Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Getting a return on NBN battery backup = Marconomic solar PV plan

This article has a bit on the bottom regarding the battery backup unit, which many commenters have also mentioned. The problem is that although it is great to have broadband as well as voice calls available during blackouts, because blackouts are rare, and many homes were already in a situation where their phone was dependent on grid power, return on the investment in money and space to have the battery there can be dubious.

Once you have a battery permanently in your house, a return can be garnered by making the battery useful regardless of blackouts. A very small cheap solar panel can keep the battery charged up independently of the grid. Enough power is generated and stored to use the battery as a device charger (ipods, nintendos, mobiles etc.) that will cut your power bill considerably with no inconvenience to the utility. In my house charging devices uses a lot of electricity - not because of the amount of power required to charge the device, but because the chargers leak power all day, and the power points are hard to reach to turn them off and on each time they are needed, and the power conversion ac to dc is very inefficient. The battery/solar PV will double as an emergency charging point for devices during blackouts as well.


Chris Fellows said...

I will have to keep a blackout diary. They are common here in the thunderstorm season.

Dear spouse-of-me spent a good deal of time last night trying to figure out if we would worse off once the NBN comes in and maintenance/upgrading of the copper network presumably ceases. Very hard to tell. We are not in the grey wireless zone on the map and satellite will be useless because of high latency - as she says, "the Earth has not gotten any closer to the sky".

Marco said...

A 12V system with solar charging would be a good investment for you then, even without subsidy. Blackouts are very rare at home here, so not as useful for us as would be a generator for cyclone related risks.

It should be quite easy for me to work out whether your situation will improve under the NBN. Your ADSL service, if you have it, will become less reliable initially, while NextG plans will be quite competitively priced, being that that is where the money and competition is at the moment for carriers.
The NextG (or 4G now) will continue to improve not least because of the *Improved Fibre backbone* that is part of the NBN upgrades, and "the other side" of the connection can be assumed to be much faster than before due to the NBN being ubiquitous.

Satellite's advantage is that it can keep working in the worst of disasters. Theoretically could give reports directly from Tully Heads in the eye of Yasi, if anyone was breave enough to be there when it happened.

Jenny said...

My phone is currently not working - in spite of the internet working. I have a theory that my internet provider switching me to ADSL2 has done something very strange, but Telstra is still looking for line issues.

Marco said...

I agree with you. They are putting so few resources on conventional copper plans, including adsl, that mistakes that cause people down time on their phone or Internet are taking a long time to be looked at by a technician that knows what they are doing. Like the problem at our work place that stopped our Internet at work for two days. It turned out that (essentially) a Telstra technician had pressed a wrong button after some unconnected maintenance on the line.

Marco said...

It took several solid hours on the phone just to convince them that it was a Telstra fault.

Jenny said...

Bleh - its going to mean I will be at home all morning tomorrow. At least I have lots of marking to keep me busy