Why Landscape Solar Panels Can Be Better (But More Expensive)

Have you ever noticed that most solar panels installed on Australian roofs are mounted in portrait orientation?

Portrait is more popular because solar panels are cheaper and quicker to install this way.

This post will explain why panel orientation can matter, and why you may be better off with landscape panels despite the extra effort required to install them. [Read more…]

Kiwi Startup Readies Three-Phase Power Balancer For Market

Red Phase Technology Three-Phase Power Balancer

Compared to Australia, New Zealand is a mere beginner in the adoption of household solar power – while Australia had 2.68 million installations at the end of 2020 (source: CSIRO), New Zealand had just 33,771 solar installations at the end of July 2021 (source: Electricity Authority). [Read more…]

Big Trouble For Bad Installers As Clean Energy Regulator Shows Its Teeth

Integrity Review of the Rooftop Solar PV Sector in Australia

Last week the Clean Energy Regulator held an online information session titled, “Update on the Integrity Review of the Rooftop Solar PV Sector.”  It outlined major changes aimed at kicking crap solar installers out of the industry. [Read more…]

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…]

What Makes A Great Solar Power Installation?

What separates a great solar power system installation from a crappy one – even if exactly the same panels and inverter are used in both? Watch a “gold-standard” installation performed from start to finish (transcript included). [Read more…]

Solar Export Limiting: Just How Much Energy Will You Lose?

What are the losses from solar export limiting? — You’ll lose less energy generation than you think.

Export limited solar systems are becoming increasingly common. 

Some new solar power system buyers are being told they can only proceed with an installation if the installer ‘export limits’ their system.

Export limiting is a polite way of saying ‘hobbled’.  An export limited solar system will occasionally send less electricity into the grid than its inverter can supply.  That can cause clean solar energy to go to waste. 

That sounds awful, but the good news is: the amount lost is far less than most people expect.

[Read more…]

Don’t Let Retailers Force You On To Time-Of-Use Tariffs When You Go Solar

Are time of use tariffs compulsory when installing solar panels?

There are 16 different electricity distribution networks in Australia. Don’t let them (or retailers) try and force you on a time-of-use tariff when you go solar.

When you get solar panels installed, your old electricity meter is replaced with a smart meter.  Unless you already have one.    

This isn’t a bad thing in itself, as smart meters provide some advantages.  But there is a problem if installing a smart meter is used as an excuse to foist a time-of-use (TOU) tariff on people who would rather not have one. [Read more…]

Solar Power In Tasmania: How To Triumph Despite Higher Prices & Lower Output

Solar panels - Tasmania

A solar power system in Tasmania. Pic: Scott Logie

If you are lucky enough to live in Tasmania, I have some bad news:

Using solar panels to get low bills is more challenging than on the mainland. 

But I also bring good news: [Read more…]

How Much Solar Can You Install In The Endeavour Energy Network Area?

Installing solar panels in NSW's Endeavour Energy Network Area

If you want to find out how much solar power capacity Endeavour Energy will let you install, don’t go to their website. It’s hopeless. Their phone support, however, is excellent.

Update July 1st 2021: After a commenter kindly informed me Endeavour does not require export limiting on properties with 3 phase power I wrote to Origin to clarify this and they confirmed in (email) writing, “That is correct, there is no export limit on 3 phase systems.”  While different from information I was given 4 months ago over the phone, I am confident this is correct.

A few days ago I received an email from a reader saying it appeared NSW’s Endeavour Energy had altered the amount of solar they allow to be connected to the grid.  Because this was relevant to my interests, I immediately went to the Endeavour Energy site to see what size solar systems could be installed.  Unfortunately, I immediately became confused. [Read more…]

How Ned From SolarQuotes Ensures The Integrity Of Our Solar Reviews

SolarQuotes' Ned Holland screening reviews

SolarQuotes’ Ned Holland hard at work fighting review spam.

What happens on SolarQuotes’ review pages is clearly part of the beating heart of this business, and anyone who has experience with open forums will know what it’s like. There are trolls, people with a grudge (both fair and unfair), honest mistakes, and occasionally dishonest reviews. [Read more…]