Peak oil has either hit us, or is likely to arrive any time soon depending on the report or opinion you read. The scarcity of this resource (and the undoubted price gouges that will accompany its dive down the supply curve) will force policymakers to completely rethink the way our economy’s energy needs are structured as the resource that has driven our lives since the Industrial Revolution rapidly dries out. So, solar energy innovation anyone? [Read more...]
Here’s a very common question that comes in to SQ HQ.
“My roofline is North/South, so my roof areas face either East or West. I know North Facing is ideal, but I don’t have a North facing roof! Should I put my solar panels on the East or West Facing roof (or both) ?”
Short Answer: Probably West
Longer Answer: In terms of the amount of power produced, facing your panels East will produce exactly the same amount of power as facing them West. In either case you’ll generally take a 10-15% power hit compared to having them facing the ideal direction (North).
So why do I say “probably West” as the short answer to the question?
Well, the reason I err on the West facing roof is because that part of your roof will get the sun later in the day. An East Facing solar array will generally produce its peak power at 10-11am. A West Facing array will produce its peak at closer to 2pm.
Most people use more energy later in the day. And most people want to use as much of their solar energy as possible, without exporting it. Why? Because at the time of writing most Feed In Tariffs give you less per kWh if you export the electricity than you pay for imported electricity. So most people will pay off their solar system quicker if they minimise exports.
It may be a little while before the dust settles on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to slap a massive 31 percent tariff on China’s top makers of solar panels (more for those about to enter the market) but already big questions are being asked. One of these is: who are the real winners and losers? [Read more...]
One of the myths that gets bandied about a lot is the idea that it takes more energy to create a solar panel: through mining, transport, manufacturing and distribution, than will ever be generated by that solar panel over its lifetime.
20 years ago that was a valid argument against solar power. However in 2012 that myth is pure BS. Hopefully this post can set the record straight.
Debate continues to rage in the press over the last week as to whether or not Treasurer Wayne Swan’s much lauded Budget 2012 is good for the future of solar power in this country. The Treasurer’s delivery and demeanour gave no real hint of the speech being one that could be considered pro or anti renewables and solar pundits have split over what the Budget will mean for the Australian solar industry. [Read more...]
A solar inverter is like any other electronic device in your home and it will produce some Electromagnetic radiation and potentially Radio Frequency interference. There is a standard that all approved electrical devices in Australia are required to meet (C Tick) but it does not guarantee zero emissions.
As Japanese anti-nuclear activists celebrate the closing of the country’s final nuclear reactor, making Japan temporarily nuclear free, a power revolution of another sort is set to begin in the Land of the Rising Sun.
While debate rages over whether or not the country should remain permanently nuclear free, rumblings from the country’s once-mighty Ministry of Trade have hinted at the emergence of a renewable-led energy sector. Your correspondent’s memory seems to recall that it was this ministry (also known as METI) which was in the driving seat of planning the great Japanese industrial and export-led economic post-war “miracle,” culminating in the booming success of the 1990s.
Connecting solar power to a 3 three phase supply is entirely possible. But you need to decide how you are going to connect your solar system to the grid. Your 2 options are:
a) connect your solar system to only one of your supply phases with a single-phase solar inverter.
b) connect your system into all 3 phases of your supply with either a single, 3-phase solar inverter or 3 separate single-phase inverters.
There are a few tricks which you need to be aware of to ensure you make the right decision. [Read more...]