Why over hyping batteries hurts the solar industry.

I feel so strongly about this that I though I’d shout at a video camera about it for 7 minutes. Hit me up in the comments if you think I’m being too harsh.

Will this incredible solar innovation by Ford make Holden irrelevant?

solar panels on car

Those 3 x 100W Sunpower panels could power 75% of your trips.

Last week we discussed how remarkable innovation in the renewable energy sector will change the way  energy is sourced in buildings such as office blocks and factories. We looked at how recent developments in photovoltaics allow office windows to be both transparent enough to let in sufficient light, as well as sensitive enough to act as efficient mini solar panels.

This week sees us delve into the traditional Holden vs Ford wars, though with a renewable energy twist. [Read more…]

Solar Cars Roll Through Adelaide

The World Solar Challenge ended in my hometown of  Adelaide on Sunday. So I took the kids into town for a close up look at the weird and wonderful solar cars:

Unfortunately the team I had gone to barrack for (from my old stomping ground, Cambridge University Engineering Dept), managed to roll the car on the first day so they had to withdraw. Bummer!

cuer solar car

Cambridge University’s entry was a little unstable.

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…]

How To Choose A Good Solar Inverter

How do you choose a good solar inverter? It’s a really important question. If you choose a bad inverter, it may turn out to be noisy, inefficient and unreliable. If you have a look at the inverter reviews that are coming in to SQ, some inverters appear to have an awful failure rate. For example at the time of writing the Beijing Kinglong New Energy (KLNE) inverter reviews report 7 failures from 13 reviews! Ouch!

Here is my attempt to answer this important question. And I’ve provided a transcript of my rantings below the video.


[Read more…]

Solar Panel Direction: Which Way Should Your Solar Panels Face?

Should you point your solar panels North so that you get the maximum power from them?

Not necessarily…let me explain:

And here’s the transcript if you prefer reading: [Read more…]

How Do You Know If Your Roof Is Good For Solar Power?

Back to the absolute solar basics today on the SQ blog!

In this video I describe the 3 things you need to understand about your roof before buying a solar power system.

And here’s the transcript if my pink shirt gets too much for you: [Read more…]

Poly vs. Monocrystalline Solar Panels – Let’s put this argument to bed!

One steaming pile of Solar BS that you hear all the time from worst sales people in this industry – who will feed you any line to get a sale – is that polycrystalline panels are better than monocrystalline solar panels, or vice versa.

In this video I finally get off my chest why you should avoid anyone spouting such drivel:

Transcript follows if you don’t like listening to angry, sweary solar geeks, and I go into great detail about the two technologies over on the main site:

[Read more…]

How Much Will You Get Paid For Your Solar Electricity?

Hint: It’s a bit more complicated than you might think!

By my reckoning 25% of people buying solar power systems want to save the planet as a priority. The other 75% want to save their bottom line and saving the planet is a nice side-effect.

I get a lot of emails saying: “Help! My bills are [insert large number here] dolars a quarter – what size solar system do I need?”

The answer to this question is quite longwinded Рbut if you want to understand whether a solar system is worthwhile for you financially Рyou need to understand this stuff! So I made a video to help explain. If you are considering buying a solar system I strongly recommend watching this:

[Note: Since I made this video the Victorian and QLD Feed In tariffs are no longer more generous than the rest of the country – they are both 8c per kWh at time of writing!]

[Read more…]

Do you really want to go off the grid with your solar power system?

Did you hear about the Queensland proposal a couple of weeks ago that proposed an 8c per kWh GROSS Feed In Tariff? That would mean Queenslanders would have to sell ALL their solar power to the retailers for 8c (yes – ALL of it – even the stuff that they used in their home). And then buy it back for about 30c.

Yup – that would be called institutionalised theft.

Stories like that make most people want to get off the grid altogether.

So I get quite a few quote requests these days for “Off Grid” solar power systems. However most people don’t fully realise what a big and expensive step it is to cut the wires to the grid.

So I made this video to explain what it really means to go off grid in 2012. I hope you enjoy it:

[Read more…]

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