Search Results for: nsw

Poly vs. Monocrystalline Solar Panels – Let’s put this argument to bed!

One steaming pile of Solar BS that you hear all the time from worst sales people in this industry – who will feed you any line to get a sale – is that polycrystalline panels are better than monocrystalline solar panels, or vice versa.

In this video I finally get off my chest why you should avoid anyone spouting such drivel:

Transcript follows if you don’t like listening to angry, sweary solar geeks, and I go into great detail about the two technologies over on the main site:

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How Much Will You Get Paid For Your Solar Electricity?

Hint: It’s a bit more complicated than you might think!

By my reckoning 25% of people buying solar power systems want to save the planet as a priority. The other 75% want to save their bottom line and saving the planet is a nice side-effect.

I get a lot of emails saying: “Help! My bills are [insert large number here] dolars a quarter – what size solar system do I need?”

The answer to this question is quite longwinded – but if you want to understand whether a solar system is worthwhile for you financially – you need to understand this stuff! So I made a video to help explain. If you are considering buying a solar system I strongly recommend watching this:

[Note: Since I made this video the Victorian and QLD Feed In tariffs are no longer more generous than the rest of the country – they are both 8c per kWh at time of writing!]

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Do you really want to go off the grid with your solar power system?

Did you hear about the Queensland proposal a couple of weeks ago that proposed an 8c per kWh GROSS Feed In Tariff? That would mean Queenslanders would have to sell ALL their solar power to the retailers for 8c (yes – ALL of it – even the stuff that they used in their home). And then buy it back for about 30c.

Yup – that would be called institutionalised theft.

Stories like that make most people want to get off the grid altogether.

So I get quite a few quote requests these days for “Off Grid” solar power systems. However most people don’t fully realise what a big and expensive step it is to cut the wires to the grid.

So I made this video to explain what it really means to go off grid in 2012. I hope you enjoy it:

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How Do Solar Panels Work?

Ever wondered how solar panels actually work? We all know that they convert light into electricity – but have you ever stopped to wonder just how the heck that happens? Here I do my best to explain the inner functioning of a solar panel in plain English:

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What Should You Buy First? Solar Hot Water or Solar PV?

Solar Hot Water is fast becoming the poor cousin of Solar PV (AKA Solar Electricity). Consumers just seem to prefer solar PV to solar hot water these days. In fact solar hot water has gone from almost zero to 1,000,000 roofs in about 30 years, whereas PV has gone from almost zero to 1,000,000 roofs in less than 6 years. There is now more PV than Solar HW out there! Unbelievable.

It doesn’t help that retailers prefer to sell PV over hot water – for a whole bunch of reasons that I’ll go into in a future blog post.

Here’s a video where I answer the question posed in the title: Should you buy Solar Hot Water or PV first?, But first I answer a much more fundamental question that creates an enormous amount of confusion out there:

And here’t the transcript for the video-phobes amongst you: [Read more…]

What is a Solar Feed In Tariff (Video).

I’ve been busy making videos that answer some common solar questions. Here I talk about Feed In Tariffs and what to do if your nasty energy retailer wants to punish you for going solar…

Transcription below for those who prefer to read: [Read more…]

Where should your solar inverter go and should you worry about voltage drops?

I got a great email the other day:

“One solar installer has told me that it is best for the inverter to be as close as possible to the panels and NOT to the meter box as your checklist indicates. Is he crazy?”

Short answer. Yes – he’s crazy.

Longer answer:

As close as possible to the panels? Whatcha gonna do put it on the roof?

I get a lot of stick for this advice in one of my solar installation videos:

Solar Inverter Position

Sometimes I get heat for recommending that you put your solar inverter as close to your fusebox as possible.

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Solar brings down electricity prices says report

pylons

Without solar – wholesale electricity would be more expensive.

Last week we here at SolarQuotes HQ we were thrilled to bring you news of a major CSIRO report which found that solar energy intermittency — defined as when cloud cover causes a reduction in the efficiency of energy drawn from the sun — can be successfully managed.

To the great consternation of solar critics and the delight of solar fans, the major study found that, not only could proper management techniques limit the problem of solar intermittency, but it could also contribute to solar energy taking its rightful role as a major energy source in Australia.

This week we’d like to follow up that with another cracker study: this time from the REC Agents Association (RAA). According to this report, the increased takeup of solar by Australian consumers has contributed to a reduction in power consumption and a lowering of wholesale electricity prices across the National Electricity Market. [Read more…]

How to work out if your solar system is performing properly.

a ruler

Stop guessing, start measuring!

I got an email from Dec in Melbourne this week who is very worried that his solar installers have sold him a lemon:

Hi Finn, Since my last email, my 4.0kw solar has been independently checked and I have been told it was found to be installed correctly. At this time it is producing only 1800w on a clear sunny day. It seems that no one has an answer as to why the production is low as the system is only producing an average of 7.2kwh/day. Do you have any idea as to what I can do to try and resolve this as I am really struggling with getting this sorted out.

So has Dec been sold a heap of junk? Is his solar power system producing enough power for its size, location and the time of year (June) ? [Read more…]

Solar Panel Orientation: Is West the new North?

The following is a very common question that comes in to SQ HQ.

“My roofline is North/South, so my largest roof areas face either East or West. I have been told that North Facing is ideal, but I  have a tiny North facing roof! Can I put some solar panels on the East or West Facing roof (or both) ?”

Short Answer: Stick some (perhaps all) on the West!

Longer Answer: In terms of the amount of power produced, facing your panels East will produce exactly the same amount of power as facing them West.  In either case you’ll generally take a 10-15% power hit compared to having them facing the ideal direction (North).

Compass

Is North always the best direction for solar panels?

So why do I say “probably West” as the short answer to the question?

Well, the reason I err on the West facing roof is because that part of your roof will get the sun later in the day. An East Facing solar array will generally produce its peak power at 10-11am. A West Facing array will produce its peak at closer to 2pm.

Most people use more energy later in the day. And most people want to use as much of their solar energy as possible, without exporting it. Why? Because at the time of writing most Feed In Tariffs give you less per kWh if you export the electricity than you pay for imported electricity. So most people will pay off their solar system quicker if they minimise exports.

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