“Closed Group – Testing Phase” Letter

25 Jan, 2019

Mode has received a significant number of queries in relation to a letter circulating to owners of Solar PV Systems in Tasmania.

Solar Service Group Letter re. Alpha ESS Battery

The letter in question is from an ASIC-listed company that was established in February 2016.

Please note that offer is from a profit-based company, not an independent research/testing body.

The purpose of this letter is for marketing.

You, as a customer, have every right to choose whatever product and provider you decide.

Every company has their own preferred method of marketing.

Given this, we would like to raise some points requiring serious consideration in relation to this letter.

Customers who contacted this company have been informed that the ‘ground-breaking product’ referred to in the letter is a 3kW Goanna battery.  No mention was made of the total battery storage capacity.

When questioned as to why the battery may be considered ‘ground-breaking’, the Company answered that was that the product is ground-breaking on price point. Please refer to the table below for a price-point comparison with a full-priced Tesla Powerwall.

According to this Company, the ‘substantial contribution’ promised towards the product and installation cost for eligible customers would be somewhere between 40-50% of costs, depending on ‘eligibility criteria’ and how much they need data from your area. Please again note the price-point difference this ‘substantial contribution’ has made to the ‘ground-breaking’ price detailed below.

The Company have noted that there’s no guarantee that you will be eligible for this ‘substantial contribution’ – but you’ll need to provide them with details of your energy consumption patterns, number of occupants in your house, feed-in tariff rate, WiFi connection, and amount of power exported to the grid before they can decide.

The table below shows a comparison of price point (and a few other key differences) with Tesla Powerwall, considered by many to be one of the more expensive batteries in the market.

Untitled

 Key Points:

  • The typical amount of battery storage required by an ‘average’ household is 10 – 14kWh per day. When looking at battery storage, please remember to consider the total useable storage capacity.
  • Don’t just install a battery for the sake of installing a battery. You will definitely be better off not installing a battery than compromising on the amount of storage you’d need to make a real difference to your power consumption. In the example given above, Tesla Powerwall has nearly 5 times the amount of useable storage of this ‘ground breaking’ battery.
  • With so many battery size variations on the market, a good way to achieving a reasonable price-point comparison is to consider the $ per kWh (installed). In the example given above, the Goanna battery is nearly double the $/kWh of Tesla Powerwall (after a ‘substantial contribution’ from the Company for ‘eligible’ customers).
  • We’ve used Tesla Powerwall as an example of another popular solar battery; there are other good options in the market that would give a similar comparison.

We’ve been told by customers who have spoken with this Company that they were pressured to sign up and pay a deposit immediately – before any questions were made in relation to site-specific logistics or system requirements.

Phrases such as “limited testing phase“, and “only available for a short period of time” are also used in the letter. Please consider why these terms may have been used.

The Company have previously used similar mail-out campaigns in other states. If you’ve received this letter, please refer to comments that can be seen on forums such as Whirlpool.

Please be aware that you, as a consumer, have a right under Australian Consumer Law to a cooling-off period of 10 business days for unsolicited sales.

 

See the ACCC website for further information.

 

 Alpha ESS Goanna k29 Datasheet
Powerwall 2 Datasheet