Half Cut Solar Panels: Higher Efficiency & Better Shade Tolerance

half-cut panel and installer

Don’t let a half-cut solar installer install your half-cut solar panels.

Silicon solar cells of the type now used for almost every residential solar installation in Australia have been around for a long time.  They are 64 years old.  This makes them same age as nuclear power generation.  They’ve come a long way since they were first made at Bell Labs in the United States.  Originally they were only able to convert around 6% of the energy in sunlight into electrical energy but now the most efficient solar panels on the market manage 22%.

Unfortunately, the days of large improvements in efficiency have long been over.  Now we only see small incremental improvements and one of these in use that will be much more common in the future are panels that use half cut solar cells. [Read more…]

“Power Of Choice” Pushes Costs Onto Electricity Consumers

Power Of Choice - Electricity Meters
Last week I wrote about the “Power of Choice” reforms that put electricity retailers in charge of electricity meters.

Today I’m writing how Power of Choice reforms harm the consumer by stealing the most valuable thing you possess: your time on this Earth. [Read more…]

Power Of Choice Meter Reforms Result In Powerful Conflicts Of Interest

electricity meter

A new scheme called “The Power Of Choice” has moved responsibility for meters to the retailers.

On the first of December 2017 responsibility for electricity meters in the National Energy Market or NEM changed hands1.  The NEM is a National Electricity Market that apparently thinks Western Australia and the Northern Territory are other countries because they’re not included.

The job of installing and maintaining electricity meters was taken from Distributed Network Service Providers or DNSPs and given to Electricity Retailers.  In other words, it was taken from the people who distribute electricity from long distance transmission lines to homes and businesses and given to the people who bill you for electricity. [Read more…]

Footnotes

  1. The rumor that the phrase “changed tentacles” would be more appropriate than “changed hands” can certainly be denied.

Arvio Supercapacitor Energy Storage — Powerful Enough To Beat Batteries At Their Own Game?

super capacitor man - Arvio Kilowatt Labs Sirius

Will Super Capacitor Energy Storage Save The World? Maybe. Maybe Not.

Australian company Arvio is now selling a supercapacitor energy storage module.  If you go to their site you can see the Kilowatt Labs Sirius module that stores 3.55 kilowatt-hours of electricity on sale for $4,950 including GST – here’s how it looks: [Read more…]

LG Solar’s Product Warranty Now 25 Years For All Panels

LG solar panel warranty

It’s only two months now since I wrote an article telling everyone in the world the product warranty for LG Solar’s NeON 2 panel was being extended from 12 years to 15.  But if you were looking forward to to getting some NeON 2 solar panels and enjoying that sweet 15 year warranty, I’m afraid you’re out of luck because it’s no longer available.  Instead you’ll just have to enjoy a massive 25 year product warranty as it has been extended by another 10 years. [Read more…]

Solar Payback Time For Each Australian Capital

Simple solar payback

The cost of rooftop solar continues to fall despite the fact that the Australian dollar has been falling too.  It has been a while since I’ve harped on about how cost effective rooftop solar is, so I stayed up all night to make beautiful graphs of the simple solar payback time in every capital city.  In other words I will show you how many years it will take the savings on your electricity bills to cover the cost of your solar power system. [Read more…]

Am I Breaking The Law If My Electricity Meter Runs Backwards?

Solar Panels And Electricity Meters Running Backwards

Are you allowed to use newly installed solar to run your meter backwards?

If you have a very old electricity meter, a new rooftop solar installation can make that meter run backwards. But only if the solar power system is switched on before a new compatible meter is installed. [Read more…]

Huawei Inverter Review: There’s No Spying Going On Here!

Huawei solar inverter

Huawei were not allowed to bid for the NBN due to spying concerns. But their solar inverters look pretty good.

Huawei is a giant Chinese company and the world’s largest producer of solar inverters going by gigawatts of capacity.  [Read more…]

Asking Origin How Long It Takes Them To Change An Electricity Meter: An 11 Step Process

Origin energy and electricity meter changeovers

Electricity meters are low cost, reliable devices that measure how much grid your home uses.  Traditional meters need someone to come around and read them, but all new meter installations now have to be smart meters that transmit information wirelessly, making your human meter reader redundant. [Read more…]

Tesla Increases Cost Of Powerwall 2 To $9,600 — Not Including Installation

Tesla Powerwall 2 price rise

And you thought batteries were meant to be getting cheaper every year?

Sorry I’ve been slow in reporting this, but back in February Tesla raised the price of a Powerwall 2 in the United States by 400 Mickey Mouse dollars; an increase from US$5,500 to US$5,900.  We’ve also copped it sweet here in Australia and the price has increased by $600 to $9,600 before installation.  The only mitigating circumstance I can see is that all Powerwall 2 battery systems now come with full backup capability.  It’s no longer an optional feature. [Read more…]