One of those new things that has caught our full attention has been the Hive battery made by Alpha ESS, a residential battery that connects up to your household to capture the electricity exported out to the grid for a small fraction of what its sold back to us (South Australia has the highest electricity costs anywhere in the world!)
Using the safest Lithium Ion Phosphate chemistry for the battery cells, the Hive has a number of things that really add to the overall utility of this to your home solar PV system.
First is that this unit is fully waterproof, a rating of IP65 which means that it can be installed outside and without the need for an external enclosure, something that many of its competitors does not have.
Able to take blasts of water from a hose, this system just needs to be installed nearby your switchboard to deliver power to your household come night time or in times of ‘gasp’ – a blackout.
An often requested feature for batteries but not always an included one is that blackout protection, which allows the system to supply power to your home under a standard blackout, like we increasingly are experiencing in South Australia or under the load shedding Brownouts that are designed to give power only to the critical needs of the network.
In the Hive battery, not only do you get UPS like features that means you wouldn’t even have your TV flicker when changing from grid to battery backup, but your solar panels will continue to supply power to your home during daylight hours.
So for your neighbours that have solar but no battery like the Hive, well its blackout for them too sorry to say…
Well that depends on how much electricity you have left over going to the grid, but this system is unique in that it’s a modular design.
This means that you could start with an initial Master 2.9kW battery (which has the computer and all the safety features) and add additional smaller Slave batteries up to a maximum of 17.4kW.
We recommend going to the 11.6kW unit to maximise the South Australian battery rebate, the cost difference is negligible and you get more storage than most people would ever need, but you can be cautious and allow the 24/7 monitoring to tell you if you can do more storage.
An added benefit is that because it connects up to the switchboard of our residence and not to the solar panels, we don’t have to look at doing any compliance safety work that is mandated on older systems, another expense that is mitigated straight away.
It also speeds up the overall installation time, we had our completed within 3 hours, others can take over a day to install.
To date batteries have been big, ugly and cumbersome but now we find that manufacturers like Alpha ESS have listened to the needs of customers and have put their work into creating something that has high appeal on all homes.
All of this has been done at historic low prices, thanks in part to the growing battery industry, better and more efficient manufacturing and let’s not forget the South Australian government really championing the renewables sector, providing up to $6000 towards your home install.