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LG Chem unveils new battery storage, adding more choice for solar households

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LG Chem, the South Korean company with the biggest share of the grid-connected battery storage market in Australia, has released its new generation systems, promising they will offer more choice, and be cheaper, smaller, lighter, and with improved aesthetics.

LG Chem, which claims nearly half of the nascent but rapidly growing Australian grid-connected market, is offering low voltage and high voltage options to Australian households, with its new battery storage systems ranging from a stack able 3.3kWh lithium-ion system to a 9.8kWh system.

The three low-voltage battery systems (48 volt) are being offered in 3.3kWh, 6.5kWh and 9.9kWh units, while 7kWh and 9.8kWh high voltage (400 volt) battery systems are also being offered.

The new series of battery storage systems will be offered globally but will be launched in Australia first as it remains the most attractive market for battery storage because of its high electricity prices, tariff structure, high levels of rooftop solar (now at 5GW) and excellent sunshine.

Changhwan Choi, Australian Business Development Manager at LG Chem, says there is a massive opportunity in the Australian market, particularly with the ending of the premium feed-in tariffs in some states at the end of the year.

And although battery storage remains an early adopter market, LG Chem expects it to reach the mass market within a few years. “We think that at the end of this year, it will take off very sharply,” he says.

LG Chem says it has sold nearly 1,000 units since last September, which it estimates gives it nearly half of the total grid-connected battery storage market, with estimates of around 2,000 homes in total.

The South Korean company is one of a number of international and local developers which are rolling out battery storage offerings in the next few months, including Enphase, Sonnenbatterie, BYD, Redflow, Panasonic and others.

“There is a massive sustainability potential that is yet to be unlocked if Australia wants to be 100 per cent powered by renewable energy,” Choi says. LG Chem says its battery storage systems are pitched at households that want to store the output of their solar systems for use in the evening, minimizing the amount of solar energy that is sent back to the grid, and which no longer attract significant tariffs.

Choi says prices for the new systems will be revealed when they are available at the end of August, but he says that costs are falling by 10-15 per cent a year, as manufacturers increase volumes, and the boost from the electric vehicle market.

LG Chem is one of many battery storage manufacturers that now offer a modular design that allows households to add capacity as needed. “If a user chooses to expand its photo voltaic system, the capacity of the storage system can also be adjusted accordingly”, says Choi.

The new systems are lighter and smaller than their predecessors. The New 6.5kWh unit is 8kg lighter and 4cm shorter than the current 6.4kWh offering. And they will be made available in varying colors – à la Tesla – in silver and “champagne gold”. They can also be installed outside the home.

Posted on 19th July 2016

Why microinverters are a good option for commercial solar projects?

Microinverters have a number of benefits when used in a commercial installation, including increased safety, NEC compliance, comprehensive monitoring, higher energy harvest, and greater reliability than many string inverter options.

Safety and NEC-compliance

Inherent to their design, microinverters do not require high-voltage DC running across the roof as a string inverter system would. Instead, about 30V DC runs out of the panels into the microinverter and is then converted to AC power—right on the roof. This avoids the very high voltages (600V or higher) that would be running off the roof into a string system. The lower voltages of microinverters makes the system safer for property owners, emergency responders, and maintenance workers.

AP systems and NEC 690.12

1. Microinverters inherently [by design] meet the rapid shutdown requirement without the need to install additional costly equipment.

2. When the AC utility is not present, the microinverter performs the rapid shutdown function in approximately 100 milliseconds, 100 times faster than the required 10 seconds required per code.

3. Microinverters are installed directly underneath solar modules, so all low voltage < 30VDC wiring is not accessible to the first responders eliminating any hazard.

4. In regards to APsystems microinverters, there are no DC conductors energized more than 5 feet in length inside a building or more than 10 feet from a PV array.

Microinverters comply with the NEC standards by design. Safety codes like NEC 690.12 for rapid shutdown, and 690.11 for arc-fault protection, require quick action to protect first responders in case of a fire — the system must be de-energized within 10 seconds of shutdown under the code. Microinverters actually achieve this much quicker. When AC is not present, the microinverters will shut down within 100 milliseconds, 100 times faster than the code requires. In the worst case, first responders on a roof with a microinverter system will encounter just 30V DC, which is not considered hazardous – and the microinverters themselves will be under the modules, further shielding them from inadvertent contact.

System monitoring

While a string inverter system monitors groups of modules as a single unit, a microinverter system monitors each module individually. This allows the end user to check output and uptime of every single module through an online interface, for more precise system monitoring than afforded by string arrays. You will know the modules are on and running at all times, and exactly how they are performing. Any issue with a module can be easily identified and corrected – saving the time and money that would be spent trying to figure out where the problem is in a string inverter system.

Energy harvest

The next big thing for microinverters is increased energy harvest. Microinverters, by their design, are converting power right on the roof, panel by panel. This helps minimize the effects of shading or soiling that can inhibit performance. In a string inverter system, shading across one module would compromise the entire array. Microinverters ensure that you’re producing power at the highest level per panel at all times.
Microinverters also turn on and start producing power at a lower voltage than string inverters (about 21V rather than 200V). This means that microinverters will turn on earlier in the morning and work later into the evening, increasing energy harvest through the day.

Reliability and uptime

Reliability is important for energy harvest. Microinverters are in a unique position in regard to reliability as well. If a microinverter does fail, or has an issue, it’s only one unit out of the entire system, as opposed to a string system in which one failure will take out a whole group of modules. Reliability of the microinverter doesn’t just relate to power production, but also reliability to communicate the production of that power. If a string inverter goes down, it stops communicating information about the system. Whereas microinverters actually create a “mesh” network; even if one unit is down, they can still talk to the others and pass performance data along back to the controller.

One last important aspect of microinverters is that most carry a 25-year warranty, as opposed to a typical 10-year warranty from string inverters. Microinverters have proven themselves in many challenging environments and will prove a good choice in commercial-scale projects too.

Posted on 4th May 2016

Are you getting what you paid for when, and after your solar system is installed?

At REA we pride ourselves on customer service, we always go above and beyond to ensure the customer is 100% happy and gets what they envisioned. As one of the Directors of REA I make sure my install team do not leave their job unless everything is perfect ( within reason ) and this goes all the way down to sweeping the ground to make sure we have not left one ounce of rubbish! I have been in the solar and electrical industry for almost 16 years now, and from my experience it is very important to put safety first. With electrical components within the solar installation it is imperative that every point, from the circuit breakers in the meter box, to the cabling used, to the earthing points on the panels, is installed to AS300 standards. You will see hundreds of solar systems out there where the installers have run conduits across roofs, and down the side of walls, well it is absolutely my last case scenario using conduit as it looks hideous, we go above and beyond and lift roof sheets, drill down 2 story walls, just to make sure the cabling is concealed so the customer can't see it! Our after sales service is also above and beyond a normal conventional solar system, as we have panel by panel monitoring so not only can the customer monitor their system, so do we and this is 24/7 7 days a week. So if any issues came up with the system we contact you!! Here at REA we promise you will get the best solar system on the market, and that means the best installed system on the market, so are you getting what you paid for when you buy an REA solar system? To me its a no brainer it money well spent and the solar system will eventually pay itself off for you. For more information on residential solar , commercial solar , solar power , solar panels in Brisbane please contact one of our solar experts today!

Posted on 2nd Dec 2015

Why install solar?

As energy prices around the country soar and electricity bills continue to grow, the necessity to install a Solar system on your home grows everyday. Homeowners are wishing to take advantage of a system which produces clean, green energy, and protects them from rising electricity costs. REA Solar can supply and install a state of the art solar system, safer than any other, which can eliminate your power bill and save you thousands.

At REA Solar we are informative and helpful from start to finish and go above and beyond to ensure that your system is installed in an extremely professional manner. Our sales team are very well educated in the solar and electrical industries, and our installers are extremely professional and will ensure the install is completed quickly and correctly everytime. We encounter a wide spectrum of jobs, some take 2 hours, some take 12, but we ensure every job is installed perfectly.

Posted on 26th Nov 2015

How do I know if my solar is actually working?

Some solar owners have no idea how much there solar is producing, or if it is working at all.

According to the clean energy council almost 1.25 million small-scale solar power systems were installed across the country by the end of 2013, meaning that around 3.1 million Australians now live or work beneath a set of solar panels. But how do any of these homeowners actually know if their solar is working?

Solar power is the most beneficial investments that a homeowner can make to power there home, however the type of system and monitoring ability can make a dramatic difference.

Once solar has been added to a rooftop the biggest assumption made by solar owners is that now they can set and forget. This actually couldn’t be further fro m the truth with rates of DC solar related fires, system failures, and panel damage skyrocketing. Some of the more common problems owners are facing is what is called performance downtime. This is caused by failures due to product defects or malfunctions, poor installation and environmental effects such as high grid voltage, thunder storms etc. These issues all contribute to thousands of solar systems throughout Australia not performing to their maximum potential, a problem that is most likely unknown to the owners. An American study last year actually highlighted this issue and found that 54 of 255 homes experienced issues, lowering the output and production of their system.

According to Brisbane Solar Company REA Solar’s director Michael Mrowka, all solar owners should ask themselves the questions:

How do you know your system is working correctly?
How do you know if you have a solar panel failure?

Mrowka said it is difficult to answer these questions when you have a conventional DC solar system installed. You can only see the overall performance of the system at the inverter, so if one panel is not working correctly and dragging down the whole system performance there will be massive losses and system downtime will go unnoticed. Home owners need to realize the importance of being able to monitor their system, and see that their solar production actually meets the KWh that it was sought out or expected to do. This is why it is so important to purchase solar that monitors solar and identifies that the amount of production is correct.

With Australia’s willingness to ship in all qualities of from around the world, there is an increasing push for solar buyers to really consider the types of systems they are buying, and how they are monitoring them after install.

Posted on 29th Sep 2015

How does an REA Solar system work?

Still trying to wrap your head around how solar works? Here is a run through of how Brisbane solar company REA Solar’s ultra system works. This is the very latest in solar technology that produces up to 25% more power than conventional systems because of its unique features!



1.   Harness the Power of the sun

REA’s world leading solar panels are installed on your roof; they capture the light and convert it to DC electricity. The higher the panel rating the power it will produce.

2.   Convert the DC power to Usable AC

Installed on the back of each panel is a micro inverter that takes the DC power generated by your panels and converts it to AC power that can then be used in your home.

3.   Connections that make it all possible

The cable and components that connect the system to your home is just as important and we use the highest rated products in the world; this ensures maximum safety and unmatched performance.

4.   Running off renewables

The system is now connected to your house mains ready for use; your meter is changed to a solar meter, which measures exported energy your house does not need. You also get paid for the energy exported.

Technological Innovations

Equals higher output and yield for 25 years

Posted on 10th Sep 2015