of Collingwood and Hardy Street has had the largest solar photovoltaic system in the region installed. The 200 panel system has a total capacity of 50kWs which will produce 50% of the Medical Centre’s power needs. Most of the power will be used onsite with excess power being sold back to the national grid.
Health @132 Manager Sharon Brinsdon says “We wanted to do something significant for the environment, as well as inspire others to do the same”.
The system was installed by local companies, Solar Electric Technology and Pulse Electrical. Technical Director Lance Double says “businesses generally use the majority of their power during the day when the sun is shining and so solar energy makes a lot of sense. Health @132 is no exception. We fitted a sizable system to dramatically reduce their energy costs and carbon footprint. The solar panels have a 25 year performance warranty; therefore they will end up paying for themselves many times over”.
Despite any formal policies incentivising the up take of solar in New Zealand, solar is proving an attractive option for many households and businesses. The recent move by Vector to partner with Tesla Motors to provide home battery storage in conjunction with solar highlights the growth and potential of solar.
DCIM100MEDIASolar Electric Technology’s Managing Director Frank Witowski says “we’ve continued to see strong sales growth despite the reduction in power buy-back rates by Meridian Energy and Contact Energy late last year. Our approach has been to size systems properly to maximise our customers return on investment. As a result our solar gives great returns on investment while providing clean energy and helping reduce pollution”. We are a long standing local company and happy to meet with new Clients to achieve similar results.


Solar is one of the fastest growing energy sectors in the world with installed capacity expanding rapidly in Europe, North America and the developing world. While it’s still a relatively small player in the New Zealand energy market, many see it as having a bright future because of continued price falls and New Zealand’s relatively high sunshine hours.