Solar Panel Regrets

rennix
Switched-on
1 Reply 700 Views

I'm wondering if anyone has any regrets with installing their Soalr Panels please? Or wished they had known differently when installing their solar panels?

11 REPLIES 11
Lester
Powerhouse
2 Replies 543 Views

You would certainly not be alone @rennix 

A lot of people fall for the flash ads and cheap offers, or salespeople are focused on sales, not what's good for the client.

Later you are are left to discover solar isn't suited to your home hours, power usage, and those cheap string systems not the best for your needs / site parameters.

 

I was lucky enough to do a bit of googling, found the solarquotes site, and wow, that place has some of the best info, blog write ups, ALL the ins and outs of solar, batteries, and related tech.

They also offer a referral service to get 3 quotes from the best local installers for your inputted needs.

 

I went to many other sites as well and gleaned what I could, recognising how complex solar systems can be, and how (almost as) complex getting on the right retailer plan can be.

 

So what's your regret(s) and have you looked at ways you might be able to possibly remedy these ?

Caban
Super Nova
0 Replies 533 Views

I did have some regrets with my first set of batteries.

 

They were Lead Acid Deep Discharge 6V Batteries. They had a five year warranty and an expected life of eight to twelve years. The problem with these cells is they need to be operated within the correct parameters. They should not be discharged below 60% and they need ti be cycled. When my original controller caught fire they were left uncharged for too long. This lead to one cell failing at a bit over six years. I thought I could just buy one battery, but that will not work, the whole bank needs to be replaced.

The problem is that in 2013 that was the only affordable battery.

I looked at replacing it with a Lithium Ion cells, but found they have almost as many disadvantages as the Lead Acid. Their main advantage is they are very energy dense, which is good for transport operations (Cars etc) but my house does not move. After having one Solar related fire the danger of thermal runaway was scary.

I ended up buying LTO Batteries and think they tick nearly all the required boxes.

rennix
Switched-on
1 Reply 527 Views

I am looking at installing and am trying to avoid hefty mistakes as I know not much at all about this stuff. Just that my current power bill is crazy high and I might be better off investing in solar panels finally. I never did understand them enough to get them done. Never knew who to trust.

Lester
Powerhouse
1 Reply 524 Views

Good you got in the research before buying !

Go the that link I put in above (whoops, I put that in another post recently, see below), it really has a lot, and I mean a lot, of great info.

Other places to find good info is YouTube, search for > solar australia < and see what comes up (skim the news ones, look for informative channels).

 

https://www.solarquotes.com.au/ 

 

First thing is to look at how you use power, and when you use power.

If you are home a lot during the day, or someone there doing washing, using power etc, then it helps justify getting solar, that really is the biggest way solar saves you, using power when you self consume your production.

 

If you come home after hours and do that stuff, solar will almost be a waste of $ (feed in is chicken feed, a little bonus towards supply charge), unless you get a larger system and a battery from the start, and manage power using that for after hours.

 

Competent and honest solar companies / installers / sales people will carefully look at your bills and help you work out what you might need.

 

Good luck, very glad we took the leap 4 months ago.

Lester
Powerhouse
1 Reply 523 Views

Oh, and I do have one small regret . . . not getting a battery from the start.

Solar is good for us, because we use a lot of our power during the day.

The billing period about the end in our first full one with solar, no joke would have been a grand bill, on track for $200.

 

We put 70% of our production into the grid each day, if we had a battery we'd pretty much be able to use that for non daylight needs, and the rest into the grid would probably cover all of our supply charges, wiping the power bill totally.

We might even be able to look at setting up the account with VPP and allow some of our battery to go to the grid when demand is high, much better feed in rates !

 

After Winter and seeing how that goes, I will probably analyse if it's worth getting a powerwall 2.

Just having the optional blackout protection is a nice bonus with a battery.

Caban
Super Nova
1 Reply 517 Views

@Lester 

 

My battery does cover the night consumption, with a little left over, about 95% of the time.

 

The Feed In is reduced, as that power is being fed to the battery. That lowers the offset for the Daily Charge.

 

My Daily Charge is very high, so I would end up with a bill if it wasn't for the Govt Rebates.

 

Is the the Muskstick II battery Lithium Ion technology?

Lester
Powerhouse
1 Reply 515 Views

Cheers @Caban 

Not as much grid feed in true, but much better value to use your battery power through the night than from the grid for sure, why a battery is very efficient with grid solar setups.

At least here, our evening peak tou rate to midnight is 50c and feed in 6c, so an incredible difference.

 

Yes, lithium ion, 13.5kw usable, guaranteed 10 year guaranteed to still maintain 70% with unlimited cycles.

 

They expect it will be more like 80%, but I feel the usual lithium rules of not running down too low is good to do if possible, hence 13.5kw is good to have available, might use say 4 or 5kw of that overnight.

Not much one can do about upper charge level, but might be able to programme them to stop charging at 85% or 90% then send to grid.

One should be able to manage a typical home with that.

Caban
Super Nova
1 Reply 498 Views

@Lester 

 

Maybe the wrong thread but I think I would have regretted getting a Lithium Ion battery. Having had on battery set which had a relatively short lifespan and did not tolerate complete discharge, I was not in a hurry to repeat that mistake. Hence getting LTO instead. Warranty of 90% capacity at 20 years and projected lifespan of 50+ years seems a better investment to me.

Lester
Powerhouse
1 Reply 493 Views

Yeah I suppose the main reasons lto batteries aren’t as widely used is the trade off of lower energy density, higher price, and limitations in cycle life. 
For pretty much all lithium best practice with how low you deplete them and high you charge them regularly is key for any of their longevity. 
Having a battery is still fairly rare for most solar system owners, but it’s getting more common with advantages it can bring overall, and getting better with financial justification in many situations.