Solar Panel Clamping Zones: Are Your Panels Mounted Correctly?

panels clamped on roofs

Can you spot which of these panel arrays don’t appear to be clamped properly? After reading this post you will.

There is one main way solar panels are attached to roofs in Australia and I’m hoping you won’t be surprised to learn it’s not glue.  If you’ve got panels, they are almost certainly fastened to your roof with clamps and held tight in the loving embrace of metal brackets. [Read more…]

Solar Rebate Ending?

dont-panic

Have you heard the news?  The solar rebate is ending!  It’s all over the internet.  Or at least all over the parts of the internet that run ads from shonky solar companies.  According to them, if you don’t rush out right now to get rooftop solar installed before the first of January you’ll end up paying a fortune for it!  If you don’t buy now, the price of a typical 5 kilowatt rooftop solar system will rise by…

…just a second… let me work it out…

Around $263 which is about a 4% increase. [Read more…]

Solar energy in Texas rides into town

soalr cowboy

Yee-haw – the solar cowboys are comin’ to Texas!

Texas. Land of wide open spaces, cowboys, the Bush family, Tex-Mex food and barrels and barrels of oil. At least that’s the mental image I conjure up when I think of the state, mostly through memories of Dynasty ( the T.V show and the Republican presidents). Like all generalisations though, this is wildly inaccurate. Particularly the image of Texan energy. For there is a new power boom on the horizon as solar energy in Texas rides into town.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, companies such as First Solar, SunEdison and Recurrent Energy (a division of Canadian Solar) have staked their claims with a number of solar farms in the planning stage in and around famous oil fields in Texas. These will total around $US1 billion, according to State records. [Read more…]

Fossil fuel city flips to renewables

Texas has said “Hold ‘Em!” to the fossil fuel generators.

It’s not a surprise that the U.S. city of Georgetown has decided to go 100 percent renewable, after all solar has become an unstoppable force. What does raise eyebrows though is that Georgetown is in Texas, the state synonymous with gushing fossil fuel, the Bush family and well, more gushing fossil fuel.

Even more surprising perhaps is that the city has flipped the switch to renewables after admitting that solar and wind energy are a better financial option. [Read more…]

Fairfax Article Beating Up The Solar Industry is Scaremongering (but Greg Hunt still fell for it)

article screenshot

The Fairfax article published on 22 Feb 2015

The Fairfax papers’ coverage of the solar industry is usually spot on. But I think the latest article by Political Reporter Heath Aston is way off mark.

Greg Hunt must have salivated all over his iPad as he read the article yesterday morning. I can see him dribbling with delight at the rampant tales of rorted rebates and shonky solar systems.  And surprise, surprise: within a few hours of the article going live, Hunt announced:

“The poor installation of solar PV or installation of substandard solar PV has the potential to lead to fires with risks to property and human life. I’m sure you would agree that it is absolutely imperative that all panels installed must be of high quality and pose absolutely no threat to safety.”

I would like to ask Hunt how he thinks that it is possible to mandate that a piece of electrical equipment must “pose absolutely no threat to safety”. [Read more…]

Are They Really Tier 1 Solar Panels? Six Questions You Must Ask.

tier 1 solar panel

Some solar companies are claiming that their Tier 3 panels are really Tier 1. How can you identify real Tier 1 Solar panels?

For many years now I’ve been banging on about “Tier 1 Solar Panels”. My recommendation has always been that you should spend a few hundred dollars more for Tier 1 panels, so that you can massively reduce the risk of having crappy solar panels on your roof. [Read more…]

Are those cheap solar panels grey imports?

solar panels in a box

If you’ve been offered really cheap solar panels, please check that they are not grey imports.

Recently, a number of people have asked me about parallel or ‘grey’ imports of solar panels.

Parallel imports are defined as products (in our case, solar panels) that are imported unofficially by someone other than the manufacturer or their official Australian distributors.

Interestingly, in this day and age with so much online and internet based trade, the lines on this issue have become a little blurred. Some manufacturers will supply you directly with their product, but the majority do not. Most panel manufacturers have carefully developed formal partnerships in place with Australian companies who distribute their panels and provide technical and warranty support for those panels.

Why is parallel importing a problem? [Read more…]

How to install solar panels on a metal roof – without leaks.

This post comes courtesy of Trevor Berrill. Trevor is Principal of  Solaris Sustainable Homes and is a 30 year veteran of  both renewable energy  and energy efficiency. It is a honour to have him contribute to this humble blog. Here Trevor describes how a good solar installer should install solar panels to a metal roof and how bad installers, in a hurry can do the wrong thing and leave you with a leaky roof!

Over to you Trevor:

Holier than thou? How to avoid leaks in the roof! [Read more…]

8 things to look out for when buying cheap solar panels

There are a hell of a lot of companies offering cheap solar panels right now, and as with all free markets, that is driving down the prices and the margins of solar power installers and suppliers.

The question I get asked the most is this:

“How do I tell if this deal from XYZ solar (which is heaps cheaper than anyone who quoted through your site) is too good to be true?”

So here’s your answer: [Read more…]

The 5 Golden Rules For Choosing A Solar Installer

Over the last four years, I’ve written thousands of words and made hours of videos answering the question:

“Finn – there are hundreds of solar companies out there – they all claim that “they are the best and everyone else is second rate or worse”!

How do I choose a good, honest, solar installer that will charge a fair price and look after me and my panels if anything goes wrong down the track?”

At the end of the day – if you follow these 5 golden rules you can’t really go wrong:

(Or if that seems a bit stressful: consider using our “Get 3 quotes service” and you’ll get a choice of 3 local installers from the SQ network. I’m fairly confident that we’ve weeded out any shonks since we started over 4 years ago!) [Read more…]