SolarQuotes Vodcast Episode 15 – Stamping Out Crap Solar

In episode 15, Ronald and Finn discuss recent posts on the SolarQuotes blog and other solar news, plus we learn way more than we ever wanted about Ronald’s digestive tract.

0:54 – The pair discuss a guest article published last week by John Inglis, who is calling for 100% inspections of  new solar power and battery systems in an effort to stamp out dodgy solar in Australia. An example of this working (pretty well) is in Tasmania, where all systems are inspected under a tightly controlled program.

“I think dodgy solar systems are a root cause problem. They are kind of the lowest level problem and if we solve that, so many other problems go away” says Finn.

Finn also encourages readers sign a related petition (linked to in the article).

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4:06 – Following up on the above, Ronald has since published his own views, stating that 100% inspections of new solar and battery systems aren’t necessary – instead a solid random inspection regime using independent, corruption-resistant, properly trained inspectors would be effective – and much cheaper to boot.

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7:38 – Ronald has to pay up on a bet. A few weeks back Finn and Ronald wagered on how many people would answer “yes” to a question on the SolarQuotes quote form asking “Would you like consumption monitoring?”.

Finn emerged the winner after it was revealed in our most recent Australian Solar System Interest Index (auSSII) report that 65% said yes.

Also discussed was a question that came in regarding a solar power system that had tripped, with the system owners none the wiser for 3 months – and resulting in a big electricity bill. A good monitoring system would have avoided this. You can learn more about the importance of (good) solar monitoring here.

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12:44 – Best and worst reviews of the week. A once-large Adelaide company selling solar power (no longer doing so) is panned for a system the owner is still paying for – and the system doesn’t work. As for the best review of the week (also chosen by SQ team member Ned), Banana Solar gets great kudos from a customer for their good communications, system design, installation, post-installation service and reasonable price.

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17:14 – Finn and Ronald discuss Britain’s first 100+ hours of coal-free electricity use, which wound up extending to over a week. The issue of nuclear power in the UK was also raised (Ronald will have an article on this shortly).

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20:46 – While the press release was scant on details, a Longi bifacial solar panel boasts “over” 450 watts capacity – a new record says the company. It’s big on power, but probably also big on size. Finn urges solar companies to include more specs when announcing products.

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22:17 – Finn and Ronald question the wisdom of a Holden marketing campaign – “future proof the future” (by buying a fossil-fueled ute). Holden are guaranteeing the resale value of their diesel-powered vehicles.

“I think it’s very brave if they are going forward more than 3 years to guarantee the future value of a petrol or diesel powered vehicle,” states Finn.

This is because of the expected rapid uptake of electric vehicles in Australia in the not-too-distant future, which is likely to push down the value of second-hand pure-play internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. But what about those who are prejudiced against EV’s?

“Sure, you’ll have lots of petrol heads will be resistant at first, but after they keep getting left for dead at the lights, they’ll change their minds,” says Ronald.

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About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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