The ROI of integrating storage with solar, EV’s and smart applications to build a fully integrated and smart home

The ROI of integrating storage with solar, EV’s and smart applications to build a fully integrated and smart home

12 Oct 2017, 1:10 PM - 2:30 PM

Room 212, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
English (Australia)

Chairperson: Graham Town, Professor, Macquarie University


Developing smart, affordable and sustainable multi-resident housing through solar energy and electric transport integration

Dr Neil Thompson, Consultant, Queensland University of Technology

The purpose of this session is to investigate the economic, environmental and social benefits afforded to the development of smart, affordable and sustainable multi-resident housing through the integration of solar energy and electric transport systems. A new integrated sustainable design (ISD) model was first developed from literature review and case study followed by survey study of multi-resident housing developments to inform synthesis of a decision support tool (DST) for subsequent validation at a pilot site. Results of property development industry stakeholder in-depth interviews were then reviewed using interpretive structural modelling (ISM) to create a best practice implementation guide (IG) for launch of integrated solar energy and electric transport systems to industry. Application of integrated solar energy and electric transport systems in multi-resident housing developments demonstrated significant potential annual savings on average household expenses together with drastic reductions in household greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity consumption and transport usage. Significant social benefits were also identified through the potential reduction of mortgage stress and road rage incidents. This research for the first time quantifies the electricity and transport cost benefits offered by the proposition that buildings and transportation vehicles can provide an integrated and interactive renewable power source with generation between and for each other so as to help drive the development of smart, affordable and sustainable multi-resident housing stock.


Household Fuel Choice and Consumer Advice on Solar + Storage

Dean Lombard, Senior Energy Analyst, Alternative Technology Association

Keiran Price, Energy Analyst, Alternative Technology Association

In 2014 the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) undertook pioneering research into the economics of fuel choice in Australian households, comparing the total cost of ownership of new efficient electric heating, hot water, and cooking appliances with equivalent gas appliances, for different types of households in different locations. In 2017 it is revisiting this project, with updated modelling that includes evaluating the impact of solar PV on the economics of choosing electricity over gas. The findings will inform ATA's energy policy advocacy, as well as its consumer advice service. This session will discuss the project objectives and approach, and report some preliminary results. It will also give an overview of the ATA advice service, which includes free basic advice for people considering investing in solar and batteries, and customised consultations using sophisticated modelling tools to help households and businesses plan renewable energy investments.


A case study – insight into a Solar + Storage + Electric Vehicle household

Evan Darmanin, Alternative energy consultant, ChargeWorks

ChargeWorks Managing Director Ed Darmanin is an early adopter of solar PV with storage and also drives an electric vehicle. 

His household features:

- 14kW of high efficiency solar panels, 

- 22kWh of usable lead-acid storage

- Three phase monitoring (SMA and SolarAnalytics)

- BMW i3 BEV with 22kWh battery 

- ChargePoint 7.2kW home EV charger (EVSE)

Over the past 18 months we have been monitoring the energy usage in the household and optimising when to charge the house battery and the electric vehicle to suit a time of use tariff. This exercise revealed a number of interesting observations in the use of the technology that has led to changes in behaviour in the household to maximise self-sufficiency and has highlighted potential issues for the grid moving forward. 

Firstly, the addition of an electric vehicle significantly increases the amount of energy consumed by the household. Behavioural changes and the trade-off between public and home charging are discussed. 

Secondly, although the system is large enough to be fully self-sufficient on a typical day, periods of bad weather and the ability to charge from the grid means that the household occasionally consumes a lot of energy from the grid in a short amount of time. The nature of the electricity tariff incentivises this energy to be consumed over night, but it can also make sense to occur between 10am and 2pm which may have future impacts on the grid. 

Thirdly, battery storage has significantly increased the self-consumption of solar power by the household. It is an example of a desire to be independent and not ‘give away’ energy. Although not necessarily financially rational at this point in time, it provides a case study into how battery storage acts as a catalyst for householders to increase the size of their solar array, increasing the total amount of renewable energy that is produced even with the losses associated with energy storage. 

The rise of the ‘prosumer’ is exemplified by this case study by the following facts:

- Ed switched from an ‘out of touch’ electricity retailer to one that offered a better solar feed in rate and the option to sell power to the grid with Reposit. 

- Ed monitors his predicted power generation and energy usage through an app to make daily energy consumption decisions such as when to charge his car and when to schedule grid charging. 

This is a real life examples of theoretical scenarios discussed by the energy storage industry and it provides some insight into the behavioral changes that energy storage has made. It discusses findings from how this early-adopting household is now using energy and provides a forecast on how the grid may be impacted as more and more households begin to adopt battery storage, electric vehicles and more solar PV.


Urban energy commons on the grid

Craig Burton, Consultant and Reseacher,


  • Graham Town



    Macquarie University

    Graham Town is an electrical engineer with 8 years experience in the Australian electronics industry, and 30 years experience in engineering...

  • Dr Neil Thompson



    Queensland University of Technology

    Neil is a risk mitigation specialist with expertise in the design of “future proofed” facilities with reduced first capital cost and reduced/fixed...

  • Keiran Price


    Energy Analyst

    Alternative Technology Association (ATA)

    Keiran is an energy analyst with the ATA who has worked on numerous projects assessing the benefits of solar installations for residents, businesses...

  • Dean Lombard


    Senior Energy Analyst

    Alternative Technology Association (ATA)

    Dean is responsible for advocacy and policy development in national and state energy markets on issues relating to micro-generation, renewable...

  • Evan Darmanin


    Alternative Energy Consultant


    Evan is a consultant for the company ChargeWorks and is a full time resource dedicated to compiling information on the latest developments in battery...

  • Craig Burton


    Consultant and Reseacher

    Craig Burton consults on the deployment of energy commons at  This is a new approach to local balancing of supply and demand,...

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