Foodies Saving Money With Solar – SolarQuotes TV Episode 5

This month’s SolarQuotes TV episode is the all you can eat and drink edition! Which is best – a solar-electric or wood-fire cooked pizza? Our field test provides surprising results.

We also check out a Barossa region wine family’s big dream to become carbon-neutral. In solar tech, we look at the ease of freeze – using thermal storage to solar power a coolroom; and ripe for the picking – solar energy makes a tomato farm in the South Australian desert possible and profitable. All this and more!

Food And The Solar Revolution

0:30 – While for many it’s about saving money, there’s also huge environmental benefits to be had if we can move more of the cooking and production of food to solar says Finn.

Cook-off: Wood-fired Vs. Solar Electric Pizza

0:58 – A wood-fired oven produces the best tasting pizzas. This is a scientifically proven fact – or is it? Finn pitches his tiny electric pizza oven against the might of SQ’s Rino’s brick beauty that has an interesting story behind it. What’s compared:

  • Cost of the oven
  • Setup time
  • Running costs
  • Ease of use
  • Cooking time
  • Carbon footprint
  • .. and very importantly, taste!

Rino patiently tolerates Finn’s fake Italian accent without thumping him and donates some of the electricity generated by his home’s impressive 7.2kW rooftop solar system to power Finn’s oven.

SA Winemaker Making The Most Of Solar

7:20 – These winemakers in South Australia’s beautiful Barossa region are really keen to reduce their environmental impact – aiming to reach carbon neutrality by 2025. We recently caught up with Kirk from Lambert Estate and Miles from Class A Energy Solutions to see what they’ve been doing.

The Lambert Estate’s existing 100kW solar system is already saving the business big bucks, so the decision has been made to install another 130 kW of PV. The new system will feature Trina Solar panels along with SolarEdge optimisers and inverters, tied in with SolarAnalytics advanced monitoring.

Lambert Estate’s solar electric expansion also includes the addition of eight Tomlinson lithium battery electric carts. Tesla chargers are already on-site and batteries are in the pipeline too. A unique addition also in place is a $45,000 custom-made  electric pizza oven – the biggest in South Australia.

Ned’s Review – Installer Choice Matters

11:09 – A bad solar installer can take good components and make an absolute mess of the installation, so never skimp on installation quality. It also makes the solar experience more pleasant if the installer is polite, tidy and on-time. Ned relays a customer review of a quality, punctual installation firm that really cares about the homes they work on – Roland Lawrence Electrical (RLE).

Solar Powered Thermal Storage For Coolrooms

13:24 – Keeping food cold is an energy intensive business. Solar can be used to power refrigeration, but what happens when the sun goes down if you don’t have batteries? Finn’s pretty excited about this technology that’s ten times cheaper than batteries involving phase-change materials (PCMs). Finn explains PCMs and how this system works.

Ronald’s Wrap – Solar Power & Slow Cookers

15:34 – Ronald and Finn chat about the benefits of solar households using slow cookers. They don’t just save cash, slow cookers can also help alleviate load on the mains grid during peak times.  You can also find the full blog post here that contains a bonus slow cooker recipe from Ronald and details how a Tesla Powerwall helped save six people from potential food poisoning!

Solar Energy And A Desert Tomato Farm

20:56 – Sundrop farms is in the South Australian desert – they grow tomatoes using almost nothing but sunlight and seawater. So how do you grow more than 15 million kilograms of tomatoes a year in the desert? Find out more in this segment.

For a bunch more videos and previous episodes, check out the SolarQuotes Youtube channel!

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. Brilliant Blog Guys,
    Why don’t you send Ronald, on a solar camping holiday, I would love to see a Video of Ronald demonstrating the latest in solar camping and solar cooking,,
    (Nice in the Grampians this time of the year for camping)

  2. what about the wood-smoky flavour of the wood-fired pizza?

    could the solar pizza machine add some wood chips to incorporate that flavour? this is what smoker machines do.

    how much is the solar pizza oven and where is it available?

  3. Phase change materials are very cool

    Have you guys done any reviews concerning PCMs for use in conjunction with household insulation? There were quite a few articles a decade or so back but it doesn’t seem to be a thing in Australia anymore.

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