Sept 6, 2017: Tesla Tiny House coming to Bowral

The Tesla Tiny House is touring Australia towed by a Tesla Model-X

The Tesla Tiny House is touring Australia towed by a Tesla Model-X

Readers in Australia may have heard of the ‘Tesla Tiny House’ which is currently doing a tour of capital cities around the country to showcase Tesla’s home energy storage systems and, of course, the Model-X SUV that is pulling it. The good news (for those who live near the Greeny Flat) is, thanks to local solar-storage company Simmark, the Tiny House is coming to Bowral’s Bradman Oval on November 22nd.

I wrote about Simmark (and their admirable philosophy of understanding their customer’s energy requirements in order to find ways to conserve energy before installing solar on their roof) in our Newsletter on May 4th, 2017. I applaud their initiative in bringing the Tiny House to our area and I’m particularly happy to know it’s coming after I return from Montana so I’ll be able to attend. I hope to see you there. Here’s a bit more information about the tour (sorry some of it is a bit out of date) from a Gizmodo article dated August 14.

Beginning in Melbourne’s Federation Square today and tomorrow (August 14 and 15), there’s a tiny Tesla house making the rounds of the country – showing off the Powerwall and educating the public on how to generate, store and use renewable energy for your home.

Oh, and the tiny home is towed by a Tesla Model X, because of course it is.

The tiny home is completely powered by renewable energy courtesy of a 2kw solar power system and a Powerwall. Inside, there’s a design studio and configurator so you can calculate your own home’s needs. There will be Tesla staff on hand to answer questions, too.

For readers not from the Southern Highlands of NSW the following are some of the other stops on the tour and you can visit the Tesla Tiny House Website for the latest locations or to request that it comes to your community. The confirmed portion of the tour includes Federation Square 14-15 August, Melbourne Home Show at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre 17-20 August, Eco-Living Fair at Randwick Community Centre in NSW 3 September, Brisbane Home Show at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre 8 – 10 September, Rundle Mall in South Australia 20 September – 2 October, Sustainability Lane at Lane Cove Shopping Centre in NSW 8 October and Sydney Home Show at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park on 27 – 29 October.

Simmark’s Response to Last Week’s Newsletter

In last week’s Newsletter I suggested that anyone considering installing a solar system on their home who is primarily motivated by environmental concerns should think seriously about what they do with the STC ‘rebate’ they get off the price of the system. These STC’s are sold to big polluters to allow them to ‘offset’ their GHG emissions. So, if you’re installing solar to reduce your own emissions, you might not want to sell the rights to those emissions to a big industrial polluter.

In order to get a second opinion about this I emailed Mark Horsfall, co-owner of Simmark, to see what he thought. The following is his response.

Not sure I am 100% with you on that one mate. The system is a reality. Boycotting it is unlikely to hurt the polluters or accelerate their demise. Take it to the extreme. Let’s say almost everybody refused to sell their STCs. All that would do is reduce supply and drive up the price, rewarding the few who do monetise. The polluters are just going to pass on the higher cost to the grid so they don’t really care. Furthermore, if a stigma or distaste associated with selling your STCs develops, that is likely to slow down solar adoption as the STC component is still 20-30% of a system’s gross value, making the subsidy an integral part of the investment decision for most people. I think STCs and the 15 year phase out are a rare example of good environmental public policy. I actually think the Federal government should do much more to reward home efficiency. I also think there should be a program to support/backstop the financing of solar/storage investment at the residential level for homeowners of limited means, much like HECS debt for tertiary education. Too often, solar and especially batteries are a wealthy person’s luxury and that’s wrong. 

So, as you can see, Mark approves of the STC system which, as he points out, is due to be phased out in stages over the next 15 years. I guess my point was not to boycott the system on a large scale. Most people installing solar are not motivated purely by environmental altruism but, if you are one of those few, I still suggest you give thought to the STC’s and what they mean for your hopes of reducing your own carbon emissions.

If you want to discuss any of this with me or with Mark, we’ll both be at Bradman Oval on the 22nd of November for the Tesla Tiny House event.

How Much Solar Do You Need To Charge an Electric Car?

Whether you already have a solar system or are thinking about installing one, another factor to consider is the coming revolution in electric vehicles. You may well want to make sure that you have enough solar (or at least enough roof space for it) to be able to charge one or two EV’s.

Our PHEV outside the Greeny Flat and charging from the solar system on our garage.

Our PHEV outside the Greeny Flat and charging from the solar system on our garage.

We have 3kW of solar on our garage roof which is enough to run our house and to charge our PHEV for most of my local driving. But if you want more detailed information, here is a link to a very thorough article from Solar Quotes on how much solar it takes to charge an EV. In short, depending on where you are in the country and how much you drive, you will probably need about 2kW of solar for each EV.

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