Will SA’s “Solar Sponge” Tariff Make ‘Batteries Without Solar’ Worthwhile?

Solar sponge tariff - South Australia

A battery and a sponge. See what I did there?

In October 2019 South Australia Power Networks (SAPN) announced they would introduce a new “Solar Sponge” tariff promising electricity in the middle of the day at one quarter their usual rate.  As a result, some people have claimed this will let a battery pay for itself, even if the home doesn’t have solar panels.  Are they nuts? Not completely. [Read more…]

Archeologists Uncover Ancient Egyptian Solar Power

Ancient Egypt and solar power

Copper filled grooves in a piece of ancient Egyptian obsidian. (Image: The Irish Times)

A set of papers published in the International Journal of Antiquity last month has revealed ancient Egyptians may have had access to a technology that, in our modern world, has only taken off over the last few decades.  [Read more…]

Danish Study Shows Solar Panel Optimisers Aren’t Always Optimal

Danish study - solar panel optimisers

Have solar panel optimiser manufacturers been too optimistic in their performance claims? A Danish study says optimisers can be the opposite of optimal.

Solar systems hate shade.  They really do.  Sometimes they talk to me in my dreams and it’s always their number one complaint, right after being pooped on by birds.  But these two problems are related — they hate bird poop because it shades their solar cells. [Read more…]

How The Financial Stimulus Can Help Your Solar Business

Coronavirus COVID-19 and solar installer businesses

If you own a solar business, the government has announced a surprisingly generous support package for small/medium businesses. Here’s what you need to know.

On March 12th, in response to the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus and bushfires, the Australian Government announced a $17.6 billion economic stimulus.  Then, at some point in the last week, they must have spoken to someone in the Treasury who actually knows what’s going on, because they then increased it by an order of magnitude to $189 billion. [Read more…]

Most Commercial Solar Can Now Get Instant Asset Write-Off Until June 30

Commercial solar instant asset write-off

It’s a great time to buy commercial solar power to slash your energy bills. And the new $150,000 instant asset write-off can reduce your tax bill too.

Due to the economic hit from the coronavirus COVID-19 and bushfire disasters, the Federal Government has announced a $17.6 billion economic stimulus.  It includes tax deduction incentives that make commercial solar power — and other investments — even more attractive.  [Read more…]

One Kilowatt Of Solar Makes Electric Cars Greener Than Hybrids

Electric cars beat hybrids on emissions

Electric cars beat hybrids on emissions thanks to additional rooftop solar power

Pop Quiz:  Which results in greater CO2 per kilometre?  An all electric car (EV) or a fuel efficient hybrid?

Answer:  An electric car charged from the Australian grid will result in around twice the emissions per kilometre driven. [Read more…]

SolarQuotes’ Virtual Power Plant Comparison Table Is Up And Running

Are you willing to trade control of your home battery for cash payments? Then a Virtual Power Plant may be for you. Our VPP table lets you compare offers.

Do you own a home battery, or are planning to get one? Then I have good news.  The SolarQuotes Virtual Power Plant (VPP) Comparison Table is up and running.  So if you are interested in joining a VPP, you’d better go catch it. [Read more…]

SMA Says Their Inverter’s ShadeFix Software Reduces Effects Of Shade

SMA ShadeFix review

SMA’s ShadeFix doesn’t fix shade but reduces some of its secondary effects.

A couple of weeks go a reader asked me to write about ShadeFix.  ShadeFix is the software German manufacturer SMA include in their solar inverters.  This request made me feel a bit stupid because I had no idea what ShadeFix was. [Read more…]

Coronavirus: More Lives Saved Than Lost Due To Lower Air Pollution

coronavirus: COVID-19 and coal power

The coronavirus, or COVID-19 as all the cool epidemiologists are calling it these days, has at time of writing killed over 2,600 people in China and quarantine measures taken to slow its spread have led to the greatest economic downturn that country has seen since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.

But in the wake of all this suffering and disruption, there is a silver lining saving many more lives than the virus is taking.  With power stations consuming half the coal they were at this time last year and road travel way down, lives saved from reduced air pollution should easily exceed those lost to the virus. [Read more…]

Does Solar Victoria’s “Case Study” Violate Australian Consumer Law?

Solar Victoria case study

Solar Victoria’s marketing department wanted to spruik their solar battery rebate. Did they choose to mislead or inform the public?

On the 16th of January 2020 Solar Victoria published what they called a “case study” under the Latest News section on their web site.  It’s about a person who is happy with their new solar battery system.  On the face of it, that seems a lot better than someone who is unhappy with their battery system, but I suspect the person who bought it may have been misled and won’t be so happy with their purchase after they learn the truth. [Read more…]