The Good Solar Guide: 7 Steps To Tiny Bills For Australian Homeowners

Order the Good Solar Guide by Finn Peacock

Almost 10 years ago, I sat down for 2 weeks in Brighton Public Library and put everything I knew about residential solar power systems into my battered old laptop. I used the free Wi-Fi to upload that information to a home-brewed website called SolarQuotes. The knowledge was picked up from working for the Energy Transformed Flagship at CSIRO combined with my broader background in electrical engineering.

Since then, millions of people have visited the site; which has been continuously improved over the years. [Read more…]

What Does The Reduced STC Price Mean For Solar?

Solar salesperson

STC prices dropping means solar prices have risen. What has that done to solar payback times?

We were warned.

We all knew this was coming.

But who among us was prepared for the recent tumble in the price of STCs that lower the cost of rooftop solar?

Well, I was. [Read more…]

Solar Panel Torture Testing: Jinko & Trina Do Well

DNV-GL reliability scorecard

Now you know what the those DNV-GL engineers *really* get up to in their secret European HQ…

DNV-GL’s PV Module Reliability Scorecard Report for 2017 is out1 and gives some fascinating results.  You can follow that long link in the previous sentence to download your own copy of the report, but for your benefit, I’ve included my own unique analysis below, where I will give my interpretation of the results in 2,000 words or less.

Or possibly more.  I’ve only just started writing so don’t really know just how many words I’ll require, but if it looks like I’ll go over my self-imposed limit I can just leaveoutsomespaces, so it’s not really a problem. [Read more…]

Clean Energy Council Accredited Installers, Approved Retailers, And Members: What’s The Difference?

3 types of CEC affiliate

The CEC has 3 levels of affiliation, members, installers and approved retailer. What is the difference?

The Australian Clean Energy Council, or CEC, is Australia’s peak body for solar and other renewable energy. [Read more…]

Don’t Buy Second Hand Solar For Your Home

second hand solar shop

You’ll Pay A High Price For Second Hand Solar Equipment

“Psssssst!  Wanna buy some slightly used solar panels?  They fell off the back of a truck.  Or possibly off the back of a roof.  Maybe they even fell off the back of a roof of a truck.  We just don’t know.  But what I do know is they are tier one panels in great condition – they didn’t fall far – and they’re cheap, so if you are looking to install rooftop solar you’d be a fool not to buy them, right?”

Wrong. [Read more…]

How GST On Solar Is Calculated

get on solar

How to charge GST on solar is not obvious. Read on to discover why…

Let’s say you have just been quoted a nice round $7,000 for a brand spanking new rooftop solar system with 5 kilowatts of panels.  With Australia’s 10% Goods and Services Tax, you might expect the GST portion of that quote to come to $700.

Or, if you didn’t go to school in Toowoomba like I did, you might actually think GST would be $636.36 because that would be 10% of $6,363.64 which would then add up to a nice round $7,000.  (Remember kids, always pay attention in math class if you don’t want to end up as a lowly solar blogger.) [Read more…]

A Reader’s Frustrations With The Enphase Enlighten Monitoring System

enphase enlighten monitoring

Enphase panel monitoring is a great feature. But some Enphase installers flat out refuse to enable it.

There are many people in this world who enjoy monitoring the output of their rooftop solar systems.

But other people – not so much.  For example, I don’t think my parents have checked the output of their system since they got it.  My father just looks at the electricity bill every three months and grunts, “Power bill low.  Is good.” And then goes back to making stone tools.

But for those who enjoy the heady pleasures of solar system monitoring, modern technology can provide the fix you’re looking for. [Read more…]

Australian Premium Solar Turn A 30 Year Warranty Into A One Year Warranty

ASP Australian Premium Solar

Australian Premium Solar. Not made in Australia and not Premium. (Screenshot from now-deleted APS Youtube video: Caution-tape is mine)

Australian Premium Solar is a company that sells solar panels with a warranty that is truly exceptional and sets them apart from all other panels on the market. [Read more…]

How many solar panels should you install with a Powerwall 2?

powerwall and solar mix up

Installing more rooftop solar is a better investment than a Powerwall 2, so always rack up as much solar on your roof as you reasonably can first. Unlike this guy.

The Tesla Powerwall 2 is going to be big.  Really big.  I mean that literally and not figuratively.  It’s going to be big as in 13.5 kilowatt-hours of storage big.  From the point of view of most Australian households that is huge.

This large capacity presents households with two main problems:

  1.  It is more than the average Australian household uses at night.
  2. Those that do use that much electricity overnight may not have a rooftop solar system large enough to fully charge it.

So if the average Australian home buys a Powerwall 2 they will use it at less than its full capacity. As Tesla’s warranty is fixed at a maximum of 10 years, this increases the cost of each warranted kilowatt-hour substantially.

The obvious solutions are:

  1. Don’t install a Powerwall 2 unless your household regularly uses 12+ kilowatt-hours of electricity overnight.
  2. Don’t install a Powerwall 2 unless your solar system normally produces enough surplus electricity to fully charge it on a mostly clear day.  Normally this will require at least 5 kilowatts of solar panels.

[Read more…]

Solar Panels By The Sea And Corrosion Resistance

beach house with solar

If you are putting solar on a house by the sea then I’m jealous! And I also need to tell you about the IEC-61701 standard.

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside,
I do like to be beside the sea…

Ever wonder why you never hear a robot singing that song? I’ll tell you why.

Two words: corrosion!

Sorry, that was one word. Two words – bad corrosion! [Read more…]

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