Future proof your new solar system

If you’re buying a solar panels system, you want to know it’s future-proof.

It’s always hard to predict the future, particularly when it comes to energy. All you can do is look at technology trends and consider how relevant they may be to your situation.

In the future, it’s likely that more and more homes will be all-electric. Gas is becoming increasingly expensive and, because it’s environmentally damaging, state governments in Australia are developing plans to phase it out.

Aside from the trend towards the all-electric home, other technology trends that may affect how you use power in your home include battery storage, electric cars, smart appliances that can be controlled via just one app and energy trading via Virtual Power Plants.

All these technologies are available now – however some may still be priced too high for many household budgets. But over the next five to 10 years, it’s likely that prices will drop as these technologies become mainstream due to rising adoption rates and more government incentives to help Australia reach the target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Don’t invest in old technology

The most important thing when buying a new solar panel system is to know that you can add to it later without wasting any of your original investment.

Right now, you may just want solar panels installed to cut your electricity bills. But down the track, you may want to add battery storage to become more energy independent and get your power bills down to near zero.

With the rate of adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), forecast to increase exponentially in coming years, chances are the next car you purchase – or the one after that – will be electric. Powering your EV with free solar electricity sounds almost too good to be true, particularly with petrol prices at record highs. But if you get the right solar set-up in place now, you will have the basis for free motoring in the future.

No more waste

The last thing you want to do is rip off your existing solar system and start afresh. That’s expensive and wasteful.

But until recently, there was no other option (without a whole lot of expensive re-work). You had to bite the bullet, discard the old system, and pay for an entirely new solar panel system that was big enough to power your home and charge a battery.

Fortunately, technology has moved on. Now there’s a new solar solution that makes it possible to install a solar panel system now and add to it later – without wasting a cent of your initial investment.

And if solar panels increase in wattage or size, that’s not a problem. You’ll be able to install a mismatch of solar panels to expand the size of your solar PV system, utilising the latest solar panel technology in the market.

In fact, it’s all plug and play. That’s the panels, the battery, the EV charger and more besides!

Sounds good, right? It is!

So, what is this new solar solution?

SolarEdge: the company behind this new solution

This ‘new solution’ isn’t entirely new. It’s from SolarEdge, the world’s #1 inverter manufacturer*, and it’s based on their Power Optimizer and inverter technology.

SolarEdge Power Optimizers are little units that sit on the back of each solar panel. They have revolutionized the solar industry by providing a cost-effective way of handling common performance issues with solar panels caused by:

  • partial shading
  • cloud coverage
  • panel deterioration
  • leaf litter, dirt, bird droppings etc.

Power optimizers enables the power generation of each solar panel to be optimized and remain unaffected by a drop in performance from other panels caused by any of the above issues. This contrasts with a standard central string inverter system where one underperforming panel will bring down the performance of all the panels on the same array.

What this means is that SolarEdge Power Optimizers produce more solar power over the longer term than standard string inverter systems. More power means more savings, that’s why SolarEdge has the edge when it comes to generating the most power for your home.

And they’re popular. Over 10 million SolarEdge Power Optimizers have been installed on homes and businesses worldwide.

It’s thanks to these little Power Optimizers that it’s possible to add more solar panels whenever you want – without worrying about changes in panel technology.

Power Optimizers work in conjunction with a SolarEdge inverter which operates at an industry-leading efficiency levels of up to 99 per cent.

What’s new?

SolarEdge have now launched the SolarEdge Energy Hub. It’s an award-winning inverter, that’s battery-ready, electric vehicle-ready, and future-ready.

The SolarEdge Energy Hub inverter sits at the heart of the system and uses Power Optimizers on each individual solar panel to provide maximum power to your home, even if there’s partial shading or dirt on your panels.

SolarEdge has the smarts built-in the system with the home network plug-in which provides wireless communication between the SolarEdge inverter and the entire energy management eco system – including the SolarEdge Home Battery, EV charger and a lot more!

SolarEdge Home Battery

The first new product that’s available in the SolarEdge Energy Hub is the SolarEdge Home Battery. It’s a 10kWh DC-coupled lithium ion battery that plugs straight into the SolarEdge inverter.

One of the major advantages of the SolarEdge Home Battery is that it allows you to add between two to three times as many solar panels compared to the capacity of your SolarEdge inverter. For example, if you have a 6kW SolarEdge Energy Hub inverter you can add up to 18kWh of solar panels.

There is no other battery + inverter combination that enables this massive extension in solar panel capacity.

But why would you want so many solar panels?

The main reason is if you want a fully electric self-sufficient home with near-zero electricity bills, you need a system that can be easily expanded to meet your increasing demand for self-generated electricity. Even if you just want this as an option, it’s good to know that the SolarEdge Home Battery provides this flexibility.

It’s all about future-proofing and having choices down the track.

SolarEdge Energy Hub: What is it?

In addition to the inverter, power optimizers and battery, the, the SolarEdge Energy Hub includes:

Full back-up (now available)

  • This feature works when the SolarEdge Backup Interface is installed
  • Full back-up for single-phase properties
  • For three-phase properties, each of the three-phases can be backed up individually. However, this does not currently support three-phase appliances running on back-up power.

Advanced energy monitoring (now available)

  • One app that shows how much electricity is being generated, stored and used in your home
  • Cost of grid power
  • Year on year system performance comparison

SolarEdge Dashboard

Dashboard provides a real-time information on solar production, household power consumption, grid exports and battery charge

SolarEdge Comparative Energy graph

Graph provides a quick comparison of year-on-year solar generation

 

EV charging

  • Integrated EV charger inverter available
  • Standalone EV charging due Q3 2022
  • Plug and play installation
  • Free charging using your solar energy

Smart home management (available)

  • One app to control all your electric appliances
  • Perfect for the all-electric home

SolarEdge Smart Home Management

Virtual Power Plant enabled (available)

  • Trade your surplus solar energy
  • Get paid more than the feed-in tariff

SolarEdge VPP Partners

SolarEdge: typical upgrade path

Here’s an example of a typical upgrade path for households who want to start with solar panels, and add batteries and EV charging later.

Install now

  • 10kW SolarEdge inverter
  • 6kW Solar Panels with SolarEdge Power Optimizers

Later

  • 10kWh SolarEdge battery
  • Another 6kW of solar panels with Power Optimizers (for charging battery)
  • Note: No need to buy another inverter

Later still

  • EV charging
  • Another 6kW solar panels with Power Optimizers (for charging EV)
  • Note: No need for another inverter

It’s worth noting the difference in price between a 5kW and a 10kW SolarEdge inverter is a question of hundreds of dollars, not thousands. It’s worth going bigger on the inverter at the outset. Otherwise, you could end up spending a lot more if you decide to add another inverter later (extra inverter cost + extra labour cost).

However, if you don’t get the bigger inverter and your circumstances do change, you are still covered because the 5kW SolarEdge inverter will allow solar panels to be oversized by up to 300 per cent thanks to it being a DC coupled battery storage system.

Advantages of SolarEdge

The advantages of SolarEdge compared to conventional string inverter solar panel systems are shown in the table below.

 

SolarEdge Conventional string inverter solar systems
Add more solar panels later (any wattage, any size, any brand) Yes No
Panel-level system optimization for maximum power Yes No
Keep the same inverter when adding more solar panels Yes No
Add a battery later Yes Yes
Add more panels to power the battery Yes No
Add even more panels for EV charging Yes No
Keep within the sizing limits of most network distributors Yes No

Meets strictest safety standards

SolarEdge is compliant with the world’s strictest safety standards for solar power systems. The built-in safety features that come as standard with SolarEdge are superior to those found it virtually any other type of solar panel system.

There are three key safety features with a SolarEdge solar panel system:

  • SafeDC™ technology which automatically de-energises DC cables to a touch-safe 1 volt whenever the inverter is turned off
  • Inverter-embedded arc detection which accurately identifies electrical arcs and automatically shuts down the inverter to prevent fires
  • Panel-level monitoring for early identification of potentially dangerous faults

Watch this video to learn more about SolarEdge safety features:

Summary

All up, SolarEdge has an industry-beating solution for anyone who wants full flexibility now – and in the future – with how they use solar energy to power their home and reduce costs.

With SolarEdge, you get protection from being stuck with a solar system that’s difficult and expensive to update.

It’s hard to know when the price of a battery or an electric car is going to fit with your household budget.

But with SolarEdge, that doesn’t matter. You can rest easy knowing that whenever you’re ready to invest in storage or an EV, you’ve got the right infrastructure to make it happen

Now, that’s worth something!

Keen to know more?

If future proofing your home with solar energy is on your to-do list, get in touch. We can assess your energy needs and design a solar system that ticks the boxes for you right now. Plus, we can show you how your system be extended down the track.

*In revenues according to IHS PV inverter market tracker, 2021