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

abbott and an axe

Will Abbott Axe the RET? (and will my photoshop skills ever improve?)

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…]

Interview with Paul O’Reilly of the Rainbow Power Company

Rainbow Power Company Logo

Rainbow Power Company - one of Australia's oldest solar companies

In this, the first in what we hope will be a number of interviews with solar opinion leaders, business people and experts in the solar industry we chat with Paul O’Reilly, director of the Nimbin-based Rainbow Power Company. Sit back and enjoy as Paul talks feed-in tariffs, the almost constant boom and bust cycles in the Australian solar industry and his optimism for the future.

The solar industry must have changed a lot since Rainbow Power Company first set up? Do you think this has been for better or worse?

[Read more…]

The STC Price: Is Your Solar Installer Ripping You Off?

A solar crook

Short Answer: Probably Not.

Longer Answer:

Ah, the joys of STC prices!

Every so often I get an email from someone who is desperately worried that their solar installer is using the STC price to rip them off.

The suspicion is usually kicked off by one of two things: [Read more…]

How To Read A Solar Panel Specification: Part #1 Power & Temperature Specs

Magnifying the NOCT on a solar panel spec

Does a solar panel with a “Max Power” rated at, say 190W, really produce a maximum power of 190W when it is on your roof in the blazing sun?

Short Answer: Not on your nellie!

The max power rating (in Watts) that your solar panels are rated at is the figure that everyone quotes when talking about “panel size”. If the installer or salesperson talks aout a “190W or 250W panel” they are talking about the “max power” rating of the panels. This rating is based on the power output measured from that panel under “Standard Test Conditions” (STC) that, unfortunately, are a long way from “Real World Operating Conditions”.

[Read more…]