SolarQuotes Vodcast Episode 18 –  Shonky Solar And Tortured Inverters

Episode 18 sees Finn and Ronald discussing the ABC’s recent 7.30 report on solar in Australia, new features on SolarQuotes’ installer reviews pages, inverter torture testing results and more.

0:36 – Finn congratulates his nephew on his performance in the Scripps National Spelling Bee (USA), who achieved 35th out of 11,000,000 schoolkids – well done Cameron!

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1:53 – The ABC’s 7.30 report on shonky solar is discussed along with Finn’s follow-up article on the segment. Was the ABC’s coverage fair comment or just a beat-up of Australia’s solar industry? It was somewhere in between with some very valid concerns raised, but also some important information perhaps left on the cutting-room floor (or whatever the equivalent is these days).

Ronald’s solution to Australia’s solar quality challenges:  proper random inspections by independent inspectors, overseen by state electrical regulatory bodies.

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5:56 – Speaking of how to choose a solar installer, Finn explains some of the awesome new features on SolarQuotes’s solar installer reviews pages. Among these, a “verified” flag on some reviews indicating proof of purchase, or that the person has been referred to the installer in question by SolarQuotes.

“You can have a lot of faith in all our reviews,” says Finn. “But the ones with the green badge you have extra super-faith in”.

Finn goes over SQ’s process in investigating reviews flagged as questionable by installers – which often prove to be valid reviews – and sounds a warning to installation companies that put pressure on SolarQuotes, or reviewers, to remove valid reviews.

Finn also demonstrates the reviews new “AusRanking” system in a both positive and not-so-positive scenarios, using a couple of solar installer profiles as examples.

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13:49 – Finn and Ronald discuss recent cell efficiency world record claims from Canadian and Trina Solar. Ronald also explains what a bifacial solar panel is.

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16:13 – Ronald chats about his article on Delta and Huawei inverters beating Australian favourites Fronius and SMA in PVEL torture testing. Unfortunately, none of the inverters reported on are available in Australia.

“But if Delta can make an inverter that works well in America, then they can make one that works well here,” says Ronald.

Finn’s a big fan of Delta, mainly due to his time working as a control systems engineer in a nuclear power plant in the UK.

“We used Delta power supplies from Delta Electronics,” said Finn. “I’ve always been very confident Delta as a company can make reliable electronics. What they’re not very good at is consumer-level marketing.”

Finn suggests their marketing department is run by engineers.

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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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