An Off Grid Solar System Can Pay For Itself But Can’t Beat On Grid Solar

Ronald's parents

Lot’s of folks are wondering if it is time to leave the grid.

Home energy storage has gained a lot of attention recently and there are many people who think  making homes independent from the grid by using batteries to store electricity from rooftop solar is an idea whose time has finally come.

So will home energy storage soon be like rooftop solar in that it will pay for itself and be used in homes across the nation, or is it like a porn star?  Always coming, but probably not something you would actually want in your house.

To gauge its prospects I decided to investigate whether or not a household that is well suited for energy storage could save money right now by installing an off grid solar system.  And entirely through good fortune and not at all because I am too lazy to bother doing real research, my parents just happen to fit into this category.  If they can’t save money by going off grid then probably no one can. [Read more…]

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…]

Solar will be the world’s most popular power source by 2050

big red hand pointing down

Down, down, solar panel prices are going down! 

When someone of the stature of Martin Green says the cost of solar PV technology will halve again by the next decade, you sit up and take notice. Even more so when he says solar will be the world’s most popular energy source by 2050.

For the University of New South Wales’ Prof. Martin Green is considered one of the world’s leading PV researchers. His department’s technological breakthroughs in silicon cell efficiency have not only given us the solar panels we know today but also put Australian PV research at the centre of world PV technology.

“The costs of solar will halve again by 2025 is my prediction,” he told a conference in Sydney on Wednesday. “We are at 60 cents per watt manufacturing now but we will get down to 30 cents per watt some time before 2025.”

[Read more…]

Electricity Doesn’t Grow on Trees… Until Now

Sologic, a company based in Israel, has developed a series of solar panels in a tree branch formation with the aim of providing public areas with a place to recharge devices and surf the web using free solar energy. The aim of the eTree is to provide green energy and shade whilst providing a environmental awareness and a sense of community. Check out pictures and a full article on the eTree here: Sologic Unveils the First Ever Life-Sized eTree Charging Station