contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.


Melbourne, VIC,
Australia

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.

Blog

Reviews and information on the best Solar panels, inverters and batteries 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 Category: Featured

LG RESU Battery Review

Jason Svarc

The new huge range of LG chem RESU batteries might have positioned LG as the leader in home energy storage options.

Read More

Tesla Powerwall Review

Jason Svarc

We review the highly regarded Tesla Powerwall AC-coupled battery system and examine the unique features such as the liquid cooling system. The large 13.5kWh storage capacity and backup capability make this one of the leading home batteries on the market. But how does it really work and how long with it last?

Read More

Best Solar Inverters 2021

Jason Svarc

We review the best grid-connect solar inverters from the top manufacturers Fronius, SMA, SolarEdge, ABB and SolaX Power to decide who offers the highest quality and most reliable inverter.

Read More

Trina Solar Panels Review

Jason Svarc

Trina Solar is well established manufacturer which has broken 18 solar PV world records in efficiency and power output over the years. We review the range of panels on offer and the new high efficiency PV cell technology in development.

Read More

How much does an off-grid solar or home battery system cost?

Jason Svarc

New Solar Simulator

For more insight into the cost of solar and battery systems for your home try the free interactive Solar Simulator tool.

Solar Price and Savings Calculator.png

cost guide to Hybrid & off-grid solar systems

This is a general guide for solar battery system sizing and costs based on the energy consumption of an 'efficient’ 3 bedroom home with an average energy use of 12kWh per day. 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 hybrid solar of off-grid installation. Approximate cost breakdown is shown at the bottom for reference.The solar array size or number of solar panels required 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 as opposed to heating in winter.

Battery system Price summary

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

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

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

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

* Estimate only - full details and cost breakdown of each option below:


  1. Basic Hybrid system for self-use

This is the most basic hybrid solar 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 use either simple hybrid inverters or small 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 = 16 x 300W (4.8kW)

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

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

    • Assuming 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, Huawei


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 = 16 x 300W (4.8kW)

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

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

    • Assuming 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 = 20 x 300W (6kW)

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

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

    • Assuming no solar shading issues from trees / buildings

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

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


4. Powerful Hybrid and off-grid solar systems

This is the most advanced system with enough battery storage to cover your total energy use for several days at a time. At the larger end of the 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.

These advanced systems use either AC or DC coupled solar arrays depending on the type of inverter/charger and battery system used. Generally DC coupled systems are used for smaller scale systems up to 5kW, while larger systems use AC coupled solar inverters as shown below. Both AC and DC coupled solar can be combined to form a very reliable off-grid power system.

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 = 22 x 300W (6.6kW)

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

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

    • Assuming 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).

  • Battery options currently available - Most lead-acid batteries (Gel or AGM), Narada lead-carbon, LG Chem, BYD, Sonnenshine, Simpliphi PHI, GenZ, Powerplus Energy.

Low cost DIY off-grid solar systems

Most small-scale (DIY) off-grid solar systems used on caravans, boats, small homes and cabins use simple solar charge controllers, also known as solar regulators, connected between the solar panel/s and battery. A good quality small 20A solar charge controller will cost around $120 and can be used with one or two solar panels. The job of the charge controller is to ensure the battery is charged correctly and not overcharged. These small systems often use 12V or 24V battery inverters to provide basic AC power, which are available in many different sizes, from tiny 150W inverters ($40) used for laptops and phone chargers, up to larger 3000W inverters ($1200) or even higher.

A small scale off-grid system used for DC lighting and simple AC appliances like phone/laptop chargers.

A small scale off-grid system used for DC lighting and simple AC appliances like phone/laptop chargers.


# Cost Breakdown - Solar battery systems

The following figures are a guide only - 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 - $550 - $950 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.



Solar battery system types - AC Vs DC coupled

Jason Svarc

AC coupled is the preferred battery configuration for larger solar installations while DC coupling works very well for smaller systems. We explain the advantages and disadvantages of each along with the new generation High Voltage DC batteries and AC battery systems.

Read More