Why Oversizing Solar Panel Arrays Is A Smart Move

house with lots of solar panels

Did you know you can add panels up to 133% of your inverter capacity? Read on to discover why oversizing solar is a smart move (as long as your roof is big enough – unlike this guy’s).

Installing rooftop solar systems with a total panel capacity greater than the inverter capacity is usually a very good idea.  It will certainly save you money, but it can also help get around the restrictions many Australians face on the size of inverter they can connect to the grid. [Read more…]

Will LGCs Pay More Than STCs on a 10-100kW solar system?

solar panels

There are 2 subsidies for solar under 100kW: STCs (AKA the ‘solar rebate’) and the lesser known LGCs. Which one will give you the better return?

Many people are aware the Renewable Energy Target, or RET, lowers the cost of rooftop solar.  This is often called the solar rebate, even though that term is not entirely accurate.

But what few people know is, provided their system is large enough, they have a choice in the type of assistance they receive.  A household with a 10 kilowatt rooftop solar system can either accept Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) or Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs).

Almost all solar systems 100kW and smaller, currently being installed use STCs because they are all deemed immediately after the installation whereas LGCs are deemed annually over 15 years.

At the time of writing (July 2016) STCs are $38 each whereas LGCs are at a sky high $82. This has made some savvy solar installers wonder if using LGCs instead of STCs might create a better return for patient solar owners. [Read more…]

Solar Panel Rebate To Be Phased Out From 1st of January 2017

solar rebate ending

The projected solar rebate for a 5kW system in Zone 3 with a $37 STC price.

The solar rebate which currently reduces the cost of rooftop solar in Australia will be phased out with the first reduction starting in less than 8 months on the 1st of January 2017. The rebate will reduce by one fifteenth of its current amount on the first day of each new year until 2030 and will end on the 31st of December that year. At the start of 2017, the rebate of $3,990 that most Australians would receive at the moment for a 5 kilowatt rooftop solar system will fall by around $266 down to $3,724. The phase out encourages Australians to install rooftop solar sooner rather than later. [Read more…]

Is Abbott about to axe the Solar Rebate (and push solar prices through the roof) ?

tony abbott and renewables

What does Abbott have in store for solar?

Well, I woke up this morning to a beautiful spring day. Only to see an inbox full of emails telling me that, according to the Australian Financial Review, Tony Abbott has already decided to scrap the Renewable Energy Target (RET) no matter what his review panel advises.

Bummer!

Let’s see what the rest of the papers have to say on the matter. Well, the most recent article I can find, published at 9am, is telling me that the government maintains it has absolutely no intention of scrapping the RET.

Hmmmmm. [Read more…]

Misinformation used again to undermine renewable energy target

solar lies

The Renewable Energy Target is Under Attack!

About two weeks ago we delivered a broadside against Origin Energy’s and the NSW State government’s apparent war against solar power. As you may recall, SQHQ considers the attempt by traditional energy utilities to influence the 2014 review of the renewable energy target (RET), to be part of a wider campaign against solar power. This driven in most part by misinformation. The latest manifestation is an Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) recommendation that solar households be charged more to use energy utilities’ infrastructure.

At the risk of being accused by solar narks of being a bunch of swivel-eyed, cherry-picking, cardigan-wearing, latte-sipping, conspiracy theorists, this latest use of the misinformation appears at the heart of an anti-renewable campaign. As a certain nasty little gentleman from history once said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”. [Read more…]

How to unlock a great solar payback (even with crappy rebates).

solar panels and a key

The key to good solar payback is system sizing.

Occasionally I venture out of my straw-bale, solar passive eco-cave and meet real people, in person instead of over the interwebs. When they inevitably ask me the standard icebreaker “what do you do?” and hear that I’m in “solar power”, the usual response is: “Oh – that must be a tough industry, now that the rebates / buy back rates have all ended?”.

The reality seems to be that most people who don’t work in the solar industry seem to use the words “rebate” and “feed in tariff” interchangeably. And who can blame them? Both are essentially government cash handouts.

Of course the truth is that the Solar Rebate“, is actually still available through the Federal government. The government frowns upon anyone who calls it a rebate, preferring the term “Financial Incentive”. But all that really matters is that you can get about $700 off the upfront cost of every kW of solar you buy. For a typical 3kW, that’s a $2100 subsidy. [Read more…]

Will the Coalition’s $500 Solar Rebate do more harm than good?

Greg Hunt's new solar rebate scheme may really stuff up the solar industry...

Greg Hunt’s new solar rebate scheme may really stuff up the solar industry…

Nothing more we like at SQHQ that a good old fashioned brouhaha. After all a bit of air clearing is needed after the uncertainty (and dare I say disappointment) of the way solar policy was gleefully trashed following the election. This of course included the change in government policy on solar rebates, war declared on renewable energy agencies and indeed anything that looked like it could be called progressive energy policy from the previous government. As such our very own Finn Peacock, took the baseball bat to the new solar rebate policy announced by Greg “The Smiling Assassin” Hunt (By the way does anyone else think that Mr Hunt and David Potter from ABC’s “Rake” look worryingly familiar?) [Read more…]

Any positives for solar power under the new Coalition government?

How will solar fare under Abbott and the Coalition?

How will solar fare under Abbott and the Coalition?

Here at SQHQ — as with all of those supporting alternative energy — we’re surveying the damage after the Coalition’s expected yet stunning landslide win on Saturday night. Both the Liberals and Nationals took a slash and burn approach to solar power in Australia and the whole renewable energy sector during the campaign. This approach included policy announcements such as the gutting of ARENA and the end of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and “Sloppy” Joe and his finance mates have given no inkling of changing their minds on this all important issue. See last week’s article for more details. [Read more…]

Combet pulls plug on rebates: solar coaster in full flight

Greg ‘kneejerk’ Combet seems to enjoy the solar coaster

What solar buyers need to know: If you buy a solar system after the 16th November 2012, you have to have it installed before Jan 1 2013 to claim the current rebate. If your system is installed after that date your solar system will cost approximately $1,000 more regardless of what size you buy.

Well that was quick wasn’t it? Just when you thought the Federal Government’s collective speed on any given issue was only marginally faster than my first car (a VW Type 3: nought to 50 kms/hr in 30 minutes) … out comes a lightning-fast decision from the desk of Climate Change Minister Greg “Coalface” Combet. [Read more…]

The inflated STC Price Scam : The Solar Cowboy’s Favourite Trick?

a cowboy

Don’t fall for it!

I’m angry.

I get a lot of emails asking for me to look over quotes. I try to answer every one. Sometimes it takes a couple of weeks to reply, but generally I manage to reply.

Tonight I got 3 emails in a row with quotes from 3 separate companies which all appeared to be trying the same trick. They appear to be deceiving the customer into thinking they are getting a great deal and then hitting them with a bill for thousands more than the quoted price when the system is installed.

I love the solar industry, and to see these guys operating like this makes me so freaking angry I want to scream! [Read more…]