Frequently asked questions
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There are many benefits to installing such system at your home or business.
Batteries store energy produced from solar panels to use overnight or in poor weather conditions. However, the Soluna Power Bank goes a step further by allowing you to connect to and charge from a generator as an alternative, which is particularly useful in many remote, off-grid areas.
By generating, storing and using your own clean, renewable energy, you can enjoy greater energy independence while caring for the environment.
Not every battery storage system provides blackout protection. Many offer storage only – they allow you to use that stored energy after sunset but shut down completely if the grid goes down.
Other battery storage systems have limited blackout protection, in that you can use what’s available in the battery during a blackout but can’t recharge the system until the grid is back on. This is often the case when retrofitting or upgrading an existing system, in that the new battery inverter is not directly connected to the solar panels; instead, it must relay onto the previously installed, solar-only inverter in order to pass through any power being generated (AC coupling) and so cannot recharge until the previously-installed solar inverter is working again.
Our Soluna battery storage systems can be connected direct to solar panels via our inbuilt hybrid solar + battery inverter (i.e. DC coupling) to provide true blackout protection and recharging capabilities during power outages. A Soluna Power Bank can be connected to the grid as a hybrid system or installed as a complete stand-alone system, independent of the grid and even has a generator input to allow for more power and recharging if necessary. A Soluna Power Bank can also be connected to an existing solar PV system (i.e. AC coupled); however, blackout protection is then limited by virtue of the solar-only inverter previously installed.
The short answer is: absolutely! There are a number of different options to choose from.
You can connect to any existing solar system via the solar-only inverter (AC coupling). However, as noted previously, this option comes with some limitations when it comes to blackout protection (see ‘What happens in a blackout’ above).
It’s also possible to connect to an existing system and split the solar panels between the pre-installed, solar-only inverter and the new Soluna system. However, only the solar panels connected directly to the Soluna system will work during a blackout (DC coupling). Further, depending on the age of the existing system, some complications may arise as a result of electrical regulations changing over time. It may be necessary to upgrade the wiring, isolators and racking of the existing solar system. Your installer can advise on this when providing a quote.
So, depending on the age of an existing system, it may be easier and cheaper to install a whole new system with all the latest technology, and with all the warranty periods grouped together. A complete DC-coupled system means greater backup protection and maximum efficiency.
Here are a few key factors to consider …
- When do you use the most energy? Mostly during the day when your solar panels are producing the most instant power, or in the evenings when you may be charged a high-peak tariff by your power utility?
- What sized system will fit on your roof? Bigger doesn’t always mean better! Remember, once your battery is charged, any excess production goes back into the grid (often a power utility will pay you much less for your excess power than what they charge you to use theirs at night). There’s no point in too much energy going back to the grid and it may be a waste of money putting on extra. The same thing applies with respect to battery size: there’s no point paying for a 13.5 kWh system if you only need a 7 kWh one. A Soluna dealer can help determine the best size for your needs.
Is it better to start with a small battery, then scale up over time? Needs can change as your family or business grows and the number and types of appliances you own. With Soluna S8 and S12 Power Banks, either one, two or three batteries can be fitted inside, giving you the ultimate in choice.
Battery sizing is usually determined by how many kWh of energy you use at night, as well as the size of the solar system required to ensure adequate power supply to your home and the ability to charge the battery. A small solar system cannot charge a large battery well, if at all.
Whether your power is single-phase (1-ph) or three-phase (3-ph) is also important. If you have 3-ph loads, then a specifically 3-ph product will give the best results.
Luckily, Soluna offers a range of battery systems. Our Power Bank series caters for 1-ph power, the S4 is suitable for small homes and the S8 and S12 are best for for medium and large homes. We also offer the 15K ‘Pack HV’, a specific 3-ph battery for homes and small businesses.
Our Soluna Power Cell is designed for larger commercial applications.
Both KW (kilowatt) and kWh (kilowatt hour) are measurements of power and energy in thousand-watt steps: kW = instant power whereas kWh = energy over time. Consider, for example, the following.
A 2-kW (2000-watt) oven running for one hour uses 2 kWh, as would a 20-watt light bulb if it ran non-stop for 20 hours. A battery with 10 kWh of stored energy could run the 2-kW oven for five hours or the 20-watt light bulb for 500 hours.
Usually in a home, a few appliances (such as a TV, computer, lights, fridge, etc.) will be running at once. It’s therefore wise to keep in mind that, while battery sizes vary in terms of the amount of energy stored (kWh capacity), the power output at any one time will be fixed. For example, the Power Bank S12 can store 11.5 kWh (nominal) and output is a maximum of 5 kW of energy at any one time, so no more than 5 kW of appliances can be run simultaneously. If 5 kW of appliances did all run at once and continuously, then the amount of power stored in the Power Bank would last just under two and a half hours.
Soluna’s 15K ‘Pack HV’ for 3-ph properties holds 15 kWh (nominal) and has an output of 10 kW, meaning a 10-kW appliance could run for one and a half hours or the 20-watt light bulb for 1000 hours/41 days.
The life expectancy of a battery is measured in cycles. A cycle is a full discharge and recharge of the battery, with the depth of discharge (DoD) design life set by the manufacture or system designer.
Soluna Power Bank batteries come with 6000 cycles, which is about 16 years if the battery performs one cycle per day. Because it’s possible to design the system to have more than one cycle per day, the warranty is set at 10 years.
The unique focus of our company, and the group with which it partners (i.e. Lithium Australia, VSPC and Envirostream), is to ‘close the loop on the energy-metal cycle’. This ensures lower wastage, as well as recycling of spent batteries to create the components for new batteries, positioning Soluna Australia at the heart of the sustainability cycle.
At Soluna, we understand that every home and business is different in terms of how much – and when – energy is consumed. We therefore offer a number of different system sizes to cater for different needs … plus, all feature an internal, smart energy-management system that responds to specific demands, allowing users to regulate their consumption and maximise their savings.
Importantly too, Soluna systems offer the ultimate in blackout protection, including the option of generator input, and can act as an on-grid hybrid or a complete stand-alone system with a neat, all-in-one design and fast installation. Our 1-ph or 3-ph options can be installed as a new system or easily retrofitted to an existing solar system.
A number of rebates and incentives are in place across Australia; however, these vary from state to state and even between local authorities.
For businesses, tax benefits may accrue too.
Your local Soluna dealer can advise on rebates or concessions in your area and tailor your quote accordingly.
Most premium Soluna dealers offer a choice of ways to pay. Whether it’s cash from savings, payment on a credit card, a redraw from a home loan or a finance plan, solar + battery systems provide an excellent return on investment and will generate savings from day 1.
The best time to invest in solar + batteries was yesterday. If you’re serious about reducing your energy costs, be aware that system cost will depend on a number of factors, including the following.
- Whether you install a complete new system or retrofit to an existing solar system.
- Whether state or federal rebates or incentives apply and, if so, whether you qualify.
- The size of the system to be installed.
Let us connect you with a local Soluna dealer, who can discuss the right system for you and provide a free quote.
Please note: this FAQ section is regularly reviewed to ensure it remains relevant and up to date. That said, technology, products and industry standards are constantly evolving, so please feel free to contact us if you have any comments or require further information.