Dubbo: Solar Power Capital of Australia!

Well done Dubbo solar power installers!

dubbo library clock tower without solar panels

Sunny in Dubbo

If you read the mainstream press in Australia,  you’d think the towns and suburbs with the biggest average take up of solar panels would be the well-to-do inner city suburbs of our major cities. Perhaps Vaucluse, Toorak or the leafy eastern suburbs of Adelaide?

Obviously they’d be more likely where wealth is concentrated right?

Wrong (as you may have guessed by the headline!). In a sign that solar energy is becoming more accessible to mainstream Aussie folk, a recent survey by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) found the central-west NSW city of Dubbo to have the highest average percentage of houses with solar panels.

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Q-Cells file for bankruptcy but are saved by Korean Hanwha Solar

The German press has just announced that one of my favourite solar companies plans to file for insolvency tomorrow (April 4th).

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Why Your 5kW Solar System Output Is Lower Than You Expected

Cleaning a dirty sold panel

Dirt is one of 5 losses

Is your new solar system producing the power output it should? 

A very common question I get from people who have just got a new solar power system is: “Now the solar panels are on my roof, how do I know what the solar system output should be?”.

The solar power system owners are usually a bit concerned because they have bought, for example, a  5kW system but their inverter is telling them that they only got 4kW of peak power  yesterday! Where’s the missing 1kW? Most people expect a 5kW solar system output!

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New generation of super thin solar cells promise half price solar power

twin creeks technologies logo

Twin creeks technologies are claiming a cost reduction breakthrough for solar PV

Last week’s column brought you the latest, world-record-breaking achievements of the University of NSW. This week, just to balance the books a little, we thought we’d bring you news of the latest incredible overseas advance in PV cells from overseas — just to prove that solar research is pushing back the boundaries the world over.

The name of the firm is Twin Creeks, which may or may not be a nod to the superb David Lynch-produced TV series of the early nineties (or am I showing my age here?), and the breakthrough is that photovoltaic cells are created using a hydrogen ion particle accelerator. [Read more…]

PV world record tumbles as UNSW looks to wrap up series

Suntech and UNSW logos

Suntech and The UNSW team up and kick solar ass!

Aussies love awards and stellar achievements. Particularly when we’re on the receiving end. Best and fairest, most valuable player, player of the series, best supporting actor, Treasurer of the Year (hang on!) and so the list goes on. Our collective chests burst with pride when we hear of the achievements and world records of our sports and silver screen idols and this gives us a sense of playing on the world stage with the big boys/girls. [Read more…]

Solar Panel Size: Is Bigger Better?

a 410W solar panel

A 410W solar panel. Look at the size of that thing! (image: TopSun)

The Size of Solar panels is definitely increasing, there’s no denying it.

A couple of years ago the average solar panel was 165W. Today the average is about 240W. The biggest one approved for installation in Australia at the time of writing is the whopping Topsun TS-S410. This giant amongst solar panels has these super sized stats: [Read more…]

Understanding Solar Panel Specifications Part #2: Power, Tolerance & Efficiency

In Part #1 I went into great detail about why the “Max Power” quoted on your solar panel specification sheet and the real max power you will actually get from that panel are very different numbers. I showed you how to calculate a more accurate max power by using some little known temperature specs.

In this post I’ll go through the other important numbers that you should look at when comparing solar panels.

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How To Read A Solar Panel Specification: Part #1 Power & Temperature Specs

Magnifying the NOCT on a solar panel specification

Discover how to read a solar panel specification

Does a solar panel specification with “Max Power” rated at, say 190W, really produce a maximum power of 190W when it is on your roof in the blazing sun?

Short Answer: Not on your nellie!

The max power rating (in Watts) that your solar panels are rated at is the figure that everyone quotes when talking about “panel size”. If the installer or salesperson talks aout a “190W or 250W panel” they are talking about the “max power” rating of the panels. This rating is based on the power output measured from that panel under “Standard Test Conditions” (STC) that, unfortunately, are a long way from “Real World Operating Conditions”.

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Would the solar industry be better off without government support?

Sir Humphrey discusses the UK's Solar Feed In Tariff

Fascinating article this. The UK’s only Green MP, Caroline Lucas, takes to the pages of The Guardian to launch a broadside against the UK Government’s investment policy in relation to solar energy.

The UK Government this week lost an appeal in the High Court against a lower court’s ruling that its retrospective attempt to change the solar feed-in tariff rates imposed by the previous Labour Government was “legally flawed”. The Cameron Government had tried to reduce the rates before the agreed consultation period had expired.

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Innovative solar energy project to aid off-grid rural communities in Africa

The British-based solar energy charity organisation SolarAid has teamed up with Cambridge-based solar technology company Eight19 to provide solar energy at affordable prices to poorer people in rural parts of Africa.

SolarAid are a charity group working in rural areas throughout eastern and southern Africa with a bunch of great ideas. According to their website they believe jobs and business opportunities for poorer people in the rural areas of Africa is important. [Read more…]