Which solar battery will give the best value over time?
Here at Clean NRG Solar, we are often asked which is the best value for money Solar Battery Storage Solution available in Perth.
Introducing the long-life home energy management system by Senec.
Long-life products. A great concept, but how do you peer into a crystal ball and see which products will still actually be around twenty years on? These days TV advertisements featuring pink Duracell bunnies tapping away when the competitors have stopped just won’t cut it for many consumers. Planned obsolescence has seemingly become such an ingrained part of product design that many consumers don’t believe that any products can be built to last. And even if they are, would most consumers really pay more for long-term value over low up-front costs?
Let’s focus specifically on Solar energy management systems, what should we look for to determine genuine long-life value? And what is the highest cycle-rate-over-lifetime storage unit in the world?
What to look for:
Cycles covered under the warranty
Compare the recharging cycle rates achieved by the various energy storage solutions covered under the warranty. It is important to understand not only the total number of cycles but also the capacity to cycle more than once a day to achieve the maximum benefit from solar storage. Also, how the warranty is serviced on the ground and by who are vital questions, as many providers do not have local people ready to handle after-sales care.
Sophisticated temperature control
High temperatures kill batteries, it’s that simple. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the hot Australian summers. Some batteries have their own intricate cooling systems because they were developed for a car to provide enormous bursts of power and so need to be kept very cool. If they are installed outside and exposed to the elements, the problem becomes even more critical.
Some other energy storage systems keep their actual battery component at a regulated temperature without any cooling system at all. They do this in two ways; firstly, by being given the IP21 Accreditation which allows it to be installed indoors in more moderate temperatures, aided by air conditioning. Secondly, they use a sophisticated monitoring system that automatically controls the charge and discharge rates to ensure a long battery life. If too much charge is coming through, they can divert power directly to certain appliances such as pool pumps or hot water systems. This also means that when the battery is full, it can channel power directly to appliances automatically while it cools itself down.
One lot of circuitry can look very similar to the next. Understanding how they differ and what you get for your money is complex for most people. Germany is famous for its detailed, procedure-driven culture and some of the best systems are not only German-designed but also made and assembled in Germany. It is common for one component of the storage system to be manufactured elsewhere to the rest of the components. The best batteries within the larger storage system currently come from Panasonic or LG Chem, which does not mean that these companies also provide the best overall storage system. This depends on a range of other factors, including whether whole units have the best way of keeping the battery itself cool as noted above.
Being able to add another system onto an existing one means it will be useful for longer. Within one unit, sophisticated storage systems can have increased storage capacity added and then can even ‘daisy chain’ to other units. The cost of install increases obviously but the potential to share and trade energy does also.
Track record is important as it will give us a record of thousands of happy users over many years in the game. These users should be self sufficient from 30% with just solar panels to at least 80% when they add a quality storage unit.
Is there energy storage that fits the criteria?
SENEC is a total energy management system that is little-known in Australia but has around 20% of the German market. It was founded in 2009 and has installed 14,000 storage units, 9,000 of which are their new lithium cobalt product which is now available in Australia. These users in cloudy Germany have found that these systems store over 80% of the power requirements of their households.
Over that period of time it has demonstrated a capacity to identify and adopt new chemistry and technology, integrating it into the product successfully. There are now smarts in both the software and hardware for this product that are well ahead of competitors. SENEC is a company that has developed solutions specifically for houses, where controlled energy release over time is vital to provide a long battery life. SENEC storage systems provide 12,000 cycles provided under a warranty that is serviced locally in Australia. This includes a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty and 20-year estimated operating life.
The battery inside the SENEC units come from Panasonic and in their larger batteries, LG Chem – both market leaders. Units are available from 2.5kWh up to 36kWh and are AC coupled so they can fit with any existing solar panel. They come in both single phase and three Phase Power. Importantly, they are IP21 Accredited so they can be installed inside where the battery temperature can be more controlled, in extreme situations, aided also by air conditioning.
Beyond the physical units, there is the future capability to upload excess power to the cloud and draw down as needed or send to friends and family. In Germany today, you can even put credit into a SENEC card and refill your car with you own excess energy on the other side of the country. This is planned in Australia for next year. So, when you talk about long-term value, there are many ways to look at this.
All of the above has led the German CleanTech Institute (DCTI), the EUPD Research and other bodies awarding SENEC the top storage unit in Germany for 2015, 2016 and 2017.
In summary, we regard SENEC as the highest cycle-rate-over-lifetime storage unit in the world. The cost is comparable with other units in its class, but the warranty covers so much that it’s hard to go past it. It’s not just the sizeable number of years covered under the warranty, but also the fact that it comes with a local SENEC support team, remotely monitored functionality and automatically updated software.
More cycles = Better economy
For all the reasons listed above, we are proud to announce that we are now one of a select group of SENEC Approved Retailers in Australia! If you want to talk more about this, contact Craig Donohue at [email protected] / 0422 607 469.