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

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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


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


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…]

Northern Territory to be SETuP with Solar Energy Systems

Power and Water Corporation (PWC) is set to deploy renewable energy systems to over 30 communities in the Northern Territory. SETuP (Solar Energy Transformation Program) will develop solar power for use in remote communities. The aim is to implement systems that won’t affect remote energy users’ usual operations. For the full article, click here: Northern Territory Solar Energy Transformation Program

Solar Power For Your Home: The Absolute Basics

Back to absolute basics today on the SolarQuotes blog!

Here’s an infographic I got drawn up that explains the fundamental concepts you need to understand before buying solar for your home.

Yes, yes – I know for many of you dear readers this is completely obvious! But trust me, many folks out there starting on their solar journey do not realise that solar hot water panels don’t produce electricity.

Feel free to reproduce, republish and share to your heart’s content. The more knowledge out there the better for everybody!

an infographic describing solar power fundamentals

Solar Power For Your Home: The Basics


Solar Isolator Switch Recall. What you need to know.

solar isolator switches

The 3 isolator brands that have been recalled: PV Power, Avanco & NHP

We’ve recently had a number of phone calls from people who have heard about the national solar isolator switch recall recently announced by the ACCC, and are worried about their solar systems.

Here’s what you need to know about the Solar Isolator Switch Recall: [Read more…]

How to install solar panels on a metal roof – without leaks.

This post comes courtesy of Trevor Berrill. Trevor is Principal of  Solaris Sustainable Homes and is a 30 year veteran of  both renewable energy  and energy efficiency. It is a honour to have him contribute to this humble blog. Here Trevor describes how a good solar installer should install solar panels to a metal roof and how bad installers, in a hurry can do the wrong thing and leave you with a leaky roof!

Over to you Trevor.

Holier than thou? How to avoid leaks in the roof! [Read more…]

How to unlock a great solar payback (even with crappy rebates).

solar panels and a key

The key to good solar payback is system sizing.

Occasionally I venture out of my straw-bale, solar passive eco-cave and meet real people, in person instead of over the interwebs. When they inevitably ask me the standard icebreaker “what do you do?” and hear that I’m in “solar power”, the usual response is: “Oh – that must be a tough industry, now that the rebates / buy back rates have all ended?”.

The reality seems to be that most people who don’t work in the solar industry seem to use the words “rebate” and “feed in tariff” interchangeably. And who can blame them? Both are essentially government cash handouts.

Of course the truth is that the Solar Rebate“, is actually still available through the Federal government. The government frowns upon anyone who calls it a rebate, preferring the term “Financial Incentive”. But all that really matters is that you can get about $700 off the upfront cost of every kW of solar you buy. For a typical 3kW, that’s a $2100 subsidy. [Read more…]

The Truth About Your Roof And Solar Power: 3 Questions You Must Ask.

roof with panels

Is your roof good for solar?

Imagine you walk in a shoe store and the shop assistant immediately starts measuring your head with a tape measure. You’d think she was mad, wouldn’t you? And you’d be right, of course. Sometimes the basics are just self-evident.

If you need shoes, all the information you need is right there at the bottom of your legs. Same with solar power.  No reason to start anywhere but right up there on your roof.

And there are 3 questions about your roof that you have to answer right away before we move on to anything more advanced. And you’ll soon see why…

[Read more…]