Why Oversizing Solar Panel Arrays Is A Smart Move

house with lots of solar panels

Did you know you can add panels up to 133% of your inverter capacity? Read on to discover why oversizing solar is a smart move (as long as your roof is big enough – unlike this guy’s).

Installing rooftop solar systems with a total panel capacity greater than the inverter capacity is usually a very good idea.  It will certainly save you money, but it can also help get around the restrictions many Australians face on the size of inverter they can connect to the grid. [Read more…]

Seraphim Solar Panel Review: Heaven or Hell?

seraphim solar panels being reviewed by Ronald

Ronald looks into Seraphim Solar Panels. Yes, Ronald really looks like that.

One solar panel manufacturer who seems to be popping up a lot recently is Seraphim Solar. On the plus side they appear to make top quality panels which have done a good job of impressing people, receiving an average rating of almost 4.9 out of 5 from our customer reviews.

But they get a black mark, for not having an Australian office despite having been sold here for some time. That fact could be a showstopper for some solar buyers as there are plenty of good solar panels for sale in Australia with fully supported Australian offices

Update 10 July May 2019: SAE group is an importer of Seraphim panels and responsible for manufacturer warranties for panels they imported, but are not the only importer of panels and not responsible for the manufacturer warranties of panels brought into the country by other companies.

[Read more…]

Standard Tariffs Vs Time Of Use Pricing. Which Goes Best With Solar?

time of use meter

What will give you the lowest bill, a standard or time of use tariff? What if you add solar? What about batteries?

Australians pay for grid electricity in two ways.  The most common way is a standard tariff. But you can also choose a time-of-use tariff.

What is a standard tariff?

This is where you pay a fixed rate for each kilowatt-hour used, plus a hefty supply charge.  Australians have been paying for electricity this way since the the electricity meter, invented in 1888, was developed into the ‘spinning dial’ type in 1914. So Australians have been using standard tariffs for over  a century. [Read more…]

SunPower Solar Panels: One of the best panels lots of money can buy

sunpower solar panels

SunPower make very good, very expensive panels.

SunPower make some of the best solar panels in existence. Or at least some of the best on this planet. Perhaps Spectrolab regularly shoots better ones into space to mars or somewhere, I don’t know. But if you want to buy something that is meant to go on a roof and not a space probe, then SunPower solar panels are hard to beat.

Now note that I did say some of the best and not some of the cheapest. If you haven’t worked out that the words cheap and best don’t normally go together, then I have a really low quality laptop held together with superglue and wooden rulers that I’d like to sell to you at a really high price. [Read more…]

Phono Solar Panels Review: Reliability Scores Highly

phono solar panel review

Phono Solar Gets A Rave Review From Respected testing House DNV-GL

Getting the most out of solar panels depends upon them working as promised when they are installed, and then continuing to work in a similar way for decades to come. To assist people in selecting solar panels that are likely to do this, DNV GL, an international certification organization, performed tests upon a wide range of mostly Tier 1 solar panels including Phono Solar, Kyocera and numerous other manufacturers.  They published the results in their PV Module Reliability Scorecard Report 2016. Or at least they published a very useful review of the results, as they didn’t include everything they found. [Read more…]

The Truth About Battery Ready Solar Systems

Do you want your new solar system to be battery ready? First you have to know what that means...

Do you want your new solar system to be ‘battery ready’? First you have to know what that actually means…

Most homeowners I speak to are really keen to get batteries.

Just not right now.

They want to wait a few years until the price has come down substantially. And who can blame them when a typical battery system in 2016 has a payback of 20 years but only carries a 10 year warranty.

So clued up homeowners looking to buy solar are really keen to get a system that they can easily add batteries to in the future.

Solar companies have caught on to this and we are starting to see solar systems sold without batteries but advertised as ‘battery ready’.

Here at SolarQuotes we are getting more and more questions about what ‘battery ready’ actually means in these adverts, and the best way to buy a solar system that really is battery ready.

The truth is that ‘battery ready’ can mean lots of things. Many of the ads I have seen are technically correct – in that you can add batteries in the future – but probably not as easily, or with the functionality that many people will be expecting.

In my opinion if you are going to claim a specific solar system as battery ready then you must be more specific and explain the basis on which you are making the claim.

In this post I’ll go through 3 different interpretations of ‘battery ready’  – make sure you understand which one you are being offered. [Read more…]

Tesla Powerwall vs. Enphase AC Battery

powerwall and Enphase AC battery

How the Tesla Powerwall and Enphase AC battery specs compare.

Tesla Powerwall
Approx $10,000 fully installed on compatible solar system
6.4 kWh
3.3 kW
single or 3 phase
no inverter included
no UPS features included
10 year Warranty
350 – 450 volts DC
Enphase AC Battery
About $2,000 fully installed on any existing solar system with any brand inverter
1.2 kWh
260W continuous, 270W peak
single or 3 phase
micro inverter included
no UPS features included
10 year Warranty
240 volts AC

In terms of good marketing in Australia, two batteries stand head and shoulders above the rest in Australia right now: the Tesla Powerwall and Enphase AC battery. Both of which are due for mainstream release in 2016.

(There are lots of alternative batteries around – many of which are worth considering – but this article is about Tesla vs Enphase due to the volume of enquiries we get about them.) [Read more…]

The High Cost Of Very Cheap Solar

warning tape

Caution – extremely cheap solar has a high cost

The best deal is very rarely the cheapest deal. This is something we all understand intuitively.

So why do we get so easily get seduced by unbelievably cheap solar deals that appear so totally believable?

Let me be totally up front with you. I did not set up SolarQuotes as a tool for people to find the absolute cheapest solar systems on the market. [Read more…]

How To Find Solar Friendly Electricity Tariffs By Hacking Government Data

data hack

Learn how to hack the government’s electricity bill data for fun and profit…

If you own a solar system but haven’t shopped around the electricity retailers in a while, your bills are probably higher than they need to be.

The big gentailers, Origin, AGL and Energy Australia have made their disdain for solar very clear. They all lobbied to scrap government support for small scale solar during Tony Abbott’s RET review in 2014. And unsurprisingly their electricity tariff offers for solar owners are pretty ordinary.

Luckily there are lots of smaller retailers around these days that often beat the big names. And a handful of those offer solar Feed In Rates that are higher than the rates mandated by your state government. [Read more…]

Microinverters Vs DC Optimisers – which is best? [infographic]

For those of you that want an easier way to understand the differences between microinverters (such as those manufactured by Enphase or APS) and DC optimisers (such as Solar Edge or Tigo), and don’t want to read this long post I published a couple of weeks ago then this 2 part infographic is for you!

The first part explains the difference between conventional, string inverter systems, DC optimised systems and microinverter systems (seasoned solar nerds may want to skip this and scroll straight down to part 2)

Microinverters vs DC Optimisers. Part 1

Microinverters vs DC Optimisers. Part 1

Part 2 goes into the pros and cons (and even picks a winner based on my humble opinion).

MIcroinverters vs DC Optimisers. Part 2

MIcroinverters vs DC Optimisers. Part 2

 

If you want to republish any of these infographics, no worries. All I ask is that you link back to this original post. I also have higher res versions which I can provide. Just ask!

* Note: the 2nd graphic has been updated to include 2 features of full Solar Edge systems (i.e. systems with Solar Edge optimisers coupled to Solar Edge Inverters) . Specifically Arc protection and individual fault bypass circuitry.

** This is only an opinion! If you vehemently disagree with my analysis, please leave a comment, or even write a well articulated blog post with your differing opinion, and I will happily publish it.

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