How My Friend Frank Used SolarQuotes To Buy Solar

Solar quoting case study

My friend Frank was considering putting solar panels on his roof, so — knowing I’m a solar guru — he asked me what he should do.  I told him to use the SolarQuotes site and — if it was okay with him — I’d write about his experience.  He said that was fine provided I didn’t make any horrible puns and we shook hands on it.  This was a little painful because I had my fingers crossed at the time. [Read more…]

The Huawei Luna2000 Battery Review: Tantalisingly Close To Paying For Itself

Huawei Luna2000 Battery Review

Introducing The Huawei Luna2000 Battery — A Home Battery That May Pay In WA

Huawei is the world’s largest inverter manufacturer and has been selling residential solar inverters in Australia for years.  They’re now offering home energy storage with the launch of their Luna 2000 battery in May. [Read more…]

Air Conditioners Will Heat Your Home Cheaper Than Gas. Here’s Why.

Reverse cycle air conditioner vs gas heating

The best way to heat your home is with a reverse cycle air conditioner.  This is true whether your goal is to save money or save the planet.  In this article, I’ll explain no matter how crap your air conditioner is, you’re likely to be financially better off using it for heat instead of gas. [Read more…]

How Time Of Use Tariffs Can Boost Your Solar Battery Savings

Solar batteries and time-of-use electricity tariffs

I’ve been given a mission.  It’s to determine how much money a home can save using a battery with a time-of-use tariff in every Australian capital.  

This isn’t easy to do. [Read more…]

ACT Sustainable Household Scheme: 0% Loans With Batshit Crazy Small Print

Canberra Sustainable Household Scheme

The ACT’s Sustainable Household Scheme will soon be in full operation.  It makes zero-interest, zero-fee loans available to households for rooftop solar, batteries, electric car chargers and energy efficiency measures such as replacing gas appliances.  In the future, it will be available for new and used electric vehicles. [Read more…]

What Is 5-Minute Settlement And How Does It Help Batteries?

National Electricity Market - 5 minute settlement

On October 1st, Australia’s National Electricity Market is changing from 30-minute to 5-minute settlement.

In this article, I’ll explain exactly what Australian households need to do to prepare for this event. [Read more…]

2021 Solar Panel Torture Testing: ET, & SunPower Do Well

PVEL 2021 PV Module Reliability Scorecard report

At the moment we’re locked down in Adelaide.  Because I’m no longer able to smuggle badgers across the border in my beard as I’d planned, I’m catching up on stuff I should have written about weeks or months ago. 

One of these things is the PVEL 2021 Module Reliability Scorecard report that came out in May.  While I’ve been tardy bringing it to your attention, it’s far too interesting to let slip by. [Read more…]

Can A Home Battery On A Time-Of-Use Tariff Pay For Itself Yet?

Home Battery - Time-Of-Use Electricity Tariff

If you have a home battery, a time-of-use tariff can save you money. 

How much depends on…

  • Battery Capability:  This includes usable storage capacity, power output, and flexibility.
  • Location:  Time-of-use tariffs vary greatly from state to state.  To a lesser degree, they can vary within states.
  • Electricity consumption habits and solar electricity production
  • Whether or not you are part of a VPP (Virtual Power Plant) that allows a time-of-use tariff.

[Read more…]

Don’t Panic: SA Homes Can Remain On Flat Tariff When Getting Solar

South Australia solar power - electricity tariffs

SA homes are not required to have a time-of-use retail electricity tariff when getting solar

Last week I heard from a South Australian concerned they’d be forced onto a time-of-use tariff after installing solar panels. 

Since this was at the start of the new financial year, my initial response was, “Oh god!  What are the electricity retailers doing now?”

[Read more…]

Silicon Price Hike Increases Solar Panel Production Cost By Around $34

Ninety-eight percent of the world’s solar cells are made from silicon.  This is thanks to its suitability as a PV material and its low cost compared to alternatives.  While the price of solar silicon has its ups and downs, the overall trend has been downwards.  It reached a record low in June 2020.  After taking inflation into account, it was around one-thirteenth of its 2007 price. 

But the record low didn’t last, and over the past 12 months it has gone from under $7 US per kilogram to over $28 US.  In relative terms, this has been the largest solar silicon price increase in history.    [Read more…]