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…]

How Monitoring Solved A Savvy Solar Owner’s High Voltage Problem

Solar monitoring helps solve high voltage issue

Good solar monitoring has a long list of benefits. Now we can add ‘solving high voltage problems’ to that list.

The phrase “the power of data” is already a cliche, but only because it’s true. This week, we recount the story of how Solar Analytics’ R&D head Jonathon Dore used his company’s monitoring data to dramatically reduce curtailment of output from the solar power system at his Blue Mountains home. [Read more…]

How To Evaluate Solar When Your House Is Nestled Among Trees

solar panels amongst trees - shading

There’s nothing better than a house surrounded by lush green trees. But will those trees make solar panels pointless, or will the shade they cast be manageable? Here’s how to find out.

Max from Sydney emailed this question to the support inbox last week:

“Hi, We have 3 large gums on a small property in Sydney. We are planning to build a 2nd floor and are hoping that gives us enough height to put solar on. Can you help us figure out if we can?”

Here are the drawings he sent through: [Read more…]

DIY Shadow Analysis: Learn How To Quantify Any Shade Cast On Solar Panels

How to do solar panel shading analysis When I came to Australia from the UK in 2002, I was struck by how rare double storey houses were over here. Fast forward 18 years and, as medium density living becomes the new norm in the suburbs, double storey houses are popping up everywhere.

[Read more…]

Voltage Rise & Solar Shutdowns. Why It Happens & How To Fix It.

Grid voltage rise and solar energy systems

Your grid voltage should average 230V. But it probably doesn’t.

This time last week I was at the 2019 All Energy Conference and Exhibition in Melbourne.  Or — if I have been lazy getting this article out — it was this time last week plus or minus one day.  Mostly plus.

I attended a group presentation on grid over voltage. It’s a growing problem.  When grid voltage rises too high, rooftop solar either reduces output or shuts down.  This not only costs solar households money but costs the country lives, as clean solar energy going to waste means more fossil fuel is burned, resulting in more pollution and environmental damage. [Read more…]

What Licences Are Needed To Sell Solar in Australia?

Licenses needed to sell solar in Australia

Is your company licensed to sell solar power in all the states & territories it operates in? Are you sure?

Note: When I say ‘selling solar’ I mean selling residential solar systems including installation. 

At SolarQuotes, we constantly get applications from solar companies across Australia hoping to join our network.

Today we received a promising application from New South Wales. It was a 3 month-old company, founded by two experienced installers. The installers had been operating as sole traders for many years and had decided to take the next step: forming a company. They had a website up and running and were out selling and installing solar, trading as the new company. They appeared to have lots of happy customers.

But I quickly spotted a showstopper of a problem with their application… [Read more…]

Victoria’s AusNet Forces New Solar Homes On Time-Of-Use Tariff For 12 Months

AusNet - solar power and time of use tariff

Power Of No Choice. AusNet are making the most of their monopoly.

Update 16th January 2020: Yesterday we were sent a screenshot of what a home owner in the Ausnet area were told by Ausnet customer support.  It states that Ausnet never allows solar homes to have a standard tariff in their area.  This is different from what they told me on the phone.  Here is the letter they sent: [Read more…]