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ZBM2 and affordability


gallderhen
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I was looking over the specs for the Australian ZCell battery packs that are based on the ZBM2 tech, and one thing that I noticed was their claim that the Z Cell (and by extension all their ZBM2 batteries) can be switched off and left on the shelf indefinitely.

 

This got me a thinking.

Their last price I saw was quote around $8000 for a 10KWh pack that you can draw at 100% DoD. At current exchange rate we're talking about R110k for 1 pack. So why not buy 4 or 5 or 6 of these if you have the money or can finance it?

If you *can* finance that amount, were talking about a R1mil odd repayment capital in total for 4 batteries that will last you 40 odd years (as you just swap out the old battery with a new one every 10 years).

Compare that to Eskom increases over 40 years with a modest 6% per year, and you're looking at R1.14mil (if you pay +- R600 per month now for electricity).

 

I guess the biggest hurdle is that big chance you have to take hoping that each battery will start up after 10, 20 or 30 years sitting doing nothing.

 

(Ed: Calculation error on the Eskom side, its R1.14mil over 40 years, not 11mil).

 

-G-

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On 4/5/2017 at 11:15 AM, Chris Hobson said:

I hope not to be using current battery tech in 3-4 years time let alone in 40 years time. The new urea batteries promise to be piss-cheap compared to current offerings ;).

Agreed. New tech comes out the whole time. Rather buy something cheaper now and get something better in 4-5 year's time 

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21 hours ago, SilverNodashi said:

Agreed. New tech comes out the whole time. Rather buy something cheaper now and get something better in 4-5 year's time 

I've heard that phrase so often, but in the past decade, what new tech has really become accessible (and affordable!) to the average consumer, other than Lithium Ion? If all goes well, my next bank is going to be Lithium Ion. Some brand new tech will have to arrive really soon to change that very likely outcome, that is, I don't see it happening in the next 2-3 years (which is the time window in which I will need to do this most likely).

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22 hours ago, plonkster said:

... but in the past decade, what new tech has really become accessible (and affordable!) to the average consumer,

+1 on that.

Another darker thought. With all the amount of promise in and of new tech / ideas, if batts last decades at prices cheaper than Eskom, what "profit" lies in that?

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1 hour ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

batts last decades at prices cheaper than Eskom

Some ways to go still. It doesn't just have to be cheaper than grid power, it has to beat it by about 6% or so to make investment sense. Li-Ion at around 10k per kwh, 7000 cycles to 70% (ish), so 10000/(0.7*7000) = R2.04/kwh. Now you have to add the opportunity cost (lost interest on the 10k you spent), let's say Money Market sort of rates so R600 per annum, R1.64 a day estimated. Assuming you cycle that thing once a day, you're paying R3.68 per kwh. But you might argue it is tax free since residential electricity is bought post-tax, so subtract your top tax rate from that, for top earners (those who pay 35% at the top end) we're talking around R2.40 per kwh. Which is not far away from what >=600kwh costs in Cape Town. As usual, it remains close... but not quite yet.

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1 hour ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

+1 on that.

Another darker thought. With all the amount of promise in and of new tech / ideas, if batts last decades at prices cheaper than Eskom, what "profit" lies in that?

For an end user, there is no real profit.

 

I've done the math on current batteries for off-grid purposes, and each time I come to the conclusion that in order to be profitable compared to Eskom rates over a period of 40 years (if you keep Eskom hikes and inflation on batteries more or less the same), I'd have to half my average load at night (not even including cloudy days or continuous days of rain) if I was buying a new battery bank every 20 years (assuming it lasts that long).

 

That's why I was looking at the costs of buying a complete 40 year bank up front. With the ZBM2 you can "park" the batteries you don't use for extended periods of time, and replace old ones with the next one as time goes by, and only then will you marginally beat Eskom prices (in my opinion).

 

As far as new tech goes and pricing: If things continue the way its been going for the past 20 years in the country, I'd be very surprised if we see a scenario where batteries will be less expensive than Eskom and also where future battery prices will be less than current battery prices (compared with inflation). My experience is that companies will always try to charge you the maximum reasonable amount for a product, even if that product costs 10 sents to make. So my view is that future batteries will still cost too much for the average consumer unless its subsidized by a government.

 

PS Then again, if the new nuclear deal gets pushed through while we struggle with a junk-status, batteries might actually become a cheaper option than Eskom ...

 

-G-

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16 minutes ago, gallderhen said:

With the ZBM2 you can "park" the batteries you don't use for extended periods of time,

I'm not sure if it makes sense to tie up that much cash in parked batteries, especially if it only marginally beats the grid.

16 minutes ago, gallderhen said:

companies will always try to charge you the maximum reasonable amount for a product,

And that is of course influenced by how much it is worth TO YOU, which in turn is going to be a tad above the price of grid power for as long as the UPS market dictates the price of batteries (I'm not saying they are, I merely suspect they have a large influence). After all, expensive power is usually better than no power when it comes to productivity and business.

I'm hoping things will change when electrical vehicles enter the market. At that point, THEY will dictate what batteries would cost, and the surplus of good second-hand batteries might just help us out. Or so I hope/wish!

By the way... The USDZAR is making it's second push for R14 today... just saying... it's a bloodbath out there.

Edit: I'm pitting my considerable bad luck in trading forex against the considerable stupidity of Jacob Zuma. It might just be that we will be saved by the Forex market's overwhelming urge to screw me over. No need to thank me, it's a public service really.

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1 hour ago, plonkster said:

As usual, it remains close... but not quite yet.

It will stay like that. for as gallderhen says, and I add, unless there are more factors coming into play, it is not going to be worthwhile for anyone in government or in a business to have the "cash cows" move onto "cheaper battery pastures" generating their own electricity in cities.

 

53 minutes ago, gallderhen said:

For an end user, there is no real profit.

... we struggle with a junk-status, batteries might actually become a cheaper option than ...

Profit, sorry, I meant to type" what "profit" lies in that for goverment or businesses supplying batteries? 

Junk status. Adding onto my point, you could at one stage experience the "Have's" being watched very closely by the "Have Not's", just before they re-appropriate what they need. :D

The nuclear deal is currently unstoppable ... 

The electrical car market has / have aspirations to have the 80% bank used in homes, for solar systems, but in SA, very long time before that ideal scenario is going to play out.

 

And lest we forget, as I said before, the sums have been made on what batteries systems cost and if you borrow money to buy them, in cities, you have lost before you have even started. Solar systems only make sense where you run gennies for power, or where you have a huge monthly Eskom connection fee. In cities, not going to happen anytime soon. Not even Lithiums for the moment they start selling fast and furious, replacing i.e. Trojans in droves, their prices are going to go up very carefully to maximize profit at all times.

Trojans on the other hand, in MY opinion, have reached max profit margins for the distributors, any more and they will lose against newcomers on the battery market.

Am not negative about all of this but it just makes no sense to me, as your government in SA, to allow you to save money at my cost where I need to keep Eskom going (not even mentioning the bribes I have to pay to do that), and I cannot make the whole of SA buy batteries to go solar / wind, who is going to pay me the "profits" if there are none? ;)

Same goes for grid tied ... it is now probably viable IF you don't feed back, keep meter and all that.

And however you look at it all, Wants and Needs, solar is driven by Needs, Wants make it uneconomical so fast your head will spin - IF YOU USE BATTERIES.

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2 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Junk status. Adding onto my point, you could at one stage experience the "Have's" being watched very closely by the "Have Not's", just before they re-appropriate what they need. :D

Truth be told, if the current nonsense continues... I'm not going to be here past 2019, and perhaps even earlier than that. There is currently a lot of debate (in racial terms) about how the Haves never joined in protest until now... truth is, the Haves had faith in the judicial system. The fact that they are starting to protest now is a huge canary-in-the-coal-mine moment. It means that THAT faith is rapidly being lost.

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30 minutes ago, plonkster said:

I'm not going to be here past 2019, and perhaps even earlier than that.

I am of the opinion we each need to sort our own countries out and not rely on others to sort if for us nor rely on the fact that we can immigrate.

What I am seeing is that immigration lately has become a worldwide issue in that most countries accepting immigrants, that their populace is getting frightfully touchy with the immigrants, who tend to come from failed countries, taking their jobs.

Job scarcity is a growing worldwide phenomenon, which in turn fuels frustrations against even legit immigrants.

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1 minute ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

I am of the opinion we each need to sort our own countries out and not rely on others to sort if for us nor rely on the fact that we can immigrate.

There is a curfew, a point in time when your age starts to catch up with you. That age is around mid-40s. I'm running out of time, and if it becomes clear that SA is Zim version 2.0, my family comes first.

I used to be the optimistic guy who told everyone else we're staying. I'm not saying I'm leaving yet... I'm saying I might not say no to the next presented opportunity.

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15 minutes ago, plonkster said:

I used to be the optimistic guy who told everyone else we're staying. I'm not saying I'm leaving yet... I'm saying I might not say no to the next presented opportunity.

We are of the same mindset ... but I think at LAST we in SA are getting it sorted. We ALL learned a few very valuable lessons the last few years. And trust me, the same BS will not be tolerated this long ever again for Zuma Inc and ANC is done and dusted, by their own hand and own voters, as was anticipated by my brother +-20 years ago when he said we ALL must vote ANC.

I was shocked and nearly slapped some serious sense into him. He calmly compared them to the Roman Empire. You can only rule such a vastly different populace for so long, before they will pull apart naturally. Thank you Mal-emma. He was the first one to show the general voters you can throw your toys in Parliament and the ANC can do nothing about that. 

Today cANCer is but a shell from 20 years ago. We just need to root out the last vestiges of the putrefied root system and we are golden.

So although I say the Nuclear deal is a done deal, it all can be stopped when Gordhan becomes our new pressi, with Thuli his vice President in charge of the Public Protector.

I of-course will be minister of Energy - and CEO of Eskom - the CEO who dismantles Eskom in favour of mini grids. ;)

EDIT: See, we even have a sense of humour left in SA. 

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31 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Today cANCer is but a shell from 20 years ago. We just need to root out the last vestiges of the putrefied root system and we are golden.

I'm too scared to bet on that. All logic tells us this must be the case. With a poll now indicating that 7 out of 10 people (in the cities) now think the president must resign, it must follow that the president will either be removed before 2019 (to salvage the party) OR the party itself will go down. That is what logic tells us. At the same time, this president has defied all logic and managed to hold on. If he manages to hold on past 2018... that in itself is an indication that the laws of logic -- or more precisely the power of the judicial system -- might not be as inflexible as we once thought. In that case it might be prudent to cut losses and run.

I am well aware of what that entails. I view it the same way I view an investment. Normally, when that thing is deep in the red BUT there is the promise of a recovery, you hold on, you wait for it to bounce back. You're going to kick yourself if you cash in, and shortly afterwards it recovers. So I am well aware that leaving right now is like dropping a bad investment deep in the red. You need to be very sure that it is indeed a bad investment... and that is what's getting to me right now. Fear for the future is rapidly spoiling my sleep.

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On 09/04/2017 at 11:40 AM, plonkster said:

...... but in the past decade, what new tech has really become accessible (and affordable!) to the average consumer, other than Lithium Ion?

I hate the lag time between innovation and coming to market. There has not been huge change in the battery market because there was no real R&D. Innovations are either discovered by chance or someone has actively sort a solution. There have been ½ dozen innovations in battery tech in the last year alone so much more money is being spent on R&D which has catapulted batteries beyond the discoveries unearthed by absent minded professors tinkering in the lab.

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46 minutes ago, plonkster said:

That is what logic tells us.

Our logic and ANC supporter's logic is not the same.

Minister said this morning in a interview, they where trained not to question leadership (Z) decisions for the decision maker knows more than what she knows so it is not her place to disagree, but to follow. (My words off the top of my head.)

That defies OUR logic. Not theirs.

However, that has changed polls indicating 7/10 - first time ever in Africa - for the new middle class stands to lose a lot financially for as the ANC said this morning: Downgrades could cause recession — but we don’t really know, says ANC. The ruling party has conceded that it does not really understand the implications for government programmes.

Z has actually done SA 'n favour, att a HUGE cost, to once and for all start removing the last vestiges of potential dictatorship like Zim has. For him to do that, he needs to change the constitution and we agreed he cannot do that anymore. He is / has become to weak.

 

Read and laugh: https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2017-04-10-downgrades-may-bring-on-recession-anc-concedes/

 

19 minutes ago, Chris Hobson said:

I hate the lag time between innovation and coming to market.

I think a lot of the really good inventions the last few decades are being bought up, inventor goes quiet, and then the idea is filed in file 13 on floor -13 in building ... no idea which building, building was misplaced. ;)

Bottom line Chris, been waiting for +-12 years now and no luck to date, lots of promises, lots of newly packaged existing tech at exorbitant prices and new not really tried and tested tech like Trojan's (I use them as a baseline).

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1 minute ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

That defies OUR logic. Not theirs.

I hate US vs THEM talk. Then again, I do realise this is a matter of culture. I know that when the Japanese went into manufacturing, they had to change their culture (at least inside the factory). Their culture is a very respectful one, where a junior should not make his senior look bad. They had to change that so that the most junior guy on the assembly line can hit the red button if there is a quality issue. Took them 20 years to get where they are today.

The Koreans had the same "problem". Fixed it in 10 years.

The Chinese are grappling with that problem now.

I think what we're seeing here is the same. I don't know if I have the patience to give it another ten years though!

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Just now, plonkster said:

I don't know if I have the patience to give it another ten years though!

Just know this, once it is finally resolved, I recon 1-3 years, we can start fixing it all again, then you cannot be in a better country for our backyard is Africa, and we will export Proudly South African throughout Africa. Jinne, imagine we export that to Zim, Nigeria, you name it, and they take our lead and the people say: Enough!

Ok ok ok, that is a dream but in SA, we are past the point of no return and that part is not a dream, it is done, over, just have to wait till Z understands it for he is selling us out to Putin via Rostatom ... and Putin has another nefarious interest in SA if USA sends more missiles into Syria.

 

FWIW: Only liberals try and get away from US and THEM, and you are not a liberal. OUR logic was yours and mine versus the Minister's response and that news article, both being THEM. All humans have to chose a side at one time or another. 

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4 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

that is a dream but in SA, we are past the point of no return

I really value your positive opinion. I haven't been this negative... well... ever.

Re us vs them, when I say I don't like it, what I mean is that I am sensitive as to what it sounds like to a listener. It is so easy to put your foot in your mouth in some Zille-esque fashion these days.

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Just now, plonkster said:

It is so easy to put your foot in your mouth in some Zille-esque fashion these days.

So true ... signs of the times and a hot potato.

I like hot potatoes ... heated kitchens ... running with scissors ... walking under ladders.

It gives for very informative and lively debates and chats, coupled with good laughs and better understanding of matters on hand. Zille was a storm in a teacup ... and her time is up. Both Z's must now step back and let the young ones take it from here.

 

5 minutes ago, plonkster said:

I haven't been this negative... well... ever.

Same here. I was for a while as negative, but then SA marched Friday ... and no violence or street vendor intimidation or any nonsense, bar few minor matters not done by US, the marchers, but by THEM, the Z supporters. (cwl)

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On 4/9/2017 at 11:40 AM, plonkster said:

I've heard that phrase so often, but in the past decade, what new tech has really become accessible (and affordable!) to the average consumer, other than Lithium Ion? If all goes well, my next bank is going to be Lithium Ion. Some brand new tech will have to arrive really soon to change that very likely outcome, that is, I don't see it happening in the next 2-3 years (which is the time window in which I will need to do this most likely).

A decade is long. Very long in today's tech world. Just company a decent, i.e. R5K+ cordless drill today, to 10 years ago. The battery life time on those have improved imensely over the past decade. Sure the more advancement in the past 2 or 3 years were lithium based and it's probably righly in that direction since those batteries can be discharged and recharged much quicker than normal lead acid / lead crystal / crystal batteries. The tech is still new and expensive but as demand rise, prises will drop. I remember paying close to R7K for a 260W panel some years ago - probably 8 years ago? Now they sell for under R2K. BUT that only happened in the past year or two. For how long have people been looking at "R12/Watt" or "R10/Watt" panels?

 

Koos Kombuis sings: "Maar altyd is `n lang tyd". Can't help to think about it. 

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