New energy system promising $0 bills

There’s a new power system challenging traditional energy retailers and helping Aussie families pay next to nothing on their power bills.

How does paying zero dollars on your next power bill sound? It may not be too good to be true with the new energy system sonnenFlat — the first of its kind in Australia.

Combining solar and battery systems in the home is proving to be the new way to avoid the sky rocketing costs of electricity for Aussie households.

TODAY chatted to Steve Fenech from Tech Guide whose household was the first to switch to the new system and receive a zero dollar power bill.

TODAY:  Where has the idea of this new system come from? 

FENECH: Natural Solar is a solar company that installs solar panels and batteries as the main Australian distributor for Sonnen – the German battery manufacturer. The service they offer is SonnenFlat – which links every Sonnen battery in Australia to evenly share and receive the power we generate from our solar panels. So basically you become each other’s energy providers so we pay $0 for our electricity and just a flat $30, $40 or $50 a month plan for that distribution depending on the size of your system and your home. I pay $40 per month for my SonnenFlat plan – which is actually less than my mobile bill per month.

TODAY: How much does it cost to install? 

FENECH: My system which includes 27 solar panels, an invertor and a 10kWh Sonnen battery was just under $19,000 which included installation and set-up

TODAY: What is the system and how does it work?

FENECH: My panels harness the sun’s energy throughout the day with any excess power directed to the battery. By the time the sun goes down the battery is at 100 per cent capacity and I can start using the stored energy to run my household. By the time the sun comes up the next day, the panels are producing power again and recharging the battery for the next cycle of use. What’s different with the Sonnen system is they link all of their batteries together so customers can share excess power and receive power when they need it so we use the power we generate instead of drawing it off the grid.

TODAY: What advantages are there to installing a system like this? 

FENECH: The big advantage of having a system like this is that you’re not at the mercy of inevitable energy price rises. By investing in this system and being able to create our own power and store it in the battery we are taking our energy needs into our own hands. Before we would hope our energy bill wasn’t too high, but now we have complete control as well as certainty on exactly how much our power price will be thanks to the Natural Solar installation of our panels and Sonnen battery and joining the SonnenFlat plan.

TODAY: How long does the battery last for?

FENECH: The Sonnen uses superior lithium iron phosphate battery cells – purpose-built for home storage – and it has a guarantee of 10,000 cycles which is the equivalent of 20 years use.

TODAY: Are there any payment plans or rebates that can help with the initial price? 

FENECH: I believe there are finance plans available for customers who are thinking of investing in a system.
And that’s exactly what it is, an investment because as I see it – the return on investment will be about 5 or 6 years. That means the money I save on energy bills would pay off the system. My electricity bills were usually between $3000 and $3500 a year so the system will pay itself off in less than six years. Plus, I mentioned it’s an investment and I believe it is added more value to my home than the roughly $19,000 cost of the system.  A customer could redraw the cost of the system from their mortgage and use the money they save on their electricity bills to make the extra payments on the loan to repay it.

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