Rooftop Solar And Exclusion Zones: Where Solar Panels Dare Not Go

solar panel exclusion zones

How close to the edge of the roof should your solar panels go?

In the past I’ve written about solar panel clamping zones which determine where, on a solar panel’s edge, you can place the clamps that attach the modules to their mounting rails.  What I didn’t do was go into just where on a roof solar panels can and can’t be installed. [Read more…]

SA Power Networks Confirms 5kW Inverter Limit For South Australia

new rules

Installing solar in SA after 1 December 2017? Here’s what you need to know…

SA Power Networks Makes Radelaide Sadelaide

It’s December and the latest rules for connecting rooftop solar to the grid in South Australia are now available from SA Power Networks (SAPN).  I called them late last month to try and get a scoop on what they were planning, but no luck there — SAPN play their cards close to their chests.

So first thing on Friday morning I checked their website and found no change from November.  But that’s okay, I completely understand.  I know there are times people will say they’ll get things done by Friday but actually get them in first thing Monday morning.  Or possibly three weeks later.  That also happens.

But now they’ve had a whole week now to catch up and I see there have been some changes on their site.  There is movement at the station and I’m passing the word around.  The colt from old Regret has got away…

If you can’t be bothered to read this whole post then here’s what you need to know about installing solar in SA from 1 December 2017: [Read more…]

Can An Installer Change The Quoted Price Of My Solar System?

stc price

The STC price has plummeted and pushed the price of solar up. What should you do if you’ve already accepted a quote and the installer wants to increase the price?

I’m going to ask you to imagine preparing to buy a rooftop solar system.  I want you to see yourself working hard, saving your money, doing your research, and getting yourself some quotes.  After careful consideration, you decide upon an installer, sign the contract, and transfer a 10% deposit to them.  At that point you would be looking forward to saving money on your electricity bills and doing your bit to help the environment.

Now imagine how you’d feel if, before the day of the installation, the installer contacts you and says the price has gone up and you now have to pay $1,000 extra.

I imagine you wouldn’t be very happy about it. [Read more…]

Solar Panel Clamping Zones: Are Your Panels Mounted Correctly?

clamping zones

That clamp is not in the zone! After reading this post you will know what that means. (Photo credit: Matt Hines – definitely not one of his installs)

There is one main way solar panels are attached to roofs in Australia and I’m hoping you won’t be surprised to learn it’s not glue.  If you’ve got panels, they are almost certainly fastened to your roof with clamps and held tight in the loving embrace of metal brackets. [Read more…]

Restrictions On Rooftop Solar In QLD Eased — Powerwall 2 & Larger Inverters Allowed With Export Limiting

qld map

Good news for Queenslanders who want to install a battery or a bigger solar inverter.

There is good news for Queenslanders looking to install rooftop solar and anyone thinking of of installing AC coupled battery systems such as the Powerwall 2. [Read more…]

Solar Panel Maintenance: How often should they be inspected?

Some defects found when inspecting badly installed solar. If you suspect your system was shoddily installed, you should book an inspection ASAP. But how often should your system be maintained/inspected if you used a reputable installer?

Is getting your panels inspected worth the expense? In the end, it comes down to how safe you really consider your rooftop solar to be. [Read more…]

How To Find Solar Friendly Electricity Tariffs By Hacking Government Data

data hack

Learn how to hack the government’s electricity bill data for fun and profit…

If you own a solar system but haven’t shopped around the electricity retailers in a while, your bills are probably higher than they need to be.

The big gentailers, Origin, AGL and Energy Australia have made their disdain for solar very clear. They all lobbied to scrap government support for small scale solar during Tony Abbott’s RET review in 2014. And unsurprisingly their electricity tariff offers for solar owners are pretty ordinary.

Luckily there are lots of smaller retailers around these days that often beat the big names. And a handful of those offer solar Feed In Rates that are higher than the rates mandated by your state government. [Read more…]

From flaky to flavour of the month: Big ass power companies embrace solar

u turn sign in front of solar power and cooling towers

Utilities that have previously described solar owners as “freeloaders” and being part of a “scam” are now singing solar’s praises.

Has anyone else noticed the changing attitude of utilities to solar power?

Until recently all you could hear in the regular announcements from the fossil fuel companies’ board rooms was that renewable power was “flaky” and dependent on “when the sun shines, when the wind blows…etc”. You know the drill.

Oh but how times change. It’s been almost embarrassing to see former trenchant critics of solar energy, those that have described solar as akin to the devil incarnate of energy production, come charging out of the sheds with new models designed to take advantage of the popularity of solar power in Australia. [Read more…]

Fairfax Article Beating Up The Solar Industry is Scaremongering (but Greg Hunt still fell for it)

article screenshot

The Fairfax article published on 22 Feb 2015

The Fairfax papers’ coverage of the solar industry is usually spot on. But I think the latest article by Political Reporter Heath Aston is way off mark.

Greg Hunt must have salivated all over his iPad as he read the article yesterday morning. I can see him dribbling with delight at the rampant tales of rorted rebates and shonky solar systems.  And surprise, surprise: within a few hours of the article going live, Hunt announced:

“The poor installation of solar PV or installation of substandard solar PV has the potential to lead to fires with risks to property and human life. I’m sure you would agree that it is absolutely imperative that all panels installed must be of high quality and pose absolutely no threat to safety.”

I would like to ask Hunt how he thinks that it is possible to mandate that a piece of electrical equipment must “pose absolutely no threat to safety”. [Read more…]

If you want a 5kW solar system in QLD – consider getting it before March 1 2015!

QLD map

Rules for installing solar in QLD change on March 1

****UPDATE****

On 12th Feb 2015 Ergon and Energex announced that they are extending this deadline from 1 March out to 30 September 2015.

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The Queensland electricity networks (hello Ergon and Energex!) are a fussy bunch. At the time of writing (Jan 2015) if you want to install a standard grid connect solar system bigger than 5kW, you need to jump through all sorts of technical hoops. And then the networks may also insist that you install a box of electronics that stops any of your excess energy being exported. That’s right you have to waste any excess clean energy instead of letting your neighbours use it! [Read more…]