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?

panels clamped on roofs

Can you spot which of these panel arrays don’t appear to be clamped properly? After reading this post you will.

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…]

Why connecting your solar system to the grid is harder in NSW

grid connect solar

What are the rules for connecting to the grid in NSW?

Australians love their rooftop solar and believe it or not, despite our relatively small population we have collectively installed more household solar systems than almost any other country in the world.

For consumers, it’s a no brainer but the electricity companies seem to be making things more difficult as time goes by. Is this justified and are their technical issues we need to understand as solar owners, or are they just profiteering?

The grid is a complex beast and the electricity industry is even more complicated, so the answer is ‘a bit of both’. In fairness to the utilities, and because I’ve had a heap of emails from frustrated NSW folks, I thought I would highlight the New South Wales Service Rules as one example of how technical issues need to be considered. [Read more…]

Calls for Housing NSW to allow solar installations

housing nsw logo and solar panel

Should Housing NSW allow solar on their properties?

With domestic renewable energy systems rapidly increasing in popularity for Australian households, you’d think solar installations for Housing NSW properties would follow suit. With financial savings, clean energy and less pressure on the environment, its a no-brainer really.

However this is not so, says activist James Ray who has found that the department has ruled that it will not allow solar systems on their properties. In response to this Mr Ray has started a petition to ask that the agency allow tenants of Housing NSW to enjoy the benefits of solar installations. [Read more…]