Since the mid-2000s, Australians have embraced solar as a practical, clean alternative to coal-based power. And with the recent advent of solar power home storage batteries, the industry is now poised to take another leap forward. Storage batteries enable homeowners who harvest solar energy to store excess power for later use. This added flexibility – being able to use home-generated power during the night as well as day – maximises the value of an investment in solar, making it an even more viable option for residential applications.
Leading the way in what promises to be the next revolution in renewable home energy supply is Melbourne-based Arden Homes, who recently started providing a complete Bradford solar power system including a Tesla Powerwall 2 home battery as a standard inclusion across their entire range of home designs.
Given the company’s current output of between 350 to 400 homes per year, this decision is set to make a significant contribution towards reducing the state’s demand for (primarily coal-generated) grid-based power.
‘Solar power storage technology was quite expensive and until now we’ve only really been seeing it installed in the million-dollar-plus homes,’ explains Dean Morrison, director of Arden Homes. ‘Our decision to include this technology in every home we sell extends its reach to greenfields developments, and makes it accessible to the wider population.’
‘We’re seeing first-hand the impact of rising energy prices on Victorian homeowners, and many feel they are already at the limit of their spending. So a home that includes solar with battery storage options, allowing them to virtually eliminate their need for grid electricity consumption, has proven to be a very attractive prospect for our customers.’
Arden Homes, which was established in 2010, prioritises energy-smart design in all its products. Until now, they’ve focused on climate-specific design innovations such as the inclusion of ‘sun courts’ to improve solar gain, cross-flow ventilation and natural light. Standardising the inclusion of new-generation solar energy storage facilities further strengthens the company’s environmental credentials – while providing them with a solid point of difference within a competitive market.
Over the past decade, the uptake of solar energy across Australia has been successful, with the Australian Energy Council reporting that PV panels have been installed in around 1.5 million Australian households. However several limitations have prevented solar from realising its full potential as a reliable, cost-effective alternative for household energy supply. These are, primarily, the fact that panels can only generate useable power when the sun is shining; and that most state governments have slashed their rooftop solar feed-in tariff programs, or introduced onerous regulations for solar grid connection.
The Tesla Powerwall effectively eliminates these issues. The large (yet stylish!), wall-mounted lithium-ion battery stores the excess energy generated by rooftop solar panels, so whatever power isn’t used during the day can then be used overnight. This enables homeowners to use all the energy from their solar panels – rather than seeing half of it disappear into the grid, and it helps reduce the reliance on mains power when the sun isn’t shining.
After several months of research, Arden Homes partnered with CSR Bradford Solar for the supply and install of the complete ‘Solar ChargePack’ package. 'CSR are reputable, well-known and offered a quality product at a competitive price,’ Dean says. ‘They have the specialist expertise and take on responsibility for entire installation – from assessing the customer’s requirements through to ensuring the panels are ideally located for maximum solar exposure.’
The system is sufficiently sized to dramatically reduce a home’s consumption of grid power. ‘A normal household uses about 21 kWh per 24 hours and the Tesla battery can store 13.5 kWh – which is enough to run a normal household overnight,’ Dean says. The battery, which can be wall-mounted either indoors or outside, will automatically charge and discharge to meet consumption needs, minimising the draw on mains power.
To optimise the system’s potential; the Bradford Solar ChargePack also includes a monitoring facility which tracks the household solar consumption, energy production, and energy use. This enables homeowners to minimise power costs by loadshifting their usage as required.
Dean says the move to include the Bradford Solar ChargePack in every home has already proven incredibly popular among buyers. ‘There is a growing curiosity around alternative energy sources. We find that our consumers are much savvier about how these solutions will save them money and increase a property’s resale value, along with the obvious environmental benefits.
‘New customers are amazed by the fact that it’s a standard inclusion, and many of our existing customers, whose homes were already under construction when we introduced the initiative, have asked for the system to be retro-fitted.’
While Dean says that the initiative represented a ‘giant leap of faith’ for Arden Homes, the company remains committed to leading the way with innovative home energy technologies. In setting this new commercial benchmark, Arden Homes are helping to re-define the marketplace and reshape consumers’ expectations for the mainstream delivery of homes that offer true energy efficiency and reduced running costs.
Bradford Solar and Arden Homes partnership means market leading benefits for new build customers in Victoria.
About Bradford Solar ChargePack including Tesla Powerwall 2
- Savings figures vary based on the cost of mains power, solar array size and climatic conditions but the Tesla Powerwall can potentially decrease grid electricity consumption by up to 90 per cent
- 13.5 kWh storage capacity - It is designed for daily use, and the battery will automatically charge and discharge to meet consumption needs
- Dimensions: 1150mm x 755mm x 155mm - It can be wall-mounted indoors or outside
Comes with comprehensive Tesla monitoring platform:
- Panel-level data – view the performance of each panel on your roof and enable your installer to receive system alerts
- Energy consumption data – monitor how much energy your home is consuming, from the first day the system went operational
- Self-consumption data – check how much of the energy produced by the PV system you’re actually consuming
- Power flow – see exactly how the power flows through the house when using battery storage
FYI: Feed-in tariffs (for excess energy shared back to the grid) in Victoria, NSW and South Australia end this year; battery storage means home owners will be able to make use of all the power they harvest.
Reinvent your energy with Bradford and Arden Homes