ReNew Issue 137

Off-grid and hybrid special

This issue of ReNew explores the topical issue of adding storage to your solar system, whether that’s grid-connected or off-grid. We look at what’s involved in quitting the grid, along with the issues to consider when choosing and configuring grid-connected batteries. We also update our inverter buyers guide to include the new breed of hybrid inverters, and investigate where the electric vehicle market is heading in Australia. Our mini guide is on renewable energy courses. Plus there’s lots more: the latest in battery tech, uninterruptible power systems, the results of our ReNew photo challenge, microgrids in Australia, a DIY water diverter and more!

Issue Contents:

Issue 137 is hot off the press and full of advice for your sustainable home this spring. As always, ReNew comes overflowing with articles to satisfy both the technically and the not-so-technically minded. Regardless of whether your interest is grid-connected or off-grid energy storage, gaining skills in renewable energy systems or the electric vehicle market, there is something for everyone in this issue.

ReNew 137 has ‘Off-grid and hybrid’ as its focus. Inside you’ll find:

Special feature: Off-grid and hybrid

Should I quit the grid? If so … which grid?

It may be popular to go off-grid, but should that be off the electricity, gas or petrol grid? ATA’s Andrew Reddaway looks at the options.

Just add batteries

Damien Moyse and Nick Carrazzo highlight what to consider when adding battery storage to a solar PV system.

The lowdown on battery technology

From lead-acid to lithium ion to salt water and flow batteries + more: Lance Turner takes a look at the technologies available now and their pros and cons.

Battery safety FAQ

The Clean Energy Council answers your questions on battery safety.

End of life care for lithium ion batteries

ANU’s Matthew Doolan and Anna Boyden survey the options for lithium ion battery recycling.

Tassie off-grid home

This Tasmanian home is PV powered in summer and hydro powered in winter. Owner Peter Tuft describes how they went about it.

Australia’s first Powerwall home

Nick Pfitzner has gained knowledge, skills and lower power bills after installing Australia’s first Tesla Powerwall.

All-electric dreams come true

John and Elizabeth Heij have created their dream home: comfortable, all-electric and running almost entirely from solar + batteries.

Off-grid with motorbike

With no generator and excess energy on sunny days, Nick Wardrop’s off-grid energy system has helped fuel his passion for motorbiking—literally.


Keep powering on: UPS at home

Lance Turner looks at uninterruptible power supplies designed to keep your appliances running, even during a blackout.

Inverter Buyers Guide: Mains power anywhere

An inverter converts your solar energy into mains-compatible power to run your house, so it’s an important component in your PV system. We look at what’s available, including the new field of hybrid inverters.

Reader projects

ReNew photo challenge

And the winner is… A selection of great snapshots showcasing sustainability.

DIY: Stop water waste

John Petheram presents his DIY diverter alongside two commercial options to prevent water waste while waiting for hot water to arrive at the tap.

Other features

Courses in the renewable arena

The buzz around batteries is having a flow-on effect in course offerings. Find out more in our renewable energy courses guide.

Electric vehicles on the move

Bryce Gaton on the evolution of government support and carmakers’ production plans, which together are driving uptake of EVs.

Getting in front of the meter

Microgrids, virtual power plants + more: Bruce Thompson and Paul Murfitt canvas new trends that harness value in sharing renewable energy.

Mini-grid in Mooroolbark, community battery in WA

Sharing energy with the neighbours is on trial in Mooroolbark, Victoria, and Alkimos Beach, Western Australia.

100% renewables for Tyalgum

This northern NSW town has a community-supported five-year plan to become 100% renewable, Eva Matthews reports.

The Pears Report: Post-election shakeout

A closer look at the interesting energy picture post the election.

Member profile: (Self-)driving change

From boyhood geek to technology entrepreneur to famed Tesla owner, Simon Hackett is seeing sustainability dreams come true. He talks to Eva Matthews.