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Detailed reviews and information of the best solar panels, inverters and batteries. Plus hybrid and off-grid solar system reviews and information articles on how solar and battery systems work.

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Reviews and information of the best Solar panels and inverters from SMA, Fronius, SunPower, SolaX, Q Cells, Trina, Jinko, Selectronic, Tesla Powerwall, ABB. Plus hybrid inverters, battery sizing, Lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries, off-grid and on-grid power systems.

Filtering by Tag: Solar power system

Top 10 Solar Panels - Latest Technology 2019

Jason Svarc

We review the latest solar panel and cell technologies plus highlight the best panels from Sunpower, LG, Winaico, REC, Trina and Jinko. Find out about recent innovations such as PERC, half-size cells, multi busbars and smart panels.

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Complete Solar Battery Review

Jason Svarc

Best solar batteries. We compare the leading battery technologies including Tesla Powerwall 2, LG Chem RESU, PylonTech, Simpliphi, Sonnen, Gel lead-acid and lead-carbon batteries.

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Solar Panel Construction

Jason Svarc

Solar panels are made up of the following 6 main components. Silicon PV cells, toughened glass, EVA film layers, protective back sheet, junction box with connection cables. These components are assembled in a tough aluminium frame. All the components must be engineered to withstand years of extreme weather, high temperatures and wind forces.

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All-in-one hybrid inverters

Jason Svarc

The simplest and most economical way to add battery storage to a home is using an all-in-one hybrid Inverter. The all-in-one inverters contains a solar inverter, charger and battery inverter with wifi software monitoring and metering.

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Victron Energy Review - Smart solar battery systems

Jason Svarc

Victron Energy has the largest variety of solar products of any manufacturer with everything from tiny solar controllers to large grid-interactive inverter/chargers. But it's the clever monitoring and smart control systems where they really shine.

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Home solar battery options and price guide

Jason Svarc

The following solar battery (hybrid) system sizing is based on the energy consumption of an efficient 3 bedroom home with an average energy use of 12kWh per day. This is a basic guide to sizing a home solar battery system, remember every household is unique and there are many ways to reduce energy consumption. See introduction here.

Note: Prices are in Australian dollars and are estimates only - including all parts and labor for a solar hybrid installation. Cost breakdown is shown at the bottom for reference.

  • This solar array size is based on an average of 4.5 PSH (peak sun hours per day) which is the average annual solar energy (irradiance) received around northern Victoria or southern NSW. Melbourne is approx 4 PSH and Sydney closer to 5 PSH. For locations further north in QLD the requirements will be different as the energy use will be greater for air-conditioning in summer rather than heating in winter.

 

HYBRID SOLAR SYSTEM TYPES IN ORDER OF PRICE

  1. Hybrid solar system for self-use ($9-12K)

  2. Hybrid solar system for self-use and limited back-up power ($12-15K)

  3. Hybrid solar system for maximum self-use and back-up power ($15-20K)

  4. Hybrid/Off-grid solar & complete energy management system ($20-60K)

Full explanation and breakdown of each option below:

* Sponsored by the Clean Energy Reviews team

* Sponsored by the Clean Energy Reviews team

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1. Hybrid solar system for self-use

This is the most basic hybrid system with enough battery storage to cover peak evening energy use from 5pm to 10pm. The solar array will cover the majority of the daily energy use plus charging of the battery system. These systems typically use AC-batteries which are easier to install and are a great cost effective way to store solar energy. The main drawback is that they do not have back-up power capability during a blackout.

  • Total energy used per day - 12kWh (over 24 hours)

    • Peak evening energy use - 4kWh (5-10pm)

  • Battery capacity required = 4kWh (usable capacity)

    • Solar array size* - Min number of panels required = 14 x 300W (4.2kW)

    • Location - Note slightly larger system needed for southern VIC & TAS

    • Solar orientation - Roughly North facing on 20-30 deg tilt

    • No solar shading issues from large trees / buildings

    • Total estimated cost - $9-12K (inc GST)#

  • Inverter and battery options currently available - Solax, LG chem, Enphase, Samsung, Sungrow, Goodwe, BYD.

 

2. Hybrid solar system for self-use and limited back-up power

Hybrid system using a SolarEdge inverter and LG chem battery - Installed by  Skyline Solar

Hybrid system using a SolarEdge inverter and LG chem battery - Installed by Skyline Solar

This is the most economical hybrid system with enough battery storage to cover peak evening energy use from 5pm till midnight. The solar array will cover the majority of the daily energy use plus charging of the battery system. These systems can also provide limited back-up power during a blackout. Note, if the black-out happens during the day (when the battery is full) the system would typically be able to power essential loads (lights, TV, laptops, fridge etc) for 6-12 hours.

  • Total energy used per day - 12kWh (over 24 hours)

    • Peak evening energy use - 5kWh

    • Back-up reserve - 1.0kWh (after peak use)

  • Battery capacity required = 6.0kWh (usable capacity)

    • Solar array size* - Min number of panels required = 14 x 300W (4.2kW)

    • Location - Note slightly larger system needed for southern VIC & TAS

    • Solar orientation - Roughly North facing on 20-30 deg tilt

    • No solar shading issues from large trees / buildings

    • Total estimated cost - $12-15K (inc GST)#

  • Inverter and battery options currently available - Solax, Redback Technologies, LG chem, Tesla, Pylontech, Alpha ESS, Fronius, BYD, Sungrow, Enphase, SolarEdge.


 

3. Hybrid solar system for maximum self-use and back-up power

This is a more advanced hybrid system with enough battery storage to cover your peak evening energy as well the off-peak overnight energy use.  The solar array will cover the majority of the daily energy use plus charging of the battery system. These systems will provide greater back-up power during a blackout. Note, if the black-out happens during the day (when the battery is full) the system would typically be able to power your essential loads (lights, TV, laptops, fridge etc) for 12-24 hours or several days in good weather.

  • Total energy used per day - 12kWh (over 24 hours)

    • Peak evening energy use - 5kWh

    • Off-peak or overnight energy use - 3kWh

    • Back-up reserve - 1kWh

  • Battery capacity required = 9kWh (usable capacity)

    • Solar array size* - Min number of panels required = 18 x 300W (5.4kW)

    • Location - Note slightly larger system needed for southern VIC & TAS

    • Solar orientation - Roughly North facing on 20-30 deg tilt

    • No solar shading issues from trees / buildings

    • Total estimated cost - $15-20K (inc GST)#

  • Inverter and battery options currently available - Solax, Redback Technologies, Selectronic SP-PRO, SMA, LG Chem, Tesla, GCL, Pylontech, Sonnen, Redflow, Fronius, SolarEdge.

 

4. Hybrid/off-grid solar energy management system

This is the most advanced hybrid system with potentially enough battery storage to cover your total energy use for several days at a time. At the larger scale it is essentially an off-grid system and would be able to operate independent of the grid for much of the year and several days at a time over winter or bad weather. Note: If setup in an off-grid location a back-up generator would be required. Refer to the following section 'Going off-grid' for more details about off-grid power systems. Also see our guide to selecting an Off-grid/hybrid inverter and batteries here.

An advanced AC coupled off-grid solar power system with lithium battery bank -  Click for full review

An advanced AC coupled off-grid solar power system with lithium battery bank - Click for full review

The solar array and battery will typically cover all daily energy use plus charging of the battery system. In addition these systems can provide full back-up power for the entire home including high load appliances such as reverse cycle air-conditioners. Note, if a black-out happens the system would be capable of powering your essential loads (lights, TV, laptops, fridge etc) indefinitely if you monitor the system and high loads such as air-conditioning for much of the day in the right conditions.

  • Total energy used per day - 12kWh (over 24 hours)

    • Peak evening energy use - 5kWh

    • Off-peak or overnight energy use - 3kWh

    • Back-up reserve - min 9kWh up to 30kWh or more.

  • Battery capacity needed = 18-40kWh (usable capacity)

    • Solar array size* - Min number of panels required = 20 x 300W (6.0kW)

    • Location - Note larger system needed for southern VIC & TAS

    • Solar orientation - Roughly North facing on 25-45 deg tilt

    • No solar shading issues from trees / buildings

    • Total estimated cost - $20-60K (inc GST)#

  • Inverter options currently available - Selectronic SP PRO, SMA Sunny Island, Schneider Conext XW+, Outback Radian (USA only), Redback Technologies.

  • Battery options currently available - Most lead-acid batteries (Gel or AGM), Narada lead-carbon, LG Chem, Sonnenshine, Redflow Zcell, Ecoult Ultrabattery, Simpliphi PHI, GenZ LFP

 

# Cost Breakdown - Solar battery systems

The following figures are a guide only as pricing from various distributors, installers and retailers can vary significantly depending on state and location. Prices in Australian dollars $

  • Hybrid solar Inverters - $2000 - $4000 (Single phase)

  • Advanced Off-grid/hybrid (multi-mode) inverters - $4000 - $6500 (per phase)

  • Battery storage - Lithium - $500 - $850 per kWh (usable)

  • Battery storage - Lead-acid (VRLA) - $600 - $850 per kWh (usable)

  • Solar panels including installation - $900 -$1300 per kW (inc solar STC rebates)

Note: Installation cost can vary significantly depending on roof type, roof height & available space, panel tilt kits, distance to inverter, roof access, battery location, switchboard location and other requirements to meet current standards and regulations.