Is your home vulnerable to blackouts?

Is your home vulnerable to blackouts? If so, University of New South Wales (UNSW) researchers want to talk to you, especially if you have solar.

The researchers are looking to learn how to improve people's energy supply when the grid fails during fires, floods and storms.

Keeping the lights and fridge on, phones charged, and water pumping is crucial at any time and even more so throughout a natural disaster. Staying tuned in to emergency notices requires keeping the internet, radio, phones and television on. In the Black Summer bushfires some communities were without power for more than a month, severely hampering their recovery.

UNSW researchers Dr Mike Roberts and Dr Sophie Adams want to talk to NSW residents and business owners in regions that have been affected by power outages from storms, fires or floods. They also want to talk to and collect energy data from people with solar, batteries or other energy sources that might help maintain their electricity supply.

The study aims to gain an understanding of the role that solar, batteries and other energy sources, as well as energy management approaches, can play in maintaining electricity supply to regional and rural communities throughout bushfires, floods, storms and other disruptions to the electricity grid.

More information can be found on the project sign up page:

Do you have suffer from a lot of blackouts in your area? Do you have solar supplying energy to your home?


I have solar panels and would love to be able to use the solar energy during the frequent grid outages. This could be achieved with a battery system to power the inverter however the price of battery systems does not make economic sense for me at the moment. The payback period calculation is improving with the new lower feed-in-tariff however I have a low consumption household and little need to timeshift energy consumption so it will be a while. 


I've seen

 SouthAus Solar Batteries

ads to install batterries under $4000 after state gov rebate.

Batteries are the answer but they remain too expensive and ten years is too short a life.

If and when the price halves and working life is extended to twenty or thirty years they will become a desirable option.

Vanadium flow batteries are the only ones on the market with a thirty year life span but they remain expensive and unavailable in domestic sizes. 

We have a battery and solar and we have an average power cost per year of zero. Usually with credits.

Having a battery and solar on your house does not guarantee you can use the battery if the power goes off, Its the same as an alternator in your car, if the battery is not connected the alternator wont produce power.

The solar shuts down and isolates the battery in a black out, no input and no output.

There is a system where you can specify if you want to have your fridge or another appliance run from your battery but it has to be hard wired up specifically, this only works if you pay a ransome, it may not work on all systems.

One reason the system shuts down if there is no external power available is if the workers are working on a grid repair there is still power available on the grid from all the solar being exported and they can't be all shut down individually.

We have 2 instantaneous gas hot water systems that need power to run the computer ignition and temperature controls, during a black out we use a 12v car jump start battery pack with a 400watt inverter and this allows us to use hot water.

not sure what size inverter we would need to run a fridge though, and how long the battery would last. must check.

three brief outages last night!


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