About Richard Chirgwin

Richard Chirgwin is a journalist with more than 30 years' experience covering a wide range of technology topics, including electronics, telecommunications, computing and science.

New Bluetooth Vulnerability Should Be A Wake-Up Call To Solar Manufacturers

Bluetooth vulnerability and solar components

If you’ve been reading the tech press this week, you’ve probably noticed there’s a lot of noise about a security vulnerability in Bluetooth, known as “KNOB”, and I thought it gives us the chance to discuss Bluetooth security in the solar business. [Read more…]

Jaws Drop: Alan Finkel Talks Hydrogen From Fossil Fuels At Clean Energy Summit

(Video Credit: Kevin Warner via LinkedIn)

By now, it won’t surprise readers to know Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel’s enthusiasm for hydrogen continues unabated. At the end of July, he took to the stage at the Clean Energy Summit with the message that without it, the world will have trouble replacing fossil fuels in the accelerating timetable we face. [Read more…]

Solar Diversion In Practice: A Reader’s Experience With The Zappi EV Charger

Chris from Queensland has owned a Zappi EV charger for over 3 months now. Find out what he thinks of it.

Readers will recall our previous discussions of solar diversion here and here, and my complaint that it’s too hard to do off-the-shelf.

One of the handful of fully off-the-shelf products we were alerted to is the Zappi charger, and last week I had the chance to discuss the product with a user in Queensland, Chris. [Read more…]

Is GST Included On Ergon Feed-In Tariffs? It Depends Who You Ask

Ergon Energy and Queensland's solar feed-in tariff

Ergon Energy say GST is included in their FiT. The Queensland Competition Authority say GST is not included in the FiT. Who is correct? And why won’t Ergon respond to our questions?

This post arises because of a query from a Queensland Ergon customer, who has discovered the solar feed-in tariff set by the state’s competition regulator doesn’t make provision for GST. [Read more…]

Security Jitters: Can They Hack My Solar Power System?

Solar power system security and hackers

Is your solar power system at risk of hacking?

Last week’s post about solar inverter security sparked a lot of interest and a few good questions I’d like to answer; starting with one from TJ that reminded me people are justifiably and genuinely worried. [Read more…]

Solar inverter cyber-security: listen carefully, and you’ll hear the time-bomb tick

Solar power system security

On a Friday afternoon early in July, I was pleased to hear the ABC’s current affairs radio program PM cover cyber-security in the small business sector. It’s impossible for a four-minute radio spot to be comprehensive, but building awareness is a slow process. [Read more…]

DIY Solutions For Solar Power Diversion Through Home Automation

Smart House - Home Automation and Solar Power

A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at a customer’s need to integrate his solar PV controller with his smart home system, and concluded that this industry needs to settle on standard protocols so systems can get smarter. [Read more…]

Australian Standard For Battery Testing Gets Closer

Australian Standard for solar battery testing

Out of my twenty-four 2V, 1200AH batteries, one has developed a fault and is dragging on the whole system. It would be a simple warranty claim except that I have to get the battery tested, and where I live nobody has the equipment needed.

As a result of my battery discussions with my installer, I was very interested to learn that a solar battery performance standard is under development; so last Thursday (June 20), I joined a webinar hosted by the Smart Energy Council briefing the industry on its progress. [Read more…]

The Standards Gap Holding Back Solar Homes Becoming Smart Homes

inverter wirelessly communicating with smart plugs

Want your inverter to wirelessly control some smart plugs? It ain’t easy…

This week’s post was inspired by a question asked by Malcolm via e-mail:

“Do you know of any ‘Smart” home systems/software that can be used with a Fronius Inverter/Smart Meter to direct surplus solar power to home appliances and/or heaters via smart wifi plugs?”

It’s a good question, and one that doesn’t yet have very many good answers. [Read more…]

SA Power Networks Limits Three-Phase Exports To 15kW

Solar power and three-phase in South Australia

If you’re a South Australian who needs three-phase output from your solar power kit, I hope you’ve already made your application to SA Power Networks for approval, because from the end of May, new rules limit three-phase export in that state to 5kW per phase. [Read more…]

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