SolarQuotes Vodcast Episode 17 – Bureaucracy, Batteries And Beans

Finn and Ronald cover the outcome of the recent election, solar rebates in Victoria, REC’s new solar panels, Ronald’s New Energy Tech Consumer Code submission, beans and more.

00:10 – Ronald says he voted for the planet in the recent federal election – but it didn’t work.

Regardless of the outcome, he doesn’t think the Coalition will attempt to axe Australia’s solar subsidy prematurely as it would be a very unpopular move and the rebate is being phased out anyway.

“I don’t think the Coalition now is the same as the Coalition we had three years ago,” he says. “They’re not good, but they are not quite as frothing at the mouth as they were.”

Finn hopes one of the benefits of the Coalition winning is some stability for Australia’s solar sector.

The pair also discuss a worst-case scenario under the Coalition in terms of coal.

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6:00 – Finn talks about Sanjeev Gupta’s Simec Zen Energy choosing Suntech solar panels for the Cultana solar farm. Finn said it was a mid-range brand and uses the SolarQuotes solar panel comparison table to explain why.

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9:01 – Worst and best review of the week as chosen by SQ team member Ned. The worst review was for an installation that resulted in a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) order against the installer.

The best review was from a SolarPro customer who is very pleased with his solar and battery installation a year after it was installed.

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14:20 – The Victorian Government has had a change of heart with regard to households claiming a Solar Homes Package rebate, but who didn’t follow the process correctly before the program was recently paused. Many who installed solar power systems prior to receiving an eligibility number will now receive their rebate.

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17:00 – Ronald and Finn discuss REC’s new Alpha Series solar panels, offering up to 380 watts power in a 60-cell panel, the type commonly used on residential rooftops. The REC promotional video cops some ribbing from the pair, but Finn thinks the Alpha Series looks like a good panel.

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19:52 – Ronald chats about his submission concerning the draft New Energy Tech Consumer Code. The submission was swear-word free, unlike his original post on the topic. Aside from the lack of consumer protection and issues concerning batteries, Ronald found some of the draft Code’s wording unethical.

“Because they were implying that people who didn’t sign up to the code weren’t interested in providing quality installations or consumer protection”, he says. “Just because people don’t want to join your club, it doesn’t mean they aren’t good people.”

Finn thinks while the motivation of the people writing the Code may have been well-meaning,  they may not have gotten their head around why some may not want to sign on.

“Assuming that someone else shares exactly your values, down to the detail of a 20-page code of conduct or whatever it is, is incredibly arrogant I think”.

Ronald covers the 3 main points in his submission – including the thorny issue of blended payback commonly used in selling solar power + battery systems.

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28:56 – Ronald gets excited about cheap beans that can be stored in a shelter in case climate feedback loops kick in and we experience an environmental catastrophe.

It’s hard to explain this segment, you’ll need to watch it.

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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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