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Review #109 of

Most recent update (having lived with the system for 16 months):
Value for Money: 4*
Quality of System: 4*
Installation: 4*
Customer Service: 4*
Has the system performed to your expectations? Yes, I have not had to pay a power bill since the system was commissioned inJuly 2011.
In the 12 months since, the system produced 3 MWHour, exported 2 MWHour@$0.68/kWHour and imported 2 MWHour
Inverter Brand: Growatt
Inverter Rating: 4*
Inverter Comments:
Solar Panel Brand: Lightway
Solar Panel Rating: 4*
Solar Panel Comments:

Mike's Original Review (4 May 2011):

Have you bought a solar system since you got your quote? Yes
If yes, which supplier did you go with? Enviromate
What made you choose that supplier over the others who supplied quotes? Best Price
What size system did you go for? 2kW
How much did you spend? $3000 to $6000
Value for Money: 4*
Quality of System: 4*
Installation: N/A
Customer Service: N/A
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your experience?
This field seems to be populated by ex-roof insulation companies.
Nearly all are retail outlets, not the actual installers.
All offered the best panels and inverters that China makes.

Real information upon which to make an informed choice is hard to come by - Goverment Consumer Affairs would not provide list of dogdy dealers, the whirlpool internet site provided some good news stories but is short on facts, independant test results on panels and inverters are non-existent, CEC accreditation of panels and inverter are un-verifiable and rumor has it that installers can buy their way onto the CEC list. I even knocked on doors of some solar power installations around the area to get some idea of wether they were getting what was advertised (sold to them)

I tried to contact 3 installers directly not they don't have time to give quotes or don't awswer their phones or return calls!

I contacted 6 retailers; ranked here from bad to OK.

1. Exel Power wanted to deal only with husband and wife. Advertising deal only
2. AGL 11 x 185w panels $6374
3. Environment Shop 12 X 185W panels, $6095
4. Eko wanted $900 upfront to give a 'free' quote, 11 x 185W panels, $5099
5. Energyaware 11x190W panels, $4500 ($4300 for payment in full before installation)
6. Environmate 9 x 230W panels $4170 ($3961 ditto)

Installation dates were quoted by 5 and 6 were both 6-8 weeks after ordering ie mid June

I selected Environmate based on price, a 10 year warranty and a local installation recommendation.

Fewer larger panels suit my limited north facing roof space.
Energyaware were ranked a very credible second.

Note: 185W panels offered all appear to be copies of the Trina panel, (72 125 x 125mm cells) which is the only one with independant data available at the Desert Knowledge website.

A sting in the tail is that my electricity retailer changes the smart meter tariff when I connect my grid connected solar power from a 24 hour peak rate (19 c/KwHr) to time of use one at 26 c/kWHr peak rate. But then they are paying me 68 c/kWHr net feed in tariff for my excess generation.

It is a bit of worry that I was not able to get a clear answer from anyone on for how long the 68 cents will be paid for !!!

I can not comment on 'Installation' and 'customer Service" are they havn't happened yet!

I am not holding my breath for a good outcome for this project!