Australia needs to transition to clean energy to overcome rising energy prices and inconsistencies from the power grid. Stephen Young provides a first hand account of his move to a renewable energy solution.
Federal and state governments are not doing enough to deal with Australia's energy problems so I put my money where my mouth is and embraced alternative technology for my own home in Thirroul, NSW.
Going off the grid completely in the suburbs isn't a viable option as I would need to install a back-up system including a diesel generator. In the suburbs where the grid is available, this just becomes a more expensive option.
It would make sense for a remote location where I would otherwise need to have poles and wires set up. Governments are not doing a good job on a neighbourhood and state scale when it comes to renewable energy. So, I started from scratch.
I wanted solar panels installed and asked around for an installer. I had 3kwh put up on the roof and, based on my research, it seemed too early to install batteries but I reconsidered based on feedback from my installer and distributor. I was told that Reposit Power had a "game-changing solution" that could use software and algorithms, along with data and weather predictions, for smart battery management.
I conducted further research and found that growth in energy solutions and battery technology has been substantial, and installations are expected to triple over the next 12 months with additional functionality being provided by companies and their technology partners. I now had to find the right battery for my needs. I was given a couple of options – Tesla and LG Chem.
Given its popularity, I was interested in the Tesla solution. However, I know of three people who have gone into deals with them when Tesla wasn't ready with their support infrastructure as yet. Additionally, Tesla units are not compatible with the Reposit software, which was a key factor in my decision.
LG Chem, on the other hand, is a well-known company with battery options that could be used immediately with Reposit. It was a simple decision and I had the system installed with minimal fuss.
With the Reposit and LG Chem solution, I was able to get added functionality which gives me a holistic view of my energy usage and allows me to not only save money and power. It also helps me to generate an income by selling stored energy back to the grid at wholesale rates.
Now, many people approach a renewable energy solution purely from a commercial perspective. This isn't the best approach. It's like installing a pool which doesn't involve a cost-benefits analysis. Installing a battery is similar, it is a capital improvement although it does save more money than a pool.
The Reposit app is also very handy – I can look up whatever is happening with my energy at any time. I can see the power level in the battery, power being used, power being drawn from the grid, solar power going into the battery, where I am using the most energy and so on. It's made me more conscious of my energy usage while also giving me the peace of mind that I'm not going to receive astronomical power bills.
Best of all, my power is not time-critical – the battery provides power through the night.
As far as I can see, this is the way the world, and Australia especially, needs to be moving. Climate change isn't fake news, it is happening now and it is happening faster than we can fully comprehend.
Australia needs to transition to sustainable, clean energy as quickly as possible but till then, we can all do our part.
About the author:
Stephen Young is a former software engineer with a degree in Economics and Accounting from Australian National University, Canberra. A volunteer firefighter, Young retired in 2015 and since then has been actively involved in campaigning to accelerate the uptake of renewable technology in Australia in a bid to tackle climate change.