With the announcement of SA Government’s $100m Home Battery Scheme the solar industry is going to see a flood of offers hit the market.
Since commencing in 2014 as a solar repair and maintenance company, NRG Solar has fixed nearly 1500 solar systems in SA to date. NRG Solar is now one of the largest solar and residential battery installers in South Australia. Combining these two elements of our business, we are experts in solar advice.
It is thought that over half of all solar systems in South Australia have been installed by companies no longer in business and the customers who own them have dubious warranties and no support. Many of these installations happened throughout the 2010 – 2012 solar boom.
Or the “cowboy boom” as I prefer to call it.
Home battery systems can last up to 20 years or more and I don’t want to see similar mistakes made. So here are my top 5 tips to make a sensible purchase.
Look out for companies who do not have their head office in South Australia. During the “cowboy boom” many interstate and even overseas companies set up fancy websites and social media pages and pretended to be local. They sold systems promising to be here in the long run, got contract installation companies to install systems and then as soon as the government initiatives dried up they vanished. Phone numbers were disconnected, emails not replied and no responsibility for repairs or warranties.
What should you do instead?
Ask for their Head office address
Go and visit their office, check them out. Our showroom is located at 406 South Road, Richmond
KNOW WHO YOU ARE BUYING FROM
Meet the sales consultant in person and make sure they feel like someone you want to do business with and never buy over the phone. You don’t know who they are or where they are!
UNDERSTAND CHARGE CYCLES AND HOW LONG YOUR BATTERY WILL LAST
The most important question to ask when determining how long your new battery will last is…
What is the cycle life of my new battery?
A charge cycle happens when you use all of the batteries power and then fully re-charge it. But it doesn’t have to happen in one turn. Let’s assume you have a 10 kilo watt hour (kWh) battery. If on day one you use 5kWh at night and then re-charge it throughout the day on day 2. At night of day 2 you use 5kWh again and then re-charge it to full the next day – that is 1 cycle (not 2). Your battery can be charged and discharged throughout the day also because if you have charge in your battery and your home needs more energy that your solar has to give (such as during a cloudy event), your battery will discharge and later charge back up again. It’s not uncommon to see home energy batteries cycles 1.3 times per day.
What’s a good cycle life?
Well let’s compare 2 batteries (we distribute both of these batteries and they both are excellent products), Tesla and Sonnen.
Tesla has a 10 year unlimited cycle warranty. This means that it doesn’t matter what you do with the battery, you’re covered for 10 years. If you were to cycle your battery 1.3 times per day for 10 years you would have used 4,745 cycles.
Sonnen on the other hand has a 10 year warranty but also claims a 10,000 cycle lifetime. If you were to cycle your Sonnen batteries 1.3 times per day, it would take 21 years to get to 10,000 cycles!
GET THE RIGHT SIZED SOLAR AND BATTERY SYSTEM
Get advice from a solar expert about the size of your new or existing solar system. For example recently a customer bought a home energy storage system with 13.5kWh of storage. But no-one checked out his existing solar system and he ended up with a battery that was never getting charged because his solar system hardly ever exported power to the grid. So now he needs to add on another 12 panels to his solar system to create free power to charge the battery.
DON’T GET CONFUSED
Solar and home energy storage does not have to be costly or confusing. Ask whoever is trying to sell you the products to explain EXACTLY how it all works. If they say “it’s too technical to explain properly” then run. It’s not hard to explain and it is important that anyone with a home battery system understands how it works. If you are not getting the answers you need try someone else. There are plenty of great South Australian companies who have people on the ground to help you understand and choose a great solution for your families energy needs.
If you would like help buying the right battery call us on 1800 552 154 or drop into our Solar+Battery showroom on 406 South Road, Richmond.
NRG, leading solar in SA!