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…]

Breaking News! Vic Slashes Solar Feed In Tariff

The Victorian government has just announced that their FIT has immediately been slashed from 25c per kWh to 8c per kWh.

Basically if you haven’t already paid a deposit on your solar system, you can’t claim the 25c FiT any more.

The details are a bit hard to get out of the Vic pollies at the moment. For example the 8c scheme starts on Jan 1 2013. So what happens to all the electricity a new solar system exports until then?

Also they say:

“The tariff will then be adjusted by the government each year in 2014, 2015 and 2016 based on the wholesale electricity price, before moving to a fully floating market price in 2017.”

Anyone care to hazard a guess as to what that actually means?

Read more from the Age here and from the horse’s mouth here.


Queensland’s feed-in tariff: playing politics with solar?

Solar Cuts

Solar Feed In Tariffs axed in Queensland

Unsurprising news this week that solar feed-in tariffs in Queensland will be cut from one of the country’s most generous (0.44c per kilowatt hour) to 0.8 cents per kilowatt hour has led the solar news this week in Australia.

Regular readers of this column may be expecting your correspondent to fly off into an anti-state government tirade about favouring earth-destroying fossil fuels over the renewable energy industry. [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).


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.

[Read more…]

3 Phase Solar : What you need to know about connecting solar to your 3 phase supply

A solar panel and a 3 phase breaker

Solar is compatible with 3 phase

There is an awful lot of confusion (and misinformation) out there about the practicalities of installing solar on a house that has a 3 phase supply. So I’ve written this post to clear up the confusion. [Read more…]

Hybrid Solar Part 2: How To Future Proof Your Solar System

Hybrid badge

Hybrid Solar Too?

Please note: this post was written in 2012 and is way out of date.

>>> Please visit this page on solar batteries, which is constantly updated. <<<

In my previous blog post on hybrid solar systems (aka grid connect with battery backup) I promised to follow up with a post that went into more detail on the costs and give examples of inverter hardware that can be used to make such a beast.

I’ve realised that if I go into the costs and paybacks then this blog post may be longer than War and Peace. So in this post I’ll cover the hardware and I’ll save the financials for next time.

As I said in the previous post, your motivation for spending more on a hybrid solar system will likely be either: [Read more…]

Interview with Paul O’Reilly of the Rainbow Power Company

Rainbow Power Company Logo

Rainbow Power Company – one of Australia’s oldest solar companies

In this, the first in what we hope will be a number of interviews with solar opinion leaders, business people and experts in the solar industry we chat with Paul O’Reilly, director of the Nimbin-based Rainbow Power Company. Sit back and enjoy as Paul talks feed-in tariffs, the almost constant boom and bust cycles in the Australian solar industry and his optimism for the future.

The solar industry must have changed a lot since Rainbow Power Company first set up? Do you think this has been for better or worse?

[Read more…]

Germany takes knife to solar subsidies

Solar Power in Germany

A German Solar Installation – Are the Solar Glory Days over in Deutschland?

From manufacturing quality cars to leading the continent in economic policy, Germany is often considered Europe’s “go to” country. The “engine room” of European manufacturing also is well out in front of its neighbours in renewable energy policy, with its clear and consistent support for solar installation legendary. [Read more…]

The way forward for feed-in tariffs?

A Rural German Solar Installation

Not sure how many SolarQuotes readers caught this fascinating Radio National discussion during the week. Amongst a number of issues raised, it gave a number of insights into the problems facing how Australian governments deal with solar power incentives.

Hosted by Waleed Aly with guests Matthew Wright, executive director of the renewable energy action group Beyond Zero Emissions, and Tony Wood, energy program director at the Grattan Institute, the discussion also included a brief cameo appearance by phone from the ACT’s minister for sustainable development, Simon Corbell.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

Get The SolarQuotes Weekly Newsletter