The High Cost Of Cheap Solar Systems

warning tape

Caution – extremely cheap solar has a high cost

The best deal is very rarely the cheapest deal. This is something we all understand intuitively.

So why do we get so easily get seduced by unbelievably cheap solar deals that appear so totally believable?

Let me be totally up front with you. I did not set up SolarQuotes as a tool for people to find the absolute cheapest solar systems on the market. [Read more…]

If you want a 5kW solar system in QLD – consider getting it before Sept 30 2015!

map of qld

Rules for installing solar in QLD change after 30 September


The Queensland electricity networks (hello Ergon and Energex!) are a fussy bunch. At the time of writing (August 2015) if you want to install a standard grid connect solar system bigger than 5kW, you need to jump through all sorts of technical hoops. And then the networks may also insist that you install a box of electronics that stops any of your excess energy being exported. That’s right you have to waste any excess clean energy instead of letting your neighbours use it! [Read more…]

Solar Systems in ACT to increase by $400 from 1 July 2015

a meter and $400

$400 extra from July 1. Ouch.

ACTEW AGL have just announced that they are increasing the cost of installing a solar compatible, import export meter from July 1 2015.

Basically – if your application to connect is received after 30 June, instead of paying $66, you will be charged $500 for a new meter.

So if you live in ACT and have decided to go solar, it makes sense to sign up as soon as possible. You can get quick quotes from up to 3 ACT installers here.

ActewAGL General Manager Asset Management Stephen Devlin said:

“Charges for meter installation will be increasing. This change has occurred because of new National Electricity Rules that have been introduced that restructure the provision of metering in the industry.


As part of the Australian Energy Regulator’s final decision released on 30 April 2015, ActewAGL Distribution is required to move to full cost recovery for metering services from 1 July 2015.


Therefore, from 1 July 2015 ActewAGL customers will be required to pay the full up-front cost for new meters, including installation. Applications for any connection received before 30 June 2015 will be treated under the old pricing regime, where customers only pay for installation.


For solar customers, the cost of a new meter and installation would change from about $66 to $500.”

Solar meter charges will also be increasing by around $200 in NSW if you are on the Ausgrid network from July 1 thanks to the AER’s decision.

Will solar leasing in Australia offer certainty for homeowners?

solar panels and australian cash

Will your solar purchase be Cheque, Savings or Credit?

Do the benefits of solar leasing in Australia outweigh the traps for young players?

It’s a given that Australians, perhaps more than any other nationality, prefer ownership over leasing or renting. Etched into our history of suspicion of authorities and banks, this is expressed most clearly in “The Great Australian Dream” — to completely own one’s own home or block of land.

This preference to be one’s own master is also true of domestic solar arrays. The preference for homeowners has been to buy their solar panels outright. However this may not be possible for all and new solar leasing models which have become popular overseas are now being introduced into the Australian market. Supporters of the model claim it provides access to solar energy where none was previously available. [Read more…]

Uncertainty grows as solar panel anti dumping report delayed again

solar panels and a no dumping sign

Will the next Great Big Tax, be on cheap Chinese solar panels?

The long-delayed anti-dumping investigation into Chinese solar panels is having the desired effect of disrupting the solar industry in Australia, whatever the outcome.

Desired that is by the fossil fuel giants and their fans in federal politics.

One sure way to kill a fledgling industry is to manufacture uncertainty. Such has been the case with government support in the solar power industry. The on again, off again support mechanisms and half-hearted policies in general seem designed to keep the solar sector in a semi-permanent state of uncertainty. This has the effect of killing off investments because of the inability to guarantee investors a future “level playing field”.

Of course this is a lucrative strategy if you happen to have a heavy investment in fossil fuels. [Read more…]

Why Are Solar Owners Charged GST On Money They Never Spent?

I have a 6kW (24 panel) solar system on my roof.

My last quarterly electricity bill is here. The good news is that it was for only $33.60.

electricity bill including GST

My latest electricity bill. Notice how the GST is way more than 10%

The interesting thing is the breakdown of the $33.60. If you look at the bottom of the bill, I paid $12.68 in electricity charges but a whopping $20.92 in GST (highlighted in blue on the bill).

You don’t have to be great at maths to know that 10% of $12.68 is $1.27 not $20.92 [Read more…]

Are AGL’s New Solar Packages a Trick or a Treat for Aussie Consumers?

mousetrap and solar panel

Are AGL offering a great deal or bait?

Just to prove that energy giants can move with the times like the rest of us, AGL Energy, who only a few months ago described solar household tariffs as a ‘scam‘, has decided roll out a couple of new solar energy products.

One is happening now — a (sort of) solar leasing offer — while the other a promise to offer battery storage by the end of the year.

Similar leasing-style models have been very successful in the USA, and AGL join a long list of companies who have recently rolled out solar finance packages such as Energy Matters, Tindo and Sungevity. The option to pay for the energy produced, rather than the initial cost of the panels removes the hurdle of finding $5-$15k upfront, but cunningly locks the solar owner into a very long term contract with AGL.  [Read more…]

How I got a $33 power bill with solar – even with a crappy 8c buy back rate

I got my quarterly electricity bill last week. It was $33. I was so happy that I tweeted AGL.

AGL’s reply is priceless:

I’m guessing AGL don’t get a lot of compliments on Twitter! I also posted a scan of my bill on SolarQuotes’ Facebook page:
[Read more…]

Does Sunpower + Solarbridge Microinverters = World’s Best Performing Solar System?

sunpower and solarbridge logos

Sunpower & Solarbridge sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G

A lot of Aussie solar installers really dislike microinverters. In fact many refuse to install them.

The main reason is a fear of inverter failure. The reasoning goes something like this: [Read more…]

Genius Or Bonkers? US solar company glueing solar to roofs to reduce installation costs.

Innovation in solar never ceases to amaze me. But I can’t decide if this particular innovation is genius or totally nuts.

US solar panel manufacturer Lumeta Solar have announced a new 175W solar panel design that is super thin, with no frame, a junction box on top instead of underneath, and get this: double sided sticky tape on the back.  The idea is that you simply peel the backing off the tape and stick the panel to the roof.

lumeta solar panels

Lumeta Solar Panels stick on to the roof with adhesive. (Pic: Lumeta Solar)

[Read more…]